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Coverage of the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine by US and Canadian Medical Schools

Gee, Rebekah E. MD, MPH1,2; Shacter, Hannah E. BA3; Long, Judith A. MD2,4,5

Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease: October 2009 - Volume 13 - Issue 4 - p 207-209
doi: 10.1097/LGT.0b013e3181942365
Original Articles

Objective. This study evaluates the degree to which medical school health insurance covers the costs of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for medical students in the United States and in Canada.

Methods. A telephone survey was conducted in November 2007 of every accredited medical school in the United States and in Canada.

Results. Thirty-one percent of schools fully covered the vaccine, 18% partially covered it, and the majority, 51%, provided no coverage. In the United States, the Northeast had the highest level of full coverage (61%). In the adjusted model, regional differences were no longer significant. However, private schools (odds ratio [OR] = 4.7; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.5-15.3)] and those that covered the hepatitis B vaccine (OR = 19.4; 95% CI = 5.5-68.6) remained more likely to cover the HPV vaccine. For medical schools that provided no HPV vaccine coverage, the average out-of-pocket cost for students was $434.

Conclusions. This study shows that most medical students are not being offered health insurance coverage for the HPV vaccine, but that the vaccine was adopted relatively quickly into the armamentarium of medical student health centers.

Coverage of the HPV vaccine among US and Canadian medical studentsYa representative 'catch up' populationY is low and should be examined from a policy perspective.

1Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, Philadelphia, PA; 2Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, Philadelphia, PA; 3University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Minneapolis, MN; 4Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Philadelphia, PA; and 5Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA

Reprint requests to: Rebekah E. Gee, MD, MPH, 423 Guardian Drive, 13th Floor Blockley Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104. E-mail:

©2009The American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology