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HPV Vaccine: A Status Report On Its Use

When the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was introduced 10 years ago, it was seen as a major public health innovation due to the ubiquity of the virus and its association with cancer. Recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that about 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV, and about 14 million people are newly infected each year. There are three vaccines that have been rolled out over the last decade. The first vaccine released protects against the genotypes that cause approximately 70% of all cervical cancers and 90% of anogenital warts. Most recently, a nine-valent vaccine, Gardasil® 9 (Merck), was approved in the United States. In addition to HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18, Gardasil 9 protects against HPV types 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58, which account for about 15% of cervical cancers. Despite these impressive statistics, the number of Americans that receive the vaccine continues to lag. A recent article published in Medscape offers some history and context for this discrepancy.

The United States was among the first countries to adopt the vaccine, but full-course HPV vaccination coverage for adolescent girls was 40% and 22% for boys in 2014. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2020 goal for HPV vaccination is full-course completion by 80% of girls and boys ages 13 to 15 years.

Some of the reasons proposed for the slow vaccination uptake are the association with a sexually transmitted disease and safety concerns. According to a recent survey, over 60% of health care providers reported that HPV vaccine was the vaccine that parents were most likely to refuse or request be given on an alternative schedule. Organizations are mobilizing to increase the numbers of teens that are vaccinated. In 2014, the President’s Cancer Panel Report called for coordinated efforts to, for example, reduce missed opportunities to recommend and administer the HPV vaccine, increase the acceptance of HPV vaccine by parents and adolescents, and maximize access to HPV vaccination services. This year, all 69 National Cancer Institute–designated cancer centers issued a joint statement urging young adults, parents, and healthcare providers to take action to increase HPV vaccination rates for cancer prevention. Officials hope that these efforts can combat the negative attitudes and better integrate the HPV vaccine into children’s vaccine schedules.


Byline: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C

Posted: September 6, 2016

Source: Medscape
Adapted from the original article.

[Image: Pixabay / WerbeFabrik]


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