THURSDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Parents and doctors can do more to protect girls from cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), say U.S. health officials who are concerned by lagging HPV vaccination rates among females.
Last year, significantly more U.S. teens were vaccinated against meningitis and whooping cough (pertussis) than in 2010, while increases for the HPV vaccine were far less significant, according to researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Almost all cases of cervical and anal cancer are caused by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus.
The proportion of teenage girls protected by all three HPV shots ranges from about 57 percent in Rhode Island to less than 16 percent in Arkansas, according to the report, published in the Aug. 31 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Coverage in the South is lower compared to the West and Northeast, the report noted.
"Stronger health-care provider recommendations for HPV vaccination, implementation of reminder/recall systems, elimination of missed opportunities for vaccination, and education of parents of adolescents regarding the risk for HPV infection and the benefits of vaccination are needed to protect adolescents from HPV-related cancers," Dr. Christina Dorell and her CDC colleagues wrote.
Using data from the National Immunization Survey-Teen to assess vaccination coverage among 13- to 17-year-olds, the researchers found that from 2010 to 2011, vaccination coverage for tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap) at age 10 or older jumped from about 69 percent to about 78 percent. The rate for meningitis coverage also rose during that time, from about 63 percent to 71 percent getting one or both recommended doses.
But the proportion of teenage girls getting one or more dose of HPV vaccine rose only from about 49
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