Although human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates have steadily increased in recent years, more work is needed in this area to effectively reduce HPV-associated cancer, according to a new report release by the President’s Cancer Panel (PCP).1

The report, “HPV Vaccination for Cancer Prevention: Progress, Opportunities and a Renewed Call to Action,” found that although the percentage of adolescents who started the HPV vaccine series increased by an average of 5% each year between 2013 and 2017, less than half of all teens in the United States were fully vaccinated by 2017, well below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 80%

“We have a safe, effective vaccine that protects against a cancer-causing virus, and we applaud the efforts of cancer and immunization leaders joining forces and rising to the challenge of accelerating HPV vaccine uptake,” said PCP chair Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, in a statement. “Yet, the fact remains that this vaccine continues to be seriously underutilized. We are still missing opportunities to prevent cancer and save lives.”
HPV Education: Focus on Cancer

The panel's findings echoes those of a CDC report published earlier this year, which similarly concluded that recent growths in HPV vaccination rates were not enough to adequately combat cancer.

The report emphasized that that efforts to improve HPV vaccination rates must be increased both nationally and globally, noting that changes at the provider and system levels were particularly important. Specifically, the PCP highlighted 4 goals initially identified in the panel’s 2012-2013 recommendations:
  • Reduce missed clinical opportunities to recommend and administer the HPV vaccine
  • Increase parents’ acceptance of HPV vaccination
  • Maximize access to HPV vaccination services
  • Promote global HPV vaccine uptake
“It’s time to redouble our efforts to increase HPV vaccine uptake,” stated Noel Brewer, PhD, who served as special adviser to Dr. Rimer on the report. “Providers should make clear and strong recommendations for the vaccine. Clinics and systems should make immediate improvements, such as having standing orders that allow nurses to give the vaccine, and parents who have questions should talk to their pediatrician or other primary care provider.”

The complete report is available at
HPV Vaccination in Young Adults: Are We Doing Enough?
Dialogue and Education: Engaging Young Adults on the HPV Vaccine

  1. Federal Cancer Panel reports HPV vaccination rates remain too low to achieve full potential for cancer prevention. University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health website. Published November 1, 2018. Accessed November 2, 2018.