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Immunization of adolescents against the human papillomavirus, the most common sexually transmitted infection in this country, has increased modestly since 2012, but it’s still “unacceptably low,” according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Immunization of adolescents against the human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, has increased modestly since 2012, but it’s still “unacceptably low,” according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Last year, only 57% of girls and 35% of boys aged between 13 and 17 years got 1 or more doses of HPV vaccine, compared with 86% who received the Tdap vaccine against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.
The good news is that from 2012 to 2013 the HPV vaccination rate for girls increased from 53.8% to 57.3% (although only about a third got all 3 doses), and the rate for boys rose from 20.8% to 34.6%. The findings come from the National Immunization Survey-Teen (NIS-Teen), which the CDC has conducted since 2006.
The reasons cited most often by parents for not having their children, both girls and boys, vaccinated were lack of knowledge (15.5% for both boys and girls); belief that the vaccine isn’t necessary (14.7% for girls; 17.9% for boys); and lack of a recommendation to vaccinate (13% for girls; 22.8% for boys). Some parents also cited safety concerns.
More parents of vaccinated teenagers said they had received a recommendation (73.7% for girls; 71.7% for boys) than parents of unvaccinated adolescents (52% for girls; 25.7% for boys). Significantly more parents of both girls and boys reported receiving a recommendation in 2013 compared with 2012.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization practices (ACIP) recommends vaccinating preteen girls and boys aged 11 or 12 years against HPV. The CDC’s ACIP also recommends vaccination for teenaged girls and young women aged up to 26 years who haven’t previously received the vaccine and teenaged boys and young men aged up to 21 years. The 2 available vaccines-Cervarix and Gardasil-are given in 3 shots over 6 months to prevent cervical cancer and, in the case of Gardasil, anal, vulvar, and vaginal cancers as well as genital warts.
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