By Michael Ollove
Ten years after the federal government approved the first vaccines to combat the cancer-causing human papillomavirus, nine years after those vaccines were recommended for all adolescent girls, and five years after they were recommended for all adolescent boys, less than half of girls and only a fifth of boys are getting immunized.
In 2014, only 40 percent of girls ages 13 to 17 have completed the three-vaccine course of HPV immunization. (And just 22 percent of boys.)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of 2014, only 40 percent of girls ages 13 to 17 had completed the three-vaccine course of HPV immunization. (And just 22 percent of boys had done so.)
That’s well short of the 80 percent goal set in 2010 by the federal government in its Healthy People 2020 report, which established health objectives for the nation.
Even states that require HPV inoculation for school admission or mandate that schools teach students about the virus have fallen far short of the federal benchmark.
“We think the rates are dismally low and very alarming,” said Amy Pisani, executive director of Every Child by Two, a nonprofit that aims to reduce instances of vaccine-preventable illnesses. “We clamor and clamor for a vaccine to get rid of these terrible diseases and yet we aren’t implementing them.”
Some states fare significantly worse. In Tennessee, for example, the vaccination rate for girls was 20 percent — the lowest rate in the nation — and 14 percent for boys.
Even the best performing state, Rhode Island, one of only two states plus the District of Columbia that require HPV inoculation for school admission, has rates well below the national goal, with 54 percent of girls and 43 percent of boys receiving all three HPV vaccinations. Continue reading