Achieving widespread human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination is one of the most profound opportunities for cancer prevention, according to a report recently released by the President’s Cancer Panel. The Panel’s report, Accelerating HPV Vaccine Uptake: Urgency for Action to Prevent Cancer, issues an urgent call for energizing efforts to reach the HPV vaccines’ potential to save lives and prevent millions of avoidable cancers and HPV-related conditions in men and women.
“Today, there are two safe, effective, approved vaccines that prevent infection by the two most prevalent cancer-causing types, yet vaccination rates are far too low,” said Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, Chair of the President’s Cancer Panel. “We are confident that if HPV vaccination for girls and boys is made a public health priority, hundreds of thousands will be protected from these HPV-associated diseases and cancers over their lifetimes.”
According to the report, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012 only about one-third of 13- to 17-year-old girls in the United States received all three recommended doses of HPV vaccine. Immunization rates for boys were even lower; less than 7% of boys ages 13 to 17 completed the vaccine series in 2012.
The Panel’s report outlines three critical goals that must be achieved to increase HPV vaccine uptake: reducing missed clinical opportunities to recommend/administer HPV vaccines; increasing parents’/adolescents’ acceptance of HPV vaccines; and maximizing access to HPV vaccination services, with the ultimate goal being completion of the full three-dose series by all age-eligible adolescents.
The Panel’s report also calls for continued investment in and implementation of HPV vaccination programs in low-and middle-income countries, where the majority of HPV-associated cancer cases occur.
The complete report can be accessed at http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/annualReports/HPV/index.htm. ■