Despite national recommendations for adolescent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, rates have lagged behind those of other adolescent vaccines. We implemented interventions and examined rates of vaccination coverage in a large, urban, safety net health care system to understand whether our tactics for achieving high rates of adolescent vaccination were successful.


Denver Health is an integrated urban safety net health system serving >17 000 adolescents annually. The process for achieving high vaccination rates in our health system includes “bundling” of vaccines, offering vaccines at every visit, and standard orders. Data from vaccine registry and utilization statistics were used to determine vaccination rates in adolescents aged 13 to 17 years from 2004 to 2014, and these findings were compared with state and national rates for 2013. Regression analysis was used to identify characteristics associated with vaccination.


In 2013 (N = 11 463), HPV coverage of ≥1 dose was 89.8% (female subjects) and 89.3% (male subjects), compared with national rates of 57.3% and 34.6%. Rates of HPV coverage (≥3 doses) were 66.0% for female subjects and 52.5% for male subjects, versus 37.6% and 13.9% nationally. For both sexes, tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis, adsorbed, vaccine coverage was 95.9% (86.0% nationally), and meningococcal conjugate vaccine coverage was 93.5% (77.8% nationally). Female subjects, Hispanic subjects, non-English speakers, and teenagers <200% below the federal poverty level were more likely to have received 3 doses of HPV.


Through low-cost, system-wide standard procedures, Denver Health achieved adolescent vaccination rates well above national coverage rates. Avoiding missed opportunities for vaccination and normalizing the HPV vaccine were key procedures that contributed to high coverage rates.

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