Invited Commentary: Moving from Evidence to Impact for Human Papillomavirus Vaccination - The Critical Role of Translation and Communication in Epidemiology

Anne Rositch, Melinda Krakow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


In response to the accompanying article by Yih et al. (Am J Epidemiol. 2018;187(6):1269-1276), we highlight the importance of moving beyond epidemiologic research on human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine safety to focus on translation of this strong evidence base into successful vaccine safety communication strategies to bolster vaccine uptake. The potential of the HPV vaccine to reduce cancer incidence is substantial, yet actual HPV vaccination rates in the United States are disappointingly low in comparison with other routine childhood vaccines with similar safety profiles. This is no doubt due, in part, to persistent parental safety concerns. In 2016, safety remained the second most common reason for lack of vaccination intent by parents of unvaccinated adolescents. While the strong study by Yih et al. makes use of a novel statistical method and a large medical claims database to confirm the low occurrence of adverse events following HPV vaccination observed globally, their study also highlights a key challenge for epidemiologists: translating our research findings to other public health domains, so that evidence-informed communication strategies can be used to disseminate the information in a way that is understandable and useful to the public. Moving forward, multidisciplinary research teams will be essential to ensure that our epidemiologic findings have a broad public health impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1277-1280
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018



  • adverse events
  • health communication
  • HPV vaccination
  • human papillomavirus
  • translational epidemiology
  • vaccine safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

Cite this