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HPV Vaccine Doesn’t Reach Many Young People, Says CDC

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HPV Vaccine Doesn't Reach Many Young People, Says CDC

(CTN News) – There are many types of human papillomavirus, or HPV Vaccine. It usually spreads through sexual activity and can cause cancer later in life.

The HPV vaccine has been very effective for preventing those cancers for 20 years, but the CDC says fewer young people are getting it. More from NPR’s Pien Huang.
A series of HPV vaccine shots is recommended for most children between the ages of 11 and 12. 80% of adolescents should be fully vaccinated by 2030, according to the U.S. government.

What’s the status of that? Maria Villarroel is a statistician at the CDC.

MARIA VILLARROEL: I think it’s increasing slowly. It’s getting there, but we haven’t quite made it.

HUANG: Not quite there, but optimistic. Based on CDC statistics, only 63% of teens had received all HPV shots in 2022. That’s well below the target of 80%.

A worrying trend was also evident in the numbers. Teenagers starting their HPV series actually decreased for the first time in about a decade. The University of North Carolina’s Noel Brewer studies health behavior. Around that time, a lot of routine vaccinations were falling behind.

Well visits dropped significantly during the pandemic, and well visits are when vaccinations are given.

HPV vaccines may not be recovering as quickly as other childhood vaccines, according to the data. It also shows some troubling signs in what was supposed to be a success story for health equity. In many years, CDC data showed that HPV vaccine coverage was higher among Blacks and Hispanics than among whites, and higher among Medicaid kids than those with private insurance.

Coverage rates for Medicaid kids are now declining. There’s another, more persistent problem with HPV vaccine coverage. In most states, it isn’t required for school. Parents are often uncomfortable about giving a child a vaccine for a sexually transmitted virus because it is for a sexually transmitted disease. In her practice at Medical University of South Carolina, LaKeshia Craig specializes in adolescent medicine.

LAKESHIA CRAIG: Parents will often say, “My child is not sexually active.”. There is a misconception that if children are protected from HPV, they will be more likely to have sex at an earlier age.

HUANG: The vaccine protects those who receive it well into adulthood, and with high coverage rates, it may eliminate some very serious cancers such as cervical cancer, throat and mouth cancers that affect both men and women. Some are suggesting skipping the sex part of the messaging and instead saying, get the shot now to prevent cancer in the future.


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Salman Ahmad is a seasoned writer for CTN News, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the platform. With a knack for concise yet impactful storytelling, he crafts articles that captivate readers and provide valuable insights. Ahmad's writing style strikes a balance between casual and professional, making complex topics accessible without compromising depth.

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