New data gleaned from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Health of America Report finds that more girls are being vaccinated against human papillomavirus, or HPV, but the HPV rate is still far behind those of other childhood vaccines.
From 2010 to 2016, say researchers, first-dose vaccination rates rose 55%. But that rate still lags far behind other adolescent vaccines, like the meningococcal vaccine at 72% and the Tdap vaccine, which more than 80% of American kids get.
Why Do Parents Deny Kids The HPV Vaccine?
The most common reason parents gave for denying their kids the HPV vaccine was a fear of adverse events. (While all vaccines come with some documented risks, a 2014 study found side effects for the most common HPV vaccine equal to that of a saline placebo. The rate of serious side effects, which included life-threatening allergic reactions to the vaccine, was less than 0.1%)
Around 12% of parents cited a lack of information while, perhaps surprisingly, only 24% refused to believe that their child was at risk for HPV in the first place. (In truth, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease, both in the U.S. and worldwide, and one of the most common viruses, period.)
Current Recommendations For HPV Vaccines
Currently, HPV vaccines are recommended for girls and boys as young as 9 years of age. The protection against genital warts and cervical precancers is thought to be lifelong and virtually 100% effective against the most common strains of the virus.