Original Research Article| Volume 104, ISSUE 4, P426-431, October 2021

Acceptance of HPV vaccination at the abortion visit at a clinic in New York City in 2017 to 2018



      Human Papillomavirus vaccination remains a public health concern. Our primary objective was to examine whether eligible people, in an underimmunized population, seeking abortion find the abortion visit an acceptable opportunity to receive the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Our secondary objectives include comparing vaccine acceptors to vaccine decliners on knowledge and attitudinal factors related to the HPV vaccine.

      Study Design

      We conducted a cross sectional study in which we offered free HPV vaccine series initiation and completion to eligible patients presenting for abortion services at an outpatient health center. We administered surveys to both vaccine acceptors and decliners, to assess utilization of health services, knowledge of the HPV vaccine, and reasons for not having initiated or completed the vaccine series previously.


      101 study participants were offered HPV vaccination; 50 participants accepted and 51 participants declined. All participants completed the survey. Seven of fifty vaccine acceptors completed the vaccine series. Vaccine acceptance was associated with new knowledge that HPV causes cervical cancer. (acceptors = 72.0%, decliners = 52.9%, p = 0.05) The most common reason among both groups for not previously initiating the vaccine was “No one offered it to me” (acceptors = 58.0%, decliners = 53.5%, p = 0.46). A considerable number of participants had not previously heard of the HPV vaccine, 44% of those who accepted, and 35.3% of those who declined (p = 0.64) vaccination at the time of their abortion.


      The abortion visit offers an important opportunity to start or to finish the HPV vaccine series. Most patients are receptive to receiving additional services and were never previously offered the HPV vaccine. Practices and policies aimed at utilizing missed opportunities for HPV vaccine catch up can increase HPV vaccine prevalence among young adult women to reduce lifetime risk for cervical cancer.


      The abortion visit may be an opportunity for HPV vaccination catch up in an underimmunized population. Abortion providers may consider offering patients other preventive health care services.


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