US dropping the ball with GSK and Merck HPV vaccines

us cdc gsk merck hpv vaccine (dave hosford 2

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Thursday that just 53.8% of US girls aged 13 to 17 had received at least one dose of the Merck and GSK vaccines against human papilloma virus (HPV) – and a top CDC official has expressed a desire to change that.

“We’re dropping the ball,” said Tom Frieden, director of the CDC. “We’re missing opportunities to give HPV vaccines and that needs to change.”

The missed opportunities that Dr Frieden is talking about are where girls have attended an appointment for another immunization but didn't also receive the HPV vaccine.

"One of the top reasons is their doctor didn't recommend (it)," says Dr Frieden.  The institute noted that, among unvaccinated girls, 84% had missed the opportunity to get the jab during a health-care visit for another immunization. The CDC estimates that had the girls also received an HPV shot at the same time, the percentage of girls receiving at least one dose of the HPV vaccine could have reached 92.6%.

The CDC has a long-term goal in mind of an 80% three-dose vaccination rate, but the vaccination rate for adolescent girls who received the recommended three-dose series was 33.4% in 2012 – down from 34.8% a year before.

These low uptake rates come despite the effectiveness shown by the Gardasil and Cervarix vaccines. Last month a study by the CDC showed that the introduction of the HPV vaccine has halved the prevalence of HPV in teenage girls in the US – results which Dr Frieden said should be a "wake-up call" to the nation.

Read more at NBC News >

How do we make sure these opportunities aren't missed in the future? What do you think? You can leave a comment in the box below, or on LinkedIn group discussion. Want more from Vaccine Nation? Sign up to our newsletter for free here.

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