Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group: Promote and Support HPV Vaccination

Article

Now, the Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group (PPAG) has joined ACIP in issuing recommendations for HPV vaccination.

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has issued strong recommendations for America's youth to be vaccinated with the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

Now, the Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group (PPAG) has joined ACIP in issuing recommendations for HPV vaccination. PPAG has also called for all pharmacists to become advocates for this vaccine. Their position paper appears in the March 2017 issue of the Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

By now, pharmacists are well aware of HPV's utility and new dosing schedule. Although the recommendation is to initiate vaccination between ages 11 and 12, patients can be vaccinated as early as age 9.

The low rate of immunization with HPV (38% in females and 14% in males in 2013) is a concern. Public uncertainty has contributed to the vaccine debate. The authors cite several barriers to uptake that have fueled public controversy, including the way in which the vaccine was initially introduced (for females only) and the young age at which clinicians were advised to start the series. In addition, many Americans had and continue to have moral objections. Cost and supply problems were also an issue.

Statistics show that some of these concerns are uninformed. Vaccination against HPV has not been linked to early sexual activity.

Although HPV vaccines cost is higher than most other vaccines, it's cost-effectiveness is proven. Pharmacists should know that children younger than 18 who are uninsured via their parents employment are eligible for Medicaid and state Children's Health Insurance Programs. Both of these programs cover HPV vaccine.

The article provides 6 steps that pharmacists can take to increase vaccine uptake:

  • Become immunizers eligible to administer HPV vaccines to adolescents.
  • Treat HPV vaccines like any other vaccine; don't emphasize its differences.
  • Implement adolescent vaccine screening programs.
  • Use manufacturer-sponsored outreach programs to remind patients about 2nd or 3rd doses as they become due.
  • Refer patients to patient assistance programs for affordable vaccination.
  • Be aware of and support HPVANDME.org, a nonprofit organization that focuses on heightening awareness of HPV related throat cancer.

The researchers noted that vaccination with HPV vaccine can avoid years of costly procedures and life-threatening cancer.

Reference

Nichols K, Girotto J, Steele AM, Stoffella S; Advocacy Committee for the Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group.. Duty to Advocate: Human Papillomavirus Vaccination. J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2017;22(1):74-76.

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