MONDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Although the number of teens getting three new recommended vaccines is growing, there's still room for improvement, government researchers report.
The three vaccines were added to the recommended list of vaccines in 2005 through 2007. They include the TdaP vaccine, which shields against tetanus, diptheria and whooping cough (pertussis); the meningitis vaccine (MenACWY) and the human papillomavirus (HPV) shot for girls, which prevents about 70 percent of cervical cancers and vaginal warts.
Overall, the proportion of 13- to 17-year-olds who were up-to-date on these three shots rose from 10 percent in 2006 to almost 42 percent by 2009, the team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.
"On the good side, vaccination coverage is increasing," said lead researcher Shannon Stokley, from the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
"But, unfortunately coverage for HPV is starting to level off," she said. "We are not seeing as big an increase in coverage as we see with the other vaccines."
Stokley said one reason HPV vaccine is lagging is that many doctors don't strongly recommend the HPV vaccine for girls aged 11 and 12, and they often tell parents that it's OK to wait, she said.
However, HPV is transmitted via sexual contact and, "we feel it's really important to get the vaccine as early as you can, to make sure girls are protected at the time they may become sexually active," Stokley said. "The point of vaccination is to protect yourself before you are at risk."
Recently, a CDC panel recommended the HPV vaccine for boys. "We are hoping there will be strong uptake for boys," she said. Vaccinating boys helps stop the virus from spreading to girls and also shields boys from throat and anal malignancies.
Often parents aren't aware that teens need vaccines, Stokley
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