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Policy support for expanding the adolescent vaccine school mandate in Pennsylvania to include the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine

Falik, Rachel B. DNP, RN, CPNP-PC; Albrecht, Susan A. PhD, RN, CRNP, FAAN; Cassidy, Brenda L. DNP, RN, MSN, CPNP-PC

Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners: April 2019 - Volume 31 - Issue 4 - p 263–268
doi: 10.1097/JXX.0000000000000142
Health Policy

ABSTRACT Approximately 27,000 men and women are affected by human papillomavirus (HPV)–related cancer every year. The Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) routinely recommend that adolescents receive HPV, tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (tetanus–diphtheria–acellular pertussis [Tdap]) and meningococcal (MCV) vaccines at age 11–12 years. Although the CDC and professional organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics make national vaccine recommendations, according to the National Vaccine Information Center, it is the responsibility of “state health departments to make and enforce vaccine mandates for school entry.” The Pennsylvania Department of Health has only mandated two of the recommended three vaccinations: Tdap and MCV. As of 2016, 92% of adolescents aged 13–17 years in Pennsylvania received the Tdap vaccine and 92.7% received the MCV. However, only 58% of females and 44.4% of males aged 13–17 years received all three doses of the HPV vaccine. A comparison of HPV vaccine rates in states with school mandates was compared with Pennsylvania rates. Human papillomavirus vaccination rates were found to be significantly higher in the District of Columbia and Rhode Island, which have HPV vaccine school-entry requirements, supporting the need for a statewide HPV mandate in Pennsylvania.

University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Correspondence: Rachel B. Falik, DNP, RN, CPNP-PC. 2626 Tunnel Blvd, Apt 239, Pittsburgh, PA 15203. Tel: 908-868-2407; E-mail:

Competing interests: The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Authors' contributions: R. B. Falik: Developed the policy analysis project, wrote initial draft of the manuscript, performed all data analyses, and created two tables included in document. S. A. Albrecht: Revised manuscript and provided final approval of version to be published. B. L. Cassidy: Developed the policy analysis project, assisted in creating the two tables included in the document, revised the manuscript, and approved the final version to be published.

Received April 11, 2018

Accepted August 27, 2018

© 2019 American Association of Nurse Practitioners
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