Abstract | April 5, 2022

Increasing Mississippi’s HPV Vaccination Rate: A Proposal Based on Providers’ Insights

Presenting Author: Madison Noelle Thornton, Bachelor of Arts, Medical Student, 1st Year, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe factors contributing to Mississippi's low HPV vaccination rate;
  2. Examine potential policy solutions to address Mississippi's low HPV vaccination rate.

Despite high childhood vaccination rates for required vaccinations for kindergarten, including the MMR vaccine, Mississippi has the lowest HPV vaccination rate in the nation (Campbell, 2019). This is so even though the HPV vaccine can prevent multiple cancers, including cervical cancer, of which Mississippi has the nation’s highest mortality rate (Mississippi State Department of Health, 2015). This study seeks to understand the factors surrounding Mississippi’s low HPV vaccination rate as well as potential policy solutions to increase this rate. To accomplish this, the author conducted interviews with 13 Mississippi physicians in various specialties to gather qualitative data. As a result of these interviews, the author found that the anti-vaccination movement, the association of HPV with sexual activity, education of providers and parents, the lack of an HPV vaccination requirement, and patients forgetting to schedule second dose appointments are key factors contributing to Mississippi’s low HPV vaccination rate. Potential policy solutions to increase the HPV vaccination rate in Mississippi include educating providers to make more effective recommendations, mandating the HPV vaccine for school attendance, requiring providers to recommend the HPV vaccine to their patients, and automatically scheduling second dose appointments. Increasing the HPV vaccination rate in Mississippi by implementing some or all of these strategies is critical to improving the health and wellness of all Mississippians.

References and Resources:

  1. Campbell, L. (2019). Mississippi, first in school-age vaccines, lags in immunization rates for teens, adults. Retrieved February 2, 2020, from https://mississippitoday.org/2019/10/08/mississippi-first-in-schoolage-vaccines-lags-in-immunization-rates-for-teens-adults/
  2. Mississippi State Department of Health (2015). Immunization for human papillomavirus in Mississippi – Room for improvement. Mississippi morbidity report. Volume 31, Number 6. Retrieved February 2, 2020, from https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/resources/6433.pdf.