TEEN HEALTH Published February24, 2016 By Annie Dee

Health Officials Seeing Low Teen Vaccination Rates Despite Reported Benefits of HPV Vaccination

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HPV16 is associated to throat and mouth cancers.
(Photo : Google Images)

The vaccine against HPV infections introduced a decade ago is now bearing fruit. The prevalence of HPV infections among American teenage girls is said to have dropped by over 60%. 

According to a new study, the vaccine's introduction in 2006 led to amazing results in the prevalence of HPV among teenage girls. After six years, the prevalence rate among girls 14 to 19-years old, already decreased by 64%. Among women 20 to 24-yearls old, the prevalence rate became 34% lower. The statistics provided enough evidence to say the vaccine worked and is effective, Dr. Lauri E. Markowitz, a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. 

Back in 2006, 11.5% of teenage girls ages 14 to 19 were infected by the HPV, Between 2009 to 2012, the rate dropped to 4.3%. Among ages 20 to 24, 18.5% were infected in 2006. But the rate dropped to 12.1% between 2009 to 2012. 

With these positive rates, the federal government and various physicians associations Tuesday reiterated their support for vaccinating preteens. Experts in Southern California however highlighted that most parents still have discomfort with the idea of having their children receive vaccination for HPV. The federal government has set out 80% as the goal for all boys and girls to obtain at least three doses of the vaccine by 2020. However, current trends showed that vaccination rates remain far below that benchmark.

Experts are frustrated because people are intentionally avoiding getting something that will help them. "People are not getting the benefit of something that is really a wonderful breakthrough in the control of a very serious cancer," Dr. Roshan Bastani, director of the healthy and at-risk program at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

He explained that this can be because primary care providers, especially pediatricians, have not received the training they need about the value of vaccination. If the care providers themselves are unaware, then their patients will not be encouraged to get vaccinated.

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