Teen Vaccinations Were up, but HPV Vaccination Still Lagged

HPV vaccination rate was low but rates of other recommended vaccines increased

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Opting for a vaccine that could possibly prevent cancer may seem simple on paper, but families across the nation have been slow to adopt one such vaccine.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined vaccination rates among US teens between 2012 and 2013.

The report found that, although coverage for many recommended vaccines — including the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine — increased slightly, overall HPV vaccination rates still remained low.

"Learn the risks and benefits of different vaccinations."

The new report was conducted by Laurie D. Elam-Evans, PhD, of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, and colleagues. It focused on changes in US vaccination coverage between 2012 and 2013.

To explore these changes, the researchers used data from the 2013 teen National Immunization Survey, a survey of 18,264 youth between the ages of 13 and 17 across the US. The survey involved phone interviews with the teens' guardians and vaccination verification with doctors.

Dr. Elam-Evans and team found that vaccination coverage for all routinely recommended vaccines increased among this age group. The proportion of teens who had received at least one dose of pertussis (Tdap) vaccine increased from 84.6 to 86 percent. The percentage of those who had received at least one dose of meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY) vaccine increased from 74 to 77.8 percent.

The percentage of teens who received the HPV vaccine also increased, but coverage rates for this vaccine still remained low. HPV is a common sexually transmitted disease that can cause cervical and other cancers.

From 2012 to 2013, the rate of female adolescents who had received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine increased from 53.8 to 57.3 percent. Among males, the rate increased from 20.8 to 34.6 percent, the researchers reported.

The recommended dosage of HPV vaccine is three doses. Dr. Elam-Evans and team noted that national goals for the year 2020 are for 80 percent of teenage girls between the ages of 13 and 15 to have received three doses of the HPV vaccine. Based on this latest data, only 32.7 percent of these females had met this goal in 2013.

In a news release, the CDC highlighted the serious nature of these findings.

"CDC estimates that if missed opportunities to vaccinate adolescent girls before their thirteenth birthdays were eliminated, 91 percent of adolescent girls would have some protection from cancers caused by HPV infection," according to the press release.

Since the findings were based on data from phone surveys, the data did not include households without a phone, which could have affected the outcome, the study authors noted.

The CDC published the report online July 25 in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The researchers reported no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
July 25, 2014
Last Updated:
July 25, 2014