Vázquez-Otero C, and Lockhart E. The adoption of the HPV vaccine school-entry requirement in Puerto Rico: How practical lessons can inform future vaccine policies. Prev Med Rep 2022; 30:102025.
Prev Med Rep
Vaccine requirements are policy-level strategies used to improve population health outcomes; however, discourse politicization of vaccines may hinder adoption and implementation. An example of the complexities related to adoption of vaccine policies in the United States (US) is the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine school-entry requirement. In 2018, Puerto Rico's (PR) Department of Health adopted this policy. This study assessed stakeholders' recommendations for adoption of the HPV vaccine school-entry requirement that could inform future vaccine policies. Stakeholders (e.g., researchers, members of medical and non-profit organizations) were interviewed from May to August 2018. Participants (n = 20) discussed recommendations for public health professionals interested in adopting such policy. Data were analyzed using applied thematic techniques. Participants emphasized the importance of raising HPV vaccine awareness and providing education prior to the requirement. They recommended using real stories and making the problem relevant by using local data. Participants recommended considering the local culture and government bureaucracies, and promoting multisectoral collaborations to combine limited resources. The combination of education efforts, local data, and multisectoral collaborations facilitated the adoption of the HPV vaccine school-entry requirement in PR. Findings highlight the need to understand the contextual distinctions of the communities where vaccination requirements may be adopted and implemented to anticipate barriers and leverage existing resources. Consideration of the politico-cultural context may be important as political beliefs have become entrenched with vaccine policy. These practical lessons can inform public health professionals and policymakers who are seeking to adopt and implement vaccine policies in other settings to ensure equitable vaccine access.