According to a yearlong study done by a research team at the University of Pennsylvania, knowledge doesn’t necessarily mean power.
Researchers investigated whether increased knowledge of HPV and the HPV vaccine has any effect on HPV vaccination rates.
The study, reported in the journal of Pediatrics, raises questions about the traditional belief that using public service announcements and other educational efforts increases knowledge about the vaccination.
Researchers surveyed about 360 adolescents who were considered to be ideal candidates to receive the HPV vaccine and their parents on their knowledge of HPV and the HPV vaccine.
In addition to surveying participants, researchers tracked whether they received the vaccination by analyzing clinical records kept in Philadelphia’s Kids Immunizations Database tracking system (KIDS).
The survey results showed that only 14 percent of the adolescents were ultimately vaccinated. Neither increased parental or adolescent knowledge about HPV nor the vaccine resulted in higher rates of vaccination.
Parents with higher levels of knowledge were not more likely to obtain vaccinations for themselves or their daughters.
The Study’s lead author, Jessica Fishman said, “Knowledge was neither necessary nor sufficient. Although knowledge is often assumed to be key to increasing vaccination rates, it may be unwise to place so much promise on knowledge.”
According to experts, although the vaccination is proven “effective”, the percentage of girls in the high-risk population receiving the vaccination remains low.
Future Tests To Be Conducted?
According to researchers, knowledge about HPV and the HPV vaccination was not associated with receiving the vaccine.
Researchers say this is a small study and cannot be considered conclusive and future testing should include additional populations and should examine which modifiable factors predict those who vaccinate.
HPV Vaccination Safety
There have been publicized stories regarding the safety of the HPV vaccine, Gardasil.
According to the FDA, of the 29,000 people involved in clinical trials, 258 reported serious adverse reactions.
It is unknown how this information may or may not have influenced the participants of this study.
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