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Associations between population based voting trends during the 2016 US presidential election and adolescent vaccination rates

Suryadevara, Manika, Bonville, Cynthia A., Cibula, Donald A., Domachowske, Joseph B., Suryadevara, Amar C.
Vaccine 2019 v.37 no.9 pp. 1160-1167
adolescents, children, health information, laws and regulations, politics, public health, regression analysis, t-test, vaccination, vaccines, United States
Politics play a role in the dissemination of public health information, including immunization-related issues. We aim to describe relationships between HPV vaccination rates and state voting patterns during the 2016 US presidential election.We classified each of the 50 states as either “Red” or “Blue,” based on whether a higher proportion of the state’s casted votes were for the Republican or Democratic nominee during the 2016 US presidential election. State-specific HPV, Tdap, and meningococcal vaccination rates were obtained from the 2016-National Immunization Survey-Teen. State socio-demographic factors and HPV vaccine legislation were obtained from the US Census Bureau and National Conference of State Legislatures. Vaccination rates and socio-demographic variables were compared using independent t-tests. Multiple linear regression compared vaccination rates between “Red” and “Blue” states, adjusting for percentage of both uninsured children and educational attainment.Compared to “Blue” states, “Red” states had significantly lower unadjusted HPV vaccine series initiation (56% vs 66%, p < 0.05) and completion (39% vs 50%, p < 0.05) rates; yet had similar rates of Tdap (88% vs 89%, p > 0.05) and meningococcal (79% vs 83%, p > 0.05) vaccinations. After adjusting for potential confounders, the regression-adjusted mean rate for HPV vaccine initiation and completion remained significantly lower for “Red” states compared to “Blue” states (57% vs 65%, p < 0.05, and 41% vs 48%, p < 0.05, respectively).HPV vaccination rates are associated with statewide-level voting patterns. Future interventions aimed at improving HPV vaccination rates should consider engaging local and national elected leaders to be proactive in disseminating accurate and authoritative immunization information.