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Integrating epidemiology, psychology, and economics to achieve HPV vaccination targets.

Abstract

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines provide an opportunity to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer. Optimization of cervical cancer prevention programs requires anticipation of the degree to which the public will adhere to vaccination recommendations. To compare vaccination levels driven by public perceptions with levels that are optimal for maximizing the community's overall utility, we develop an epidemiological game-theoretic model of HPV vaccination. The model is parameterized with survey data on actual perceptions regarding cervical cancer, genital warts, and HPV vaccination collected from parents of vaccine-eligible children in the United States. The results suggest that perceptions of survey respondents generate vaccination levels far lower than those that maximize overall health-related utility for the population. Vaccination goals may be achieved by addressing concerns about vaccine risk, particularly those related to sexual activity among adolescent vaccine recipients. In addition, cost subsidizations and shifts in federal coverage plans may compensate for perceived and real costs of HPV vaccination to achieve public health vaccination targets.

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