CDC: HPV vaccination has stalled
10/4/2013, 6 a.m.
The anti-cancer HPV vaccine is safe and effective for girls and grossly underutilized, top officials from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics say.
Data from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that vaccination rates in girls ages 13-17 years failed to increase between 2011 and 2012 and that three-dose coverage actually declined slightly.
The article in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report drew on data from the 2012 National Immunization Survey-Teen.
Among girls who did get the HPV vaccine, 84 percent had a health care visit where they received another vaccine (such as one aimed at meningitis or pertussis) but not HPV vaccine.
If the HPV vaccine had been administered, vaccination coverage for greater than or equal to one dose could be nearly 93 percent rather than 54 percent.
CDC Director Tom Frieden said progress increasing HPV vaccination has stalled, risking the health of the next generation.
“Doctors need to step up their efforts by talking to parents about the importance of HPV vaccine just as they do other vaccines and ensure it’s given at every opportunity,” Frieden said.
CDC officials are urging health care providers to increase the consistency and strength of how they recommend HPV vaccine, especially when patients are 11 or 12 years old.
The CDC says that for each year the three-dose HPV vaccine series coverage remains near the current level of 33 percent, an additional 4,400 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and 1,400 cervical cancer-attributable deaths will occur in the future.
Instead, the CDC wants the vaccine to reach the Healthy People 2020 goal of 80 percent coverage.
The 2012 NIS-Teen data show that a lack of health care provider’s recommendation for HPV vaccine was one of the five main reasons parents reported for not vaccinating daughters.
The CDC is urging health care providers to give a strong recommendation for HPV vaccination for boys and girls ages 11 or 12 years.
Many parents also did not understand why vaccination is recommended at ages 11 or 12.
Frieden said age 11 or 12 is ideal because it’s in advance of any sexual activity.
“We don’t wait for exposure to occur before we vaccinate with any other routinely recommended vaccine,” he said.
Parents also cited safety concerns as a reason for not vaccinating. But officials say that in the seven years of post-licensure vaccine, no serious safety concerns have been identified.
HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives.
About 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV and 14 million people become newly infected each year.
Parents and caregivers are encouraged to ask about vaccination every time they take children for a health care visit. If a preteen boy or girl (ages 11 or 12 years) has not started the HPV vaccine series, make an appointment to get him or her vaccinated. Teens who haven’t started or finished the three-dose series should do so – it’s not too late for them to receive HPV vaccine.
-preventive-care-benefits/#part=3 for more information.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/mmwr.