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Many adolescents still not getting HPV vaccine

HPV vaccination is the best way to prevent many types of cancer many adolescents haven’t started the HPV vaccine series, said CDC.

WASHINGTON DC. --- The number of 13- to 17-year-old boys and girls getting the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine increased slightly for the second year in a row, according to data from CDC’s 2014 National Immunization Survey-Teen (NIS-Teen), published in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Despite these increases, 4 out of 10 adolescent girls and 6 out of 10 adolescent boys have not started the recommended HPV vaccine series, leaving them vulnerable to cancers caused by HPV infections. Persistent HPV infections can cause cancers of the cervix, vagina, and vulva in women; cancers of the penis in men; and cancers of the anus and oropharynx (back of the throat, base of the tongue, and tonsils) in men and women. CDC recommends the vaccine for girls and boys at age 11 to 12 years.

The latest estimates show that 60 percent of adolescent girls and 42 percent of adolescent boys have received one or more doses of HPV vaccine. This was an increase of 3 percentage points for girls and 8 percentage points for boys from the 2013 NIS-Teen survey estimates.

Some of the promising strategies that have been effective in combination at increasing receipt of HPV vaccine include:

• Establishing links between cancer organizations and immunization organizations to emphasize HPV vaccination is cancer prevention;

• Health care provider education initiatives, including reminding doctors and nurses to take every opportunity to strongly recommend HPV vaccine, especially when they recommend the two other vaccines recommended at age 11 to 12 years (the quadrivalent  meningococcal conjugate and Tdap vaccines) and the annual flu vaccine;

• Practice-based quality improvement efforts by state and local health departments, such as assessment of a clinic’s HPV vaccination coverage levels and providing feedback on how to improve coverage;

• Public communication campaigns; and,

• Reminder-recall interventions, such as using immunization information systems to send reminders to parents about vaccinations for which their child is due. (SOURCE: CDC)

Photo: CDC

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