Persistent high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infections causes cervical precancer. HPV vaccination decreases the risk of cervical pre-cancer by up to 99%. The rate of vaccine uptake remains low. In KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) C Clinic, the rate of eligible patients vaccinated is 5.3% and only 6.5% of eligible patients were offered the vaccine. The HPV vaccine taskforce aimed to increase the rates of eligible patients vaccinated and offered the vaccine.
Factors leading to low uptake rates were identified and included the lack of awareness, lack of information, cost and accessibility issues. Accessibility issues were addressed by making vaccines available in clinic. Prices of the vaccines were subsidised, claims were made easier and consultation charges were waived. Education sessions were conducted for staff. In-house pamphlets and posters were developed and reminders were placed in clinic waiting areas. The electronic documentation was modified to include HPV vaccination. The Ministry of Health in Singapore also implemented a free opt-in HPV vaccination programme for secondary school girls. An audit was conducted over 6 months to assess rates of vaccination.
The rate of eligible patients being offered the HPV vaccine in KKH C Clinic increased from 6.5% to 27.7% (p<0.001). The rate of eligible patients vaccinated increased from 5.3% to 8.3% (p=0.083).
The HPV vaccine taskforce was effective in improving rates of HPV vaccination and patient awareness of the HPV vaccine. With this project, coupled with changes in Singapore’s health policies and attitudes of the population, we may one day eradicate cervical cancer.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
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