HPV vaccinations in the US have doubled over five years, but only a quarter got the recommended dose
HPV is a group of more than 200 related viruses and sexually transmitted infections that can lead to certain cancers, including cervical cancer
The percentage of American adults, between 18−26 years of age getting vaccinated against the Human papillomavirus virus (HPV) has nearly doubled in the last five years, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).
However, the report also finds that the number of American adults getting the recommended dose of the vaccine -- which is two shots -- is far lower than those who receive at least a shot of the vaccine.
HPV is a group of more than 200 related viruses that can lead to a certain type of cancer later in life, including cervical cancer. More than nine of every ten cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV. Nearly 11,000 cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV and over 4,000 women die from the disease.
Cervical cancer can be largely prevented by the HPV vaccine. These vaccines were recommended for girls and boys in 2006 and 2011. The licensed ones -- Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cervarix -- prevent infection with HPV types 16 and 18, two high-risk HPVs that cause about 70% of cervical cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Cervical cancer was once the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the US. However, the disease has now become the most preventable cancer due to consistent HPV vaccine and cervical cancer screening. Doctors recommend two doses for children aged between 11 and 12 --the second dose should be given six to 12 months after the first dose -- and three doses for children starting at or after the age of 15.
There has been a spike in the number of people getting the vaccination, with nearly 40% of them receiving one or more doses of vaccine in 2018, as opposed to only 22% of adults getting vaccinated in 2013. Of these adults, a majority got their first dose between the ages of 13 and 17, says the report. And women were more likely than men to have received their first dose of HPV vaccine at or before the recommended age of 12.
Though this is encouraging, only 21.5% adults received the recommended dose in 2018 but this has increased from 13.8% in 2013. Among these adults, women were more likely to get the recommended HPV shots than men.
Furthermore, the report stated that vaccination rates vary between races. In 2018, non-Hispanic white adults were more likely than Hispanic adults to have ever received one or more doses of HPV vaccine.