Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Reports Low, But Growing Uptake of HPV Vaccine

28% of Louisiana adolescents received a first dose of HPV vaccine by their 13th birthday
State HPV vaccination rates still low compared to other adolescent immunizations

Feb. 13, 2018

CHICAGO – While human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination rates have risen substantially, just 28.4% of adolescents in Louisiana received a first dose of the vaccine by their 13th birthday, according to a seven-year study of medical claims by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA). Nationally, 29% of Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) commercially insured adolescent members received an initial dose of the CDC-recommended HPV vaccination from 2013 through 2016.

Dr. Vindell Washington, chief medical officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, said vaccination remains a key tool for improving the health of Louisiana citizens. “It is not often that we have the opportunity to address the scourge of cancer with a vaccine,” he said. “We need to partner with parents and others in the community to do better by our kids.”

Louisiana’s first-dose HPV-vaccination rates increased from 16.6% for adolescents born in 2000 (who turned 13 years old in 2013) to 32.8% for adolescents born in 2003 (who turned 13 years old in 2016). This double-digit increase brought Louisiana’s HPV-vaccination rate much closer to the overall U.S. figures. Nationwide, 22% of adolescents in 2013 received an initial dose of HPV vaccination compared to 34% in 2016.

Despite the growth, HPV vaccination lags behind other adolescent vaccines in Louisiana, where 76.1% of adolescents in 2016 received the meningococcal vaccine and 77.5% received the Tdap vaccine. Furthermore, just 11% of Louisiana adolescents completed the full three-dose HPV regimen by age 13 in 2016, slightly higher than 7% nationally.*

The study also finds that:

  • Looking at Louisiana’s two largest metropolitan statistical areas, 13.1% of adolescents received a dose of HPV vaccine in Baton Rouge and 20% in New Orleans in 2016.
  • In 2016 in Louisiana, 35.9% of girls received a dose of HPV vaccine compared to 29.7% of boys. These rates were significantly higher than the 2013 numbers in Louisiana, and were closing in on the 2016 national rates of 37% of girls and 32% of boys.
  • Nationally, meningococcal and Tdap vaccination rates in 2016 were 78% and 84%, respectively.
  • Nationally, first-dose HPV-vaccination rates in 2016 were nearly the same for adolescents who live in both urban (35%) and rural areas (34%), but adolescents who reside in urban areas received significantly higher rates of meningococcal and Tdap vaccinations.

The report, “Adolescent Vaccination Rates in America,” represents a comprehensive study of outpatient medical claims for commercially insured BCBS members born from 2000 through 2003 and who were vaccinated by their 13th birthday between 2010 and 2016.** 

This is the eighteenth study of the Blue Cross Blue Shield: The Health of America Report® series, a collaboration between BCBSA and Blue Health Intelligence, which uses a market-leading claims database to uncover key trends and insights into health care affordability and access to care. Analysis was performed by, and also includes, medical claims data from HealthCore, a wholly owned and independently operated health outcomes subsidiary of Anthem, Inc.

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* In October 2016, the CDC changed the adolescent HPV vaccination recommendation from three to two doses, starting the vaccine series before the child’s 15th birthday. The report defines a completed regimen as three doses. The second dose of the HPV vaccine should be given six to twelve months after the first dose. It is recommended for teens and young adults who start the series at ages 15 through 26 to complete three doses of the HPV vaccine. 

** Study includes continually insured members. All adolescents considered in this study were born between the years 2000 and 2003, and thereby were ages 10 through 12 from the years 2010 through 2016.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Indexsm. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out our blog.

About BHI

Blue Health Intelligence (BHI) is the nation’s premier resource for data-driven insights about healthcare trends and best practices, promoting healthier lives and more affordable access to safe and effective care. BHI leverages a team of analytics experts and advanced technology, coupled with access to the greatest number of healthcare claims—172 million lives—gathered over 10 years in a safe, HIPAA-compliant, secure database. The resulting conformed, reliable data set has the broadest, deepest pool of integrated medical and pharmacy claims, reflecting medical utilization in every ZIP code. Blue Health Intelligence (BHI) is an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. BHI is a trade name of Health Intelligence Company, LLC.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana

Founded in New Orleans in 1934, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives ofLouisianians. With our subsidiaries, HMO Louisiana and Southern National Life, we provide group and individual health insurance plans, life and disability insurance, group voluntary products and administrative services to one out of four Louisiana residents. Blue Cross also provides Medicare supplement and Medicare Advantage plans and is a partner in offering the Healthy Blue Medicaid managed care plan. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, we have eight regional offices to serve our customers around the state.

Blue Cross is deeply committed to the communities we serve. Blue Cross invests both time and money in the health and wellbeing of Louisiana children by supporting more than 200 charitable organizations. Blue Cross invites and encourages all Louisianians to visit our website at