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One-third of young girls get HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer
Date:6/1/2010

the HPV vaccine, but higher poverty rates in the individual counties within those states and lower family income levels actually made it more likely a girl would be vaccinated. Pruitt says those seemingly contradictory findings may be explained in part by the way in which funding for vaccines is allocated.

"For the neediest children, the United States has a publicly funded vaccination system, but each state sets its own guidelines for who is eligible to receive free vaccines," she says. "Individual states set different guidelines for providing vaccines to those with no insurance versus those who may be underinsured. So girls from poorer counties may be more likely to qualify for a free vaccine, whereas those states with more poverty may not have adequate funding to provide it or may be less likely to fill in gaps for those who may not have enough private insurance coverage to pay for it."

Pruitt says it's important that poorer, less-educated African-American and Hispanic girls and women have access to the HPV vaccine because women from those groups have higher rates of cervical cancer. This study found women from those racial and ethnic backgrounds are just as likely as white girls to receive the initial dose of the vaccine.

"We didn't find a racial disparity in terms of vaccination," she says. "That's very important because the highest burden of cervical cancer is among women of color, especially Hispanic women and those who live along the U.S.-Mexico border. There's a huge epidemic of cervical cancer among those women, so the fact that we didn't find racial and ethnic disparities is a good thing."

Last year, an estimated 11,000 cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed in the United States, and more than 4,000 of those women will eventually die from the disease.

Girls whose parents had more education also were more likely to get the vaccine, but surprisingly, rates of vaccination declined slightly as family income levels
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Contact: Jim Dryden
314-286-0110
Washington University in St. Louis
Source:Eurekalert

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