Missed opportunities for human papillomavirus vaccine series initiation in a large, rural U.S. state

Sophia R. Newcomer, Rain E. Freeman, Alexandria N. Albers, Sara Murgel, Juthika Thaker, Annie Rechlin, Bekki K. Wehner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates are lower in rural versus urban areas of the United States. Our objective was to identify the types of vaccination clinic settings where missed opportunities for HPV vaccine series initiation most frequently occurred in Montana, a large, primary rural U.S. state. We analyzed a limited dataset from Montana’s immunization information system for adolescents who turned 11 years old in 2014–2017. Vaccination visits where the HPV vaccine was due but not administered were missed opportunities. We compared missed opportunities across six types of clinic settings, and calculated adjusted relative risks (RR) using a generalized estimating equation model. Among n = 47,622 adolescents, 53.9% of 71,447 vaccination visits were missed opportunities. After adjusting for sex, age, and rurality of clinic location, receiving vaccines in public health departments was significantly associated with higher risk of missed opportunities (aRR = 1.25, 95% confidence interval = 1.22–1.27, vs. private clinics). Receipt of vaccines in Indian Health Services and Tribal clinics was associated with fewer missed opportunities (aRR = 0.72, 95% CI: 0.69–0.75, vs. private clinics). Our results indicate the need for interventions to promote HPV vaccine uptake in public health departments, which are a critical source of immunization services in rural and medically underserved areas of the U.S.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2016304
JournalHuman Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Vaccination
  • adolescent health
  • human papillomavirus vaccine
  • immunization information systems
  • rural health


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