President’s Cancer Panel: Efforts Needed to Increase HPV Vaccination Rates

cover for the The President's Cancer Panel report: Accelerating HPV Vaccine Uptake: Urgency for Action to Prevent Cancer

The President's Cancer Panel has released a report calling for a coordinated effort to increase the rates of vaccinations against human papillomavirus (HPV). The report, Accelerating HPV Vaccine Uptake: Urgency for Action to Prevent Cancer, calls increasing the rate of HPV vaccinations one of the most profound opportunities in cancer prevention today.

The 2 HPV vaccines – Cervarix and Gardasil – both prevent the 2 types of HPV that cause 70% of all cervical cancers. Cervarix may also protect against some other HPV types, while Gardasil has also been shown to prevent some other cancer types and most genital warts. Despite this, only 33% of adolescent girls and less than 7% of boys in the US have completed the 3-dose series of either vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as cited in the report, names missed opportunities during health care visits as the most important reason for the low vaccination rates. The report says as many as two-thirds of 11- and 12-year-old girls eligible for the vaccines may not be receiving them at doctor visits in which they receive other vaccines. The report calls for health care providers to strongly recommend the vaccine during office visits.

Other recommendations from the report include:

  • communication efforts to reassure parents about the safety of the vaccines and help them see the benefits of vaccination for their children
  • an increase in the variety of providers and locations that give the vaccines
  • removing cost factors as a barrier

The report also calls for the US to continue to support global efforts to promote the HPV vaccines worldwide.

In addition, the report identified areas of research that could potentially lead to higher vaccination rates. Examples include an investigation of ways to reduce the 3-dose schedule, development of newer vaccinations that provide broader protection, and better ways to communicate about HPV vaccines.

The President’s Cancer Panel was established by the National Cancer Act of 1971. Its role is to monitor progress in the fight against cancer and make recommendations to the President of the United States.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Accelerating HPV Vaccine Uptake: Urgency for Action to Prevent Cancer. A Report to the President of the United States from the President’s Cancer Panel. Published February 10, 2014 by the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD.

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