Report: HPV Vaccine Remains Seriously Underutilized in US

A new President’s Cancer Panel report is warning that HPV vaccine uptake in the United States remains too low to maximize a reduction in cancer cases. HPV vaccine, which became available in 2006, protects against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) virus. Infection with HPV can lead to several types of cancer, including cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, anus and penis. HPV causes nearly 34,000 new cases of cancer every year.

HPV Vaccination Rates Well Below Target Levels

Overall, HPV vaccination rates remain well below the federal government’s Healthy People 2020 goal of 80 percent of age-eligible adolescents, the recent report stated. As of 2017, the number of American teens who have been fully vaccinated against HPV hovered at 49 percent, well below the levels of other adolescent vaccines. However, the President’s Cancer Panel noted that while HPV vaccination remains seriously underutilized, rates of vaccination have increased over the past five years. On average between 2013 and 2017, there was an annual 5-percentage-point increase in adolescents who started the HPV vaccine series.

Who Should Get HPV Vaccine?

Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include two doses of HPV vaccine for 9 to 14 year olds administered at least six months apart. Adolescents and young adults older than 14 years will need a three-shot series given over a six-month timeframe. This is because the immune system of a person in this older age group produces a weaker response to the vaccine, therefore an extra dose is needed for maximum effectiveness against HPV infection.

HPV vaccine is recommended for young women through age 26, and young men through age 21. Teens or young adults who did not get the shots or did not finish the series when they were younger should get it now.

Get Vaccinated at RediClinic

RediClinic offers HPV vaccine and many other recommended immunizations for individuals age 18 months and older. A camp physical or sports physical exam is the perfect time to get vaccinated by a board-certified RediClinic clinician.

Make an online appointment to visit a RediClinic near you!