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Taylor & Francis

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Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics

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DOI: 10.1080/21645515.2022.2135930


Health literacy is associated with the utilization of preventive health services. We examined the association between health literacy (HL) levels and receipt of at least one dose of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination. We analyzed the data from the 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) among adults aged 18 to 32. The primary outcome variable was the ‘yes/no’ response to the question that assessed whether the participant received at least the first dose of HPV vaccination. The primary independent variable was a summative HL score (range 3 through 12) we created for each respondent by adding the scores for all three HL questions. We performed bivariate and multivariable (logistic regression) analyses to examine the relationship between study variables. The analytical sample of 6,731 adults aged 18 to 32 met the eligibility criteria. Regression analyses showed that the odds of having received at least one dose of HPV vaccination increased by 13% for every unit increase in health literacy score (Odds ratio: 1.13, 95% CI:1.06–1.21, p < .0001). Age, gender, marital status, race/ethnicity, insurance status, and having regular access to a personal doctor were predictors of HPV vaccination status. This study showed that higher levels of HL may contribute to the uptake of at least one dose of the HPV vaccine. Health care and public health organizations, health care professionals, and policymakers should emphasize improving the health literacy levels of the patients and the public to increase the uptake of the HPV vaccine.


Published version. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, Vol. 18, No. 6 (October 2022). DOI. © 2022 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Used with permission.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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