(HealthDay News) — Four out of 10 girls and six out of 10 boys, aged 13–17, have not started the recommended human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine series, according to survey results published in the July 31 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Data for the latest report came from the CDC’s 2014 National Immunization Survey-Teen. The survey included 20,827 teens aged 13–17 in 2014. The latest estimates show that 60% of adolescent girls and 42% of adolescent boys had received one or more doses of HPV vaccine by 2014. This was an increase of 3% for girls and 8% for boys from 2013.
States that significantly increased HPV vaccinations include Georgia, Illinois, Montana, North Carolina, and Utah. The report also noted large increases in Chicago and Washington, D.C., which contributed to the overall progress. Single-dose HPV vaccination coverage is highest in Rhode Island, where 76.0% of girls have received at least one shot, and lowest in Kansas, where only 38.3% of girls have started the series. In Washington, D.C., 56.9% of girls have received the full series of three shots, compared with just 20.1% in Tennessee.
The problem isn’t the cost of the HPV vaccine, as private insurers are required to cover it without co-pay and government programs are available to provide it free to children in low-income families, Anne Schuchat, MD, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told HealthDay. She feels the main roadblock to progress is that doctors are not making a strong enough recommendation to parents in favor of the HPV vaccine. The CDC is urging doctors to “recommend HPV vaccines in the same way and on the same day you recommend other routinely recommended teenage vaccinations,” Schuchat said. “A provider recommendation is really important, and parents are waiting for that on those doctor visits.”