Modeling the consequences of regional heterogeneity in human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination uptake on transmission in Switzerland
Background: Completed human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination by age 16 years among women in Switzerland ranges from 17 to 75% across 26 cantons (states). The consequences of regional heterogeneity in vaccination coverage on transmission and prevalence of HPV-16 are unclear. Methods: We developed a deterministic, population-based model that describes HPV-16 transmission among young adults within and between the 26 cantons of Switzerland. We parameterized the model using sexual behavior data from Switzerland and data from the Swiss National Vaccination Coverage Survey. First, we investigated the general consequences of heterogeneity in vaccination uptake between two sub-populations. We then compared the predicted prevalence of HPV-16 after the introduction of heterogeneous HPV vaccination uptake in all of Switzerland with homogeneous vaccination at an uptake that is identical to the national average (52%). Results: HPV-16 prevalence in women is 3.34% when vaccination is introduced and begins to diverge across cantons, ranging from 0.14 to 1.09% after 15 years of vaccination. After the same time period, overall prevalence of HPV-16 in Switzerland is only marginally higher (0.55 %) with heterogeneous vaccination uptake than with homogeneous uptake (0.49%). Assuming inter-cantonal sexual mixing, cantons with low vaccination uptake benefit from a reduction in prevalence at the expense of cantons with high vaccination uptake. Conclusions: Regional variations in uptake diminish the overall effect of vaccination on HPV-16 prevalence in Switzerland, although the effect size is small. Cantonal efforts towards HPV-prevalence reduction by increasing vaccination uptake are impaired by cantons with low vaccination uptake. Harmonization of cantonal vaccination programs would reduce inter-cantonal differences in HPV-16 prevalence.
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