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HPV Vaccine Completion Up 5% From 2016 to 2017

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Key Points

  • In 2017, nearly 66% of adolescents aged 13–17 years received the first dose to start the vaccine series, and nearly 49% of adolescents received all the recommended doses to complete the series.
  • Fewer adolescents in rural areas compared with youth in urban areas are getting the HPV and vaccine.

The number of adolescents who are up to date on human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination—meaning they started and completed the HPV vaccine series—increased 5 percentage points from 2016 to 2017, according to results from a national survey published by Walker et al in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In 2017, nearly 66% of adolescents aged 13–17 years received the first dose to start the vaccine series, and nearly 49% of adolescents received all the recommended doses to complete the series.

“This vaccine is the best way to protect our youth from developing cancers caused by HPV infection,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert R. Redfield, MD. “Vaccination is the key to cervical cancer elimination. I’m pleased to see parents are taking advantage of this crucial public health tool and thank the clinicians who are working to ensure all children are protected from these cancers in the future.”

More From the Report

While HPV vaccination rates are increasing, there is room for improvement, as many adolescents have not received all the recommended doses of the HPV vaccine. One of the new reports show that 51% of adolescents have not completed the HPV vaccine series.

Also, fewer adolescents in rural areas, compared with youth in urban areas, are getting the HPV vaccine. The number of adolescents who received the first dose of the HPV vaccine was 11 percentage points lower in rural areas compared to urban areas.

“While we understand it can be a challenge for some clinicians in rural areas to stock all recommended vaccines, these clinicians can still play a critical role in their patients’ health and protect them from serious diseases by referring them to other vaccine providers,” said Nancy Messonnier, MD, Director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

Preventing Future Cancers

Another report released by Van Dyne et al in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that oropharyngeal cancer is the most common HPV-associated cancer in the United States. Between 1999 and 2015, rates of oropharyngeal cancer increased in both men and women, but more in men. The report also found that in 2015, roughly 43,000 men and women developed an HPV-associated cancer. Additional analyses estimate that HPV causes 79% of these cancers—or about 33,700 cases—every year.

Fortunately, HPV vaccination could prevent 90% (or 31,200 cases) of cancers caused by HPV from developing in the United States each year. Since the HPV vaccine was introduced more than 10 years ago, HPV infections and cervical precancers have decreased significantly. But because of the long interval between HPV infection and the development of cancer, it will likely take decades to assess the impact of vaccination on HPV-associated cancers.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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