The rate of teens getting vaccinated for human papillomavirus (HPV) are too low and it’s because not enough doctors are recommending the vaccination according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Vaccinations for tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) have risen to 84.6 percent of teens, but only 20.8 percent of boys and 53.8 percent of girls have had a least one dose of the HPV vaccine.
“We have continued to have increases in coverage for 14- to 17-year-olds for the Tdap vaccine and there is still progress on the meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY) vaccine, but our coverage is not moving forward with the HPV vaccine for girls, and coverage is low for the HPV vaccine for boys,” said Dr. Melinda Wharton, deputy director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases.
The reason HPV vaccination among girls is lagging is because doctors aren’t routinely recommending it when they give Tdap and MenACWY vaccinations, Wharton added.
“Although providers are very good about conveying the need for Tdap and MenACWY, they are less strong in making a recommendation for the HPV vaccine,” Wharton said. “This could be because they are anticipating parental concerns.”
The CDC now recommends that every boy and girl aged 11 to 12 get the HPV vaccine, which is given in three shots. The vaccine prevents up to 70 percent of cervical cancers and 90 percent of vaginal warts and protects against some cancers of the head and neck, according to the CDC.
Wharton recommends treating HPV vaccine as just part of the regular vaccination schedule and says fears that the vaccination will prompt girls to become more sexually active are not grounds to leave them unprotected from the dangers of the HPV virus.