CDC: More Adolescents Receiving HPV Vaccination, But Improvement Needed

AUGUST 29, 2018
Kristen Coppock, MA, Editor
More adolescents are starting and completing the human papillomavirus (HPV) series of immunizations. Despite this increase in immunizations, some forms of cancers caused by HPV are rising. 

According to CDC officials, who recommend the series, the number of adolescents who are up to date on HPV vaccination increased 5 percentage points from 2016 to 2017. Analyzed data from cancer registries covering 97.8% of the United States population, during 1999-2015, indicated cervical cancer rates decreased 1.6% per year

In a prepared statement, CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, said the HPV vaccine is the best way to protect young people from developing cancers caused by the virus. “Vaccination is the key to cervical cancer elimination,” said Redfield, in the statement. “I’m pleased to see parents are taking advantage of this crucial public health tool and thank the clinicians who are working to ensure all children are protected from these cancers in the future.”

A new report shows that 51% of adolescents have not completed the HPV vaccine series, according to the CDC. Although HPV vaccination rates are increasing overall, the agency has indicated there is room for improvement.

HPV is the most commonly sexually transmitted infection in the United States, according to the CDC. In addition to cervical cancer, HPV causes some types of oropharyngeal, vulvar, vaginal, penile, and anal cancers.

Oropharyngeal cancer is the nation’s most common HPV-associated cancer, the CDC analysis indicated. In 2015, 15,479 cases of oropharyngeal cancer among ment and 3,438 cases among women were reported. According to the analysis, oropharyngeal cancer rates increased among men (2.7%) and women (0.8%) each year during the study period.

Also seeing annual increases were the rates of anal cancer among men (2.1%) and women (2.9%); and vulvar cancer (1.3%). Penile cancer rates remained stable, while vaginal cancer rates decreased 0.6% per year, from 1999 to 2015. In addition, studies have reported reductions in cervical HPV infection, genital warts, and cervical precancers, according to the CDC. 

Analysis of data estimate that HPV causes 79% of these cancers every year. Overall, a total of 30,115 new cases of HPV-associated cancers were reported in 1999 and 43,371 in 2015. 

National survey results recently published in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) indicate nearly 66% of adolescents aged 13-17 years received the first dose to start the HPV vaccine series, and nearly 49% percent of adolescents received all the recommended doses to complete the series in 2017.

In addition, fewer adolescents in rural areas, compared with youth in urban areas, are receiving the HPV vaccine. The number of adolescents who received the first dose of the HPV vaccine was 11 percentage points lower in rural areas compared to urban areas, according to the report.

“While we understand it can be a challenge for some clinicians in rural areas to stock all recommended vaccines, these clinicians can still play a critical role in their patients’ health and protect them from serious diseases by referring them to other vaccine providers,” said Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, in a prepared statement.

In addition to the HPV vaccine series, the CDC recommends an annual influenza vaccine for all preteen girls and boys. The meningococcal conjugate vaccine, for protection against meningitis; and a Tdap booster to protect against whooping cough also are recommended for the same demographic.

According to the CDC, many adolescents also are not up to date on the meningococcal conjugate vaccine with 56% of people aged 13 to 17 years in the United States having no received both recommended doses. The number of adolescents receiving the first dose of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine was 7 percentage points lower in rural areas compared to urban areas.

Pharmacists interested in becoming an HPV vaccine advocate can do so here! Visit this page, watch a video and answer all 10 questions correctly, and you can print a certificate recognizing your role as an HPV vaccine advocate. 

Reference

Trends in Human Papillomavirus–Associated Cancers — United States, 1999–2015. MMWR. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6733a2.htm?s_cid=mm6733a2_w. Published August 24, 2018. Accessed August 27, 2018.


 

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