The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics have announced that HPV vaccination rates fell from 2011 to 2012. The data was taken from the 2012 National Immunization Survey - Teen (NIS-Teen) and shows a slight decline in vaccination rates for girls aged 13 to 17.
"Progress increasing HPV vaccination has stalled, risking the health of the next generation.," said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC. "Doctors need to step up their efforts by talking to parents about the importance of HPV vaccine just as they do other vaccines and ensure its given at every opportunity."
It is currently estimated that vaccination coverage for the 3-dose HPV vaccine is around 33%. The CDC believes that raising coverage to its "Healthy People 2020" goal of 80% coverage would prevent 4,400 cases of cervical cancer and 1,400 deaths from cervical cancer.
The NIS-Teen showed that the lack of a doctor's recommendation, "safety concerns," and "gaps in understanding" about the HPV vaccine were two of the main reasons parents cited for not having their daughters vaccinated. 84% of the girls in the survey who did not recieve the HPV vaccine received other vaccinations during the year. The CDC believes it could raise vaccination coverage for at least one dose of the HPV vaccine to 93% if it were given at the same time as those other vaccinations. The agency urged healthcare providers to give a "strong" recommendation for the HPV vaccine.
"Parents need reassurance that HPV vaccine is recommended at 11 or 12 because it should be given well in advance of any sexual activity," said Frieden. "We don't wait for exposure to occur before we vaccinate with any other routinely recommended vaccine."
The CDC estimates that 79 million Americans have HPV (human papillomavirus), with 14 million new cases each year. The common infection has been linked, in rare cases, to certain types of cervical cancer. It is recommended that both boys and girls recieve the 3-dose HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12.