July 25, 2014 — The number of girls receiving the full dosage of the human papillomavirus vaccine increased by about four percentage points between 2012 and 2013, but the overall rate remains well short of CDC's 80% vaccination goal, according to new research from the agency, Reuters reports.
According to CDC, 79 million U.S. residents have HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection in the country, and there are 14 million new cases each year. The virus has been linked to cervical, vaginal, penile and anal cancers (Beasley, Reuters, 7/24).
For the survey, CDC researchers randomly interviewed parents of about 18,000 adolescents by phone. The teenagers' medical records were also examined. According to CDC's Anne Schuchat, many people declined to respond, and those who did could be considered "more likely to embrace HPV vaccinations," meaning HPV vaccination rates might be even lower than what CDC reported (AP/U-T San Diego, 7/24).
The report found that 37.6% of girls ages 13 to 17 received all three doses of the HPV vaccine in 2013, compared with 33.4% in 2012.
Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said, "It's frustrating to report almost the same HPV vaccination coverage levels among girls for another year."
Meanwhile, the percentage of boys who received all three doses more than doubled to 13.9% in 2013 from 6.8% in 2012 (Reuters, 7/24).
In addition, the survey found that 57.3% of girls ages 13 to 17 received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared with 53.8% in 2012. The percentage of boys who got at least one dose rose to 34.6% in 2013, compared with 20.8% in 2012 (Bankhead, MedPage Today, 7/24).
Still, the survey found that while CDC recommends that all girls and boys ages 11 and 12 receive the vaccine, doctors failed to recommend it to one-third of girls and more than 50% of boys (Reuters, 7/24).