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By Ashley Gallagher, Assistant Editor
Recent data have shown alarmingly low rates of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine completion among children between 10 and 13 years of age.
Recent data have shown alarmingly low rates of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine completion among children between 10 and 13 years of age, even though HPV is responsible for 70% to 90% of certain cervical and throat cancers in the United States, according to a BlueCross BlueShield press release.
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, yet HPV vaccination rates remain lower than other recommended vaccines for the 10 to 13 years of age population. Especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, rates of individuals completing multiple vaccination doses required for immunity dropped, which is causing a significant threat of an additional public health crisis. Getting both doses of the HPV vaccine is critical to prevent viral infections and reduce the risk of cancer later in life, according to the study authors.
The analysis examined HPV vaccination rates over a 3-year period for the commercially insured population, aged 10 to 13 years.
The findings showed that HPV vaccination rates remain distressingly low, with less than 30% completion among children between 10 and 13 years of age, which is the CDC recommended age range for completion. Additionally, the impact of COVID-19 on HPV vaccination rates were significant, showing a 13.5% drop from the 2019 rate compared to rates between January and October 2020, according to the study authors.
Similar to the 2 doses required to achieve full vaccine efficacy from currently available COVID-19 vaccines, the HPV vaccine requires individuals complete both doses to achieve full immunity from HPV. Twenty-nine percent of parents whose children did not receive the HPV vaccine said they were unsure about the vaccine’s efficacy, whereas 25% said they would not vaccinate their child because it was not required.
The information collected by the researchers is important to note, as it is essential to continue routine vaccinations for children and adults of all ages. Preventive measures, such as completing routine vaccinations, help ensure the health and safety of our families and communities, the study authors said.
HPV vaccination rates low despite risks of related cancers. BlueCross BlueShield. https://www.bcbs.com/the-health-of-america/infographics/hpv-vaccination-rates-low-despite-risks-of-related-cancers. Published February 25, 2021. Accessed March 2, 2021.