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Last updated: November 6, 2018.

TUESDAY, Nov 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) – HPV vaccination rates are still too low to reduce cervical cancer cases as much as possible in the US, a new report warns.

While HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination has increased in recent years, rates are lagging well behind the federal government's "Healthy People 2020" target of 80 percent of adolescents age-eligible, according to the latest report.

"We have a safe, effective vaccine that protects against a carcinogenic virus, and we welcome the efforts of the cancer and vaccination leaders to join forces to meet the challenge of accelerating the uptake of HPV vaccines," said Barbara Rimer, chairwoman of the Association Cancer President Panel, who created the report.

"However, the fact remains that this vaccine is still under-utilized – there are still no ways to prevent cancer and save lives," she added in a panel press release.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, boys and girls aged 11 or 12 should receive an HPV vaccine twice at intervals of six to twelve months. Those who receive their two injections at intervals of less than five months require a third dose of HPV vaccine.

While the proportion of children who started the HPV vaccine series increased on average by 5 percent per year between 2013 and 2017, as of 2017, less than half of the adolescents were fully vaccinated.

The new report suggests several ways to increase the HPV vaccination rates. These include: increasing the acceptance of the vaccine by the parents; Improving access to vaccination; Reducing missed opportunities at medical appointments for recommendation and administration of the vaccine; and promote the use of the vaccine worldwide.

HPV is a very common virus, and in the United States – including adolescents – around 14 million people are infected every year, according to the CDC.

In infected Americans, the virus causes 33,700 cancers in both men and women, but vaccination can prevent most cancers (about 31,200) from developing, says the CDC.

Infection with HPV can cause cancer of the cervix, vagina and vulva in women. Cancer of the penis in men; and
Cancers of the anus and the back of the neck, including the tongue and tonsils, in both women and men.

More information

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are focusing more on HPV vaccination.

SOURCE: Cancer Panel Chair of the President, Press Release, November 1, 2018


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