(HealthDay News) – Too few American girls and boys are getting vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV), the President’s Cancer Panel reported Monday.
Currently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that girls aged 11 and 12 receive either the Cervarix or Gardasil vaccines, and Gardasil is recommended for boys of similar age. In 2012, only 1/3 of girls aged 13–17 got all three recommended doses of HPV vaccine, CDC data show. Less than 7% of males aged 13–17 completed the recommended HPV vaccination series in 2012. The vaccine was recommended for boys more recently.
Boosting HPV vaccination rates to 80% would prevent 53,000 future cervical cancer cases among girls who are currently aged 12 or younger, according to the CDC. The agency also estimates that increased vaccination would prevent thousands of cases of other HPV-associated cancers in both females and males, the report added.
“Today, there are two safe, effective, approved vaccines that prevent infection by the two most prevalent cancer-causing types, yet vaccination rates are far too low,” Barbara Rimer, chair of the President’s Cancer Panel, said in a panel news release. “We are confident that if HPV vaccination for girls and boys is made a public health priority, hundreds of thousands will be protected from these HPV-associated diseases and cancers over their lifetimes,” she added.