U.S. HPV vaccination rates far from goal, officials say

WASHINGTON Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:45pm EDT

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Only slightly more than half of U.S. girls aged 13 to 17 had been vaccinated against a virus that can cause cervical and other cancers last year, and a top U.S. health official said on Thursday that more must be done to bring the rate up to the long-term goal of 80 percent.

The vaccination rate to protect against human papillomavirus (HPV) was 53.8 percent last year for teen-age girls, just marginally higher than the 53 percent rate a year earlier, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday.

The rate reflected girls who had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Full vaccination requires a three-dose series.

HPV is responsible for an estimated 26,000 cancers in the United States each year. About 79 million people in the country have the sexually transmitted virus, and 14 million are newly infected each year.

"We're dropping the ball," Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on a conference call with reporters. "We're missing opportunities to give HPV vaccines and that needs to change."

The CDC collected data from the National Immunization Survey-Teen, which collects vaccination data for 13-17-year-olds.

The CDC recommends routine HPV vaccination for boys and girls at age 11-12, before they are sexually active.

The CDC noted that among unvaccinated girls, 84 percent had missed the opportunity to get an HPV shot when they visited a healthcare provider for another immunization. Had they also received an HPV vaccine at that time, the percentage of girls who had received at least one dose could be as high as 93 percent.

Each year the vaccination rate remains at its current 33 percent for girls who have received all three doses, an additional 4,400 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer, according to the CDC.

HPV, which most often does not show symptoms for several years, can also cause vaginal and vulvar cancer in women and can lead to penile cancer in men. It may also lead to anal and throat cancers among men and women as well as genital warts.

HPV vaccines are sold by Merck & Co, under the name Gardasil, and by GlaxoSmithKline, under the name Cervarix.

The vaccination rate for adolescent girls who received the recommended three-dose series decreased slightly in 2012 to 33.4 percent from 34.8 percent a year before.

Health officials hope to achieve an 80 percent vaccination rate within seven years, according to goals laid out in 2020's Healthy People, a set of 10-year objectives aimed at improving health in the United States.

President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law, which requires almost all Americans obtain health insurance or pay a penalty beginning in 2014, could help increase the vaccination rate as uninsured families gain coverage for the shots, health officials said.

Health officials said many parents do not believe their daughters need to be vaccinated because they are not sexually active, or are afraid that receiving the vaccine will open the door to sex.

But Frieden and Thomas McInerny, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said like other vaccines, the HPV vaccine needs to be administered well before exposure to potential diseases.

For example, health officials have seen high success rates with a three-dose vaccine series for hepatitis B, a contagious liver disease. The doses for hepatitis B vaccine are typically given at birth and through the first few months of a child's life.

"We don't wait for exposure for any other vaccine," McInerny said on the call. "We recognize that the conversation about HPV can take extra time in practice."

(Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Leslie Adler)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
concerneddoc wrote:
In the 50s and 60s I was thrilled when reading about vaccine pioneers Jenner and Pasteur, Salk, Sabin, and so many others.
The HPV vaccine involves cell mediated immunity and over the past 10-20 years I have read a lot of disturbing scientific articles in relation to the HPV vaccine. There is something about this vaccine that disturbs me. Of course, we live in an age where corporatism, profit, and economics means far more to the powers to be than the health and welfare of ordinary citizens. Part of the reason this vaccine is being shoved down the throats and wallets of the majority of Americans is because it is a huge money maker and we know that doctors, politicians, and business types have billions tied up in stocks in vaccines .
As I said, the health and mental welfare of Americans means little to the movers and shakers (the filthy rich multimillionaires and billionaires) in America. After all, I participated in life and death situations as a very young man- a Marine peon where they held events called the Vietnam war (run by true psychopaths like MacNamara) and then low and behold, some 43 years later, we had the illegal Iraq Invasion of 2003 (and I participated in this too but this time as an elderly medic).
It is even more disturbing for our dictatorial emperors and elites (pseudo intelligentsia despite what they think…so much for Harvard, Columbia and all the other nonsensical places where one can get a secular education on how to get your fellow man killed and maimed and poor and disillusioned)to say we are going to fine/penalize families if they do not get their daughters vaccinated. Of course , the vaccine should be extended to homosexual men because it is very dangerous to insert a penis into an organ (the rectum) which was not designed to receive the male sexual organ. The rectum is the repository for fecal waste and in addition it is thin celled and its epithelium is “weak and porous” serving as a very good place for disease to be spread- diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, herpes, hepatitis , as well as a host of parasites, protozoa, infectious GI bacteria, and so many other things. It is very unsanitary to have the male sexual organ covered with fecal waste. It is very unhealthy to have the HIV and HPV viruses squirted into the rectum.
Please produce a long , detailed comprehensive scientific article on all the pros and cons of the HPV vaccine- a very scientific article, not some infantile cheerleading type article that does not list all the side effects as well as what is going on with all the other HPV viruses and not just the few carcinogenic viruses of which the vaccine aims for. Just how long does immunity last. Also, please reveal the major stockholders of this vaccine because money matters more than the average citizen. I already know this because I see how the public cares nothing about our Vietnam war dead as well as the dead from other wars.
Extensive work on depleted uranium has gone on for many years in the Balkans and other countries. Depleted Uranium is NOT SAFE. Remember how in the 60s and 70s we were lied to about Agent Orange- that white colored material sprayed all over Vietnam.

Jul 29, 2013 7:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.