Human papillomaviruses (HPV) can lead to cervical cancer and other anogenital, head, and neck cancers in both women and men. A safe and effective vaccine against the most common types of HPV associated with cancer was introduced in 2008 into BC’s exemplary school immunization program. However, rates of HPV vaccine uptake have remained low, with less than 70% of eligible students receiving the vaccine each year.
Evidence suggests parents are more likely to consent to an HPV vaccine for their child if they engage in a conversation with a trusted health care provider. Suggesting that simply leveraging existing public health infrastructure could improve HPV vaccine uptake to reduce the future burden of HPV related diseases.
Dr. Racey’s research will evaluate the implementation and impact of a tailored messaging intervention, delivered by public health nurses , to improve HPV vaccine uptake for grade 6 girls and boys in a rural community in BC. BC’s robust immunization registry and monitoring will allow the measurement of HPV vaccine uptake across comparable communities to assess the impact of the intervention.
The results of this research will be directly relevant to school-based immunization programs across BC and Canada, and could lead to or help inform future expansion of the intervention.