HPV vaccine makes inroads, CDC says

Merck's Gardasil has quickly taken hold among teenage girls, the CDC reports. According to the health agency's teen vaccine survey, at least one in four girls has received at least one dose of the human papillomavirus vaccine, which is designed to stave off four strains of the virus that's linked with cervical cancer and genital warts.

That's pretty quick uptake for a vaccine just approved in June 2006. "For a new vaccine, 25 percent coverage is really very good," the CDC's vaccine services chief said.

There are several hindrances to new immunizations, experts told the Wall Street Journal. For one thing, parents tend to be cautious about vaccine safety. Plus, in Gardasil's case, protection can be expensive. The three-shot course costs about $375, and it's unclear whether it offers lifetime immunity or will require boosting in the future. And because Gardasil protects against a sexually transmitted virus, some parents feel free to wait a year or two beyond the recommended administration age of 11 to 12 years, which could be inhibiting uptake numbers.

- see the CDC release
- check out the story in the New York Times
- see the WSJ's article