Why Teens Still Are Behind On Recommended Vaccines
Added: June 20, 2013
Paul Darden, MD
Despite the fact that vaccines have been found to be a safe and effective protection against a
number of vaccine-preventable adolescent diseases, many teens are still not receiving
recommended vaccinations. In the study “Reasons for Not Vaccinating Adolescents: National
Survey of Teens, 2008-2010,” in the April 2013 issue of Pediatrics (published online March
18), study authors analyzed the 2008-2010 National Immunization Survey of Teens to
determine why parents did not have their teens up-to-date on recommended adolescent
vaccines, and how these reasons have changed over the years. Parents of teens who were not
vaccinated for tetanus toxoid, diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis/tetanus toxoid and
reduced diphtheria toxoid and quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine all gave similar
reasons, including “not recommended,” and “not necessary.” These reasons remained
consistent over the years for Tdap/Td and MCV4. The main reasons parents did not get the
human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine for their daughters included the same as those for the
other vaccines, and also included “not sexually active,” “not appropriate age” and “safety
concerns/side effects.” Concerns about safety grew each year, from 4.5 percent in 2008 to
16.4 percent in 2010. Parents’ intent not to vaccinate for HPV also increased from 39.8
percent in 2008 to 43.9 percent in 2010. Study authors conclude that despite physician
recommendations, parents refusing to immunize their teens against vaccine-preventable
diseases like HPV is concerning, and may require more detailed discussion about vaccine
safety and effectiveness in order to improve future immunization rates.
Darden PM, Thompson DM, Roberts JR, Hale JJ, Pope C, Naifeh M, Jacobson RM.
Reasons for not vaccinating adolescents: National Immunization Survey of Teens,
2008-2010. Pediatrics. 2013 Apr;131(4):645-51. doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-2384. Epub
2013 Mar 18. PubMed PMID: 23509163. View Abstract Online.
A Push for HPV Vaccinations - NYTimes.com
BY SABRINA TAVERNISE
Health professionals hope to make the shots more accessible, and to make the vaccine sound less scary to parents and daughters.
Professor, Dental Public Health Services
University of Washington