CDC: Teen HPV vaccination rates lagging

The CDC says HPV vaccination rates continue to lag those of other vaccines recommended for teenagers. Just 49% of teens got one dose of the HPV shot, and only 32% of girls got all three recommended injections. That's up just 5% from the previous year. Comparatively, 63% of kids got the meningitis shot, and 69% received the Tdap vaccine. Blacks and Hispanics were less likely to receive the third HPV dose compared with whites. Additionally, girls living in poverty were also less likely to complete the HPV series, according to the CDC release.

Each year, 6 million men and women are infected with HPV, which can eventually cause cervical cancer and other diseases. Gardasil and Cervarix prevent the most common strains of the virus, but all three doses must be given to achieve maximum protection.

"...[T]he HPV results are very concerning," noted Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "Our progress is stagnating, and if we don't make major changes, far too many girls in this generation will remain vulnerable to cervical cancer later in life. Now that we have the tools to prevent most cervical cancers, it is critical that we use them." The study was published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

- see the CDC release
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