Background: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) subtypes are the primary cause of cervical cancer. Despite introduction of the HPV vaccine in 2006, vaccination percentages remain low across Georgia counties. The primary objective of this research was to conduct a descriptive epidemiological study of HPV vaccination coverage among individuals in the South Central Health District (SCHD) to provide guidance for targeted vaccination campaigns aimed at adolescents residing in rural communities.

Methods: Data from the Georgia Registry of Immunization Transactions and Services and AEGIS.net, Inc. were used to analyze demographic and socioeconomic factors associated with HPV vaccine uptake among individuals visiting county health departments in the SCHD from 2007-2014. Descriptive statistics were used to evaluate the relationship between sex, age at first vaccination, county of vaccine administration, race, and insurance status to vaccine series completion.

Results: In the SCHD, Johnson County had the highest completion percentage (50%); Montgomery County had the lowest (20%). However, Montgomery County had the fastest time to completion (334 days). Throughout the district, males were fully vaccinated at much lower percentages than females (p < 0.001). Race was a significant variable (p=0.011) for vaccine completion. Compared to other racial groups, more White individuals completed the HPV vaccine. Absolute counts of HPV vaccine doses peaked in the study population during 2010 (n=507).

Conclusions: Due to overall low rates, community-based intervention methods should be considered to increase HPV vaccine uptake across the SCHD. School-based programs may be useful in targeting at-risk populations and increasing rates of HPV vaccine initiation and completion. Expanded efforts are needed to determine the best structure for effective school-based programs.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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