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Open Access Research article

HPV vaccination in women aged 27 to 45 years: what do general practitioners think?

Danielle Mazza*, Katja Petrovic, Cathy Grech and Naomi Harris

Author Affiliations

Department of General Practice, School of Primary Health Care, Monash University, Building 1, 270 Ferntree Gully Road, Notting Hill, Victoria 3168, Australia

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BMC Women's Health 2014, 14:91  doi:10.1186/1472-6874-14-91

Published: 30 July 2014

Abstract

Background

Although the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is registered in Australia for females aged 9 to 45 years, females aged 27 to 45 years have shown limited vaccine uptake. Our study explored general practitioners’ (GPs) views concerning HPV vaccination of females in this age group, with particular focus on the barriers and the facilitators to the delivery of the HPV vaccine.

Methods

Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with 24 randomly selected general practitioners from metropolitan Melbourne. Questions were based on a theoretical framework that explained the barriers and facilitators to professional behaviour change.

Results

According to the GPs, the major barriers to the uptake of the HPV vaccine included the cost of the vaccine, time constraints, and the three-dose schedule. Other barriers that were identified included GPs’ and patients’ beliefs that females in this age group were at low risk of contracting HPV, lack of awareness about the vaccine, and uncertainty about the benefits of this vaccine for females in this age group. In contrast, the facilitators that were identified included the availability of the vaccine on site, the availability of vaccine clinics or nurses for administering the vaccine, the availability of information related to the vaccine either on site or online, and positive opinions from experts in the field.

Conclusions

Our study has identified some of the barriers and facilitators to the delivery and uptake of the HPV vaccine in females aged 27 to 45 years, as perceived by GPs. Further studies should be conducted to determine which of these should be targeted or prioritised for intervention. The views of women in this age group should also be considered as these would also be influential in designing effective intervention strategies for improving the delivery and uptake of the HPV vaccine.

Keywords:
Human papillomavirus; Vaccination; General practice; Attitudes; Beliefs; Barriers