The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will partner with the University of California on a study funded by $544,188 from the National Institutes of Health to determine how to increase the county’s human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates. The study is called “Increasing HPV Vaccine Uptake in a Low Income Ethnic Minority Population.” Project Leader Dr. Roshan Bastani described it as a study to see if a simple intervention by an existing county service can increase HPV vaccination rates substantially for low-income girls in Los Angeles County.
The program plans to speak directly to mothers of their target population—girls ages 11–18. When the mothers call the health department for information or services, the intervention will educate them about the vaccine and refer them to a conveniently located clinic offering free or low-cost vaccines. The department is randomizing intervention so that callers only receive it every other week. Since the vaccine is administered in three separate doses, the department will follow up with patients to ensure they received their first dose and that they completed the full round of doses. The program will perform interventions in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, and Armenian.
Although there have been serious adverse reactions, including deaths attributed to the vaccine, both CDC and the Food and Drug Administration recommend the HPV vaccination to prevent the virus that can cause cervical, anal, penile, and throat cancers. CDC maintains that the benefits outweigh the risks, but the agency continues to monitor the vaccine’s safety and will act if necessary to protect the public.