Objective Isolation and school closure during the COVID-19 pandemic could decrease human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination uptake and potentially increase future HPV-related morbidity among unvaccinated populations. The aim of our study was to investigate HPV vaccination rates in Israel during the pandemic. Methods The HPV vaccination rates were compared before and during the COVID-19 pandemic years (2020-2021). Data regarding HPV vaccination between 2015 and 2021 were extracted from the Israeli Ministry of Health online reports. Vaccination rates were compared with other childhood vaccines, given at similar ages. Israeli HPV vaccination rates were further compared with England and Australia, which have an established vaccination infrastructure. Results The average Israeli coverage of first-dose HPV vaccine was 60.2%, with significant variations from 2015 to 2021. During the pandemic years, first-dose vaccine coverage increased compared with the 3 previous years. The pandemic had also no apparent influence on other childhood vaccine uptake, even though adolescents in Israel missed many school days during this time. Average vaccine uptake in England and Australia was significantly higher than Israel (p =.009); however, first-dose vaccination rates decreased considerably in England during 2020, to a nadir of 59%. The pandemic had little effect on HPV vaccination rates in Australia. Conclusions Despite many school days missed, the COVID-19 pandemic did not result in a decrease in HPV vaccine uptake in Israel. The pandemic could prove a good opportunity to further educate the public regarding the importance of whole-population vaccination programs. Implementing catch-up vaccination programs may bridge "vaccination gaps"that may be caused by future pandemics.
- human papillomavirus