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
. 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.