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Home HPV Vaccines HPV Vaccines Report: Too Few Adolescents Being Vaccinated Against HPV

Report: Too Few Adolescents Being Vaccinated Against HPV

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HPV vaccination rates continue trail well behind those of other immunizations recommended for adolescents, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Two HPV vaccines are currently on the U.S. market, and both protect against the two high-risk types associated with about 70% of cervical cancers. One of the vaccines also covers a pair of low-risk types found with approximately 90% of genital warts. Both vaccines are given in a series of three doses over a period of six months.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which advises CDC and other federal agencies on vaccine issues, recommends routine HPV vaccine for all adolescents beginning at age 11. Additionally, ACIP recommends all 11-12 year olds receive the Meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY), Tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap), and influenza vaccines.

HPV vaccine rates badly lag the others: CDC says that in 2011, only 53% of females ages 13-17 had received at least one dose of an HPV vaccine, and a scant 34.8% completed the three-dose series. Uptake with Tdap, by comparison, was 78.2% while coverage with the meningococcal vaccine was 70.5%.

The challenge with males is even greater: In 2011 only 8.3% had received even one shot, with 1.3% completing the series.

One bright spot of the report is that more blacks (56%) and Hispanic (65%) females had started the HPV vaccination series than whites (47.5%), an important factor given that cervical cancer rates and mortality are higher among women of color. Nearly 60% of American Indians and 56% of Asians had received at least their first HPV vaccine doe, too. With all groups except Hispanics (41.6%), though, fewer than 40% had received all three shots.

CDC says getting more needles in arms involves doing a better job of making sure parents understand both the risks of HPV and the value of the vaccines in protecting their sons and daughters. More robust recommendations from healthcare providers might help, too, they say.

Read the report at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6134a3.htm.