Improvements Needed in HPV Vaccinations Among Adolescents


Human papillomavirus vaccine rates are on the rise among US teens but more work is needed.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine rates are on the rise among US teens but more work is needed to get more teens vaccinated, according to a recently-published Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.1

The researchers used the annual National Immunization Survey-Teen report, which indicated that 60% of teens aged 13 to 17 years old received 1 or more doses of the HPV vaccine in 2016. That figure represents an increase of 4 percentage points from the previous year.

Another key finding indicated that HPV vaccination rate gap between boys and girls has been narrowing, with the vaccine becoming more common among boys than before. According to the report, about 65% of girls received the first dose of HPV vaccine compared to 56% of boys who received the first dose. Coverage among boys increased by 6 percentage points from 2015. For girls, rates were similar to 2015.

Although HPV vaccination coverage has shown progress, the researchers noted that there are still areas for improvement. The report indicates that, although most adolescents have received the first dose of the HPV vaccine, only 43% are up-to-date on all the recommended doses. The researchers also determined that vaccination rates were lowest in rural and less urban areas, compared to more urban areas.

“I’m pleased with the progress, but too many teens are not receiving the HPV vaccine, which leaves them vulnerable to cancers caused by HPV infection,” CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, said in a press release.2 “We need to do more to increase the vaccination rate and protect American youth today from future cancers tomorrow.”

Overall, the researchers concluded that health care providers can help increase vaccine coverage by continuing to consistently recommend immunizations for vaccine-preventable diseases.


  • Walker TY, Elam-Evans LD, Singleton JA, et al. National, regional, state, and selected local area vaccination coverage among adolescents aged 13-17 years — United States, 2016. MMWR. 2017. 66(33);874-882.
  • Most US teens are getting cancer-preventing vaccine [news release]. CDC’s website. Accessed August 30, 2017.

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