Julia ML Brotherton, Karen L Winch, Genevieve Chappell, Carolyn Banks, Dennis Meijer, Sonya Ennis, Karen Peterson, Rosalind Webby and Lisa J Whop
Med J Aust || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50221


Objective: To estimate human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination coverage and course completion rates for Indigenous adolescents in four Australian states and territories.

Participants, setting: Adolescents who were 12 years old in 2015 and received the quadrivalent HPV vaccine (three doses: 0, 2, 6 months) as part of the National HPV Vaccination Program in 2015 or 2016 in New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory, or the Australian Capital Territory.

Main outcome measures: Estimated HPV vaccination coverage by dose and by Indigenous status and sex, based on National HPV Vaccination Program Register data; vaccination course completion rates (proportion of dose 1 recipients who received dose 3) for 12‐year‐olds vaccinated during 2013–2016, by sex, jurisdiction, and Indigenous status.

Results: Dose 1 coverage exceeded 80% for all Indigenous status/jurisdiction/sex groups (range, 83.3–97.7%). Coverage was similar for Indigenous and non‐Indigenous girls in Queensland (87.3% v 87.0%), lower for Indigenous girls in the ACT (88.7% v 97.7%) and the NT (91.1% v 97.0%), and higher in NSW (95.9% v 89.9%); it was similar for Indigenous and non‐Indigenous boys in all jurisdictions except the NT (88.6% v 96.3%). Dose 3 coverage (range, 61.2–87.7%) was markedly lower for Indigenous than non‐Indigenous 12‐year‐olds in all jurisdictions, except for girls in NSW (82.6% v83.6%).

Conclusion: HPV vaccine coverage is high, but course completion is generally lower for Indigenous adolescents. Strategies for improving completion rates for Indigenous Australians are needed to end the higher burden of cervical cancer among Indigenous than non‐Indigenous women.