Successful Partnership Increases South Dakota HPV Vaccination Rates

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At A Glance

The South Dakota Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (SDCCCP) worked with Sanford Health, an integrated health care system, to increase the state’s vaccination rates for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. HPV vaccination rates increased in seven clinics using health care systems interventions. The percentage of young people aged 11 to 26 years who had completed the three-dose HPV vaccine series increased by 7 percentage points, while the percentage who had not received any doses of HPV vaccine decreased by 14 percentage points.

By Lexi Pugsley

Public Health Challenge

Approximately 80 million people in the United States, about 1 in 4, are currently infected with HPV. About 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year. HPV infection can cause anal, cervical, throat, penile, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. According to a 2012–2013 report to The President’s Cancer Panel, widespread vaccination against HPV could sharply reduce the number of cervical and other cancers and conditions caused by the virus. In 2015, only 32.4% of girls and 22% of boys aged 13 to 17 years in South Dakota had completed the three-dose HPV vaccine series. The national rate was 41.9% for girls and 28.1% for boys. The state’s rates are far below the Healthy People 2020 objective to increase vaccination coverage for males and females aged 13 to 15 years to 80%.


From June 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, SDCCCP and Sanford Health worked together to increase HPV vaccination rates by using interventions proven to improve health care systems. Seven primary care clinics participated, focusing on males and females aged 11 to 26 years. By using client reminders and provider feedback, they successfully reached about 12,000 young people. The feedback showed providers what worked and motivated them to make changes to increase their vaccination rates. Sanford Health also used community-based activities, like panel discussions with cancer survivors and providers and screenings of the "Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic" documentary to raise awareness.

Sharing unblinded health care provider data was key. Physicians compared HPV vaccination rates with others in their practice and were motivated to make HPV vaccination a priority.
- Tracy Bieber, RN Sanford Health Immunization Strategy Manager


At the end of the 1-year project, the seven participating Sanford Health clinics reported a 7 percentage point increase in the young people who had completed the three-dose HPV vaccine series (32% compared to the 25% baseline rate). They reported a 14 percentage point decrease among those who had not received any doses of HPV vaccine (50% compared to the 64% baseline rate). More than 3,000 doses of HPV vaccine were administered, and more than 41,500 client reminders were sent out.

What's Next

During 2016–2017, SDCCCP and Sanford Health partnership added 32 additional clinics across South Dakota. SDCCCP also plans to work with three additional health systems in 2017. Both SDCCCP and Sanford Health intend to continue using proven interventions to improve their health care systems and increase HPV vaccination coverage. Best practices from these efforts will be shared with other health systems that are working to increase HPV vaccination rates.

Find Out More

Two key partners collaborated to increase South Dakota’s HPV vaccination rates. The SDCCCP and Sanford Health effectively provided 3,000 doses of HPV vaccine to young people. Other organizations, state programs, and cancer leaders can create networks to promote HPV vaccination in their communities. For more information about HPV vaccination, visit For information about the South Dakota Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, visit


Lexi Pugsley
South Dakota Department of Health
402 S. Main St

Aberdeen, SD 57401
Phone: 605-626-2660

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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The findings and conclusions in this success story are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the funding agencies or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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