Human papillomavirus vaccine coverage among female Australian adolescents: success of the school-based approach

Julia M L Brotherton, Sharron L Murray, Madeline A Hall, Lynne K Andrewartha, Carolyn A Banks, Dennis Meijer, Helen C Pitcher, Megan M Scully and Luda Molchanoff
Med J Aust 2013; 199 (9): 614-617. || doi: 10.5694/mja13.10272


Objective: To describe quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination coverage achieved in the HPV vaccination catch-up program for girls aged 12–17 years.

Design: Analysis of data from the Australian National HPV Vaccination Program Register.

Participants: Girls aged 12–17 years as at 30 June 2007.

Main outcome measures: HPV vaccine coverage by dose (1, 2 and 3), age and state of residence, using Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates of resident populations as the denominator.

Results: Notified vaccination coverage for girls aged 12–17 years nationally was 83% for dose 1, 78% for dose 2 and 70% for dose 3. The Australian Capital Territory and Victoria recorded the highest three-dose coverage for the 12–17-year-old cohort overall at 75%. The highest national three-dose coverage rate by age was achieved in 12-year-olds (74%). In Queensland, coverage among Indigenous girls compared with non-Indigenous girls was lower with each dose (lower by 4% for dose 1, 10% for dose 2 and 15% for dose 3). This pattern was not seen in the NT, where initial coverage was 17% lower among Indigenous girls, but the course completion rate among those who started vaccination was identical (84%).

Conclusions: The catch-up HPV vaccination program delivered over 1.9 million doses of HPV vaccine to girls aged 12–17 years, resulting in 70% of girls in this age group being fully vaccinated. The range in coverage achieved and the lower uptake documented among Indigenous girls suggest that HPV vaccination programs can be further improved.

  • Julia M L Brotherton1,2
  • Sharron L Murray3
  • Madeline A Hall4
  • Lynne K Andrewartha5
  • Carolyn A Banks6
  • Dennis Meijer7
  • Helen C Pitcher8
  • Megan M Scully9
  • Luda Molchanoff10

  • 1 National HPV Vaccination Program Register, Victorian Cytology Service, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.
  • 3 Centre for Disease Control, Darwin, NT.
  • 4 Queensland Health, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 5 Communicable Diseases Control Unit, Department of Health and Human Services, Hobart, TAS.
  • 6 Communicable Diseases Control, ACT Health, Canberra, ACT.
  • 7 Communicable Diseases Branch, Health Protection NSW, NSW Health, Sydney, NSW.
  • 8 Department of Health, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 9 Communicable Disease Control Directorate, WA Health, Perth, WA.
  • 10 Department of Health and Ageing, Adelaide, SA.



The NHVPR is owned by the Department of Health and Ageing and managed by the Victorian Cytology Service. We wish to thank all the immunisation program managers and the immunisation teams who delivered the program across Australia, and to specifically acknowledge Vicki Bryant, Kerry Nettle, Genevieve Chappell, Lesley Rowlands, Karen Winch, Christine Selvey and Karen Peterson for assistance with the preparation of this paper.

Competing interests:

Julia Brotherton was a partner investigator on an Australian Research Council linkage grant on which bioCSL was a partner investigator.

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