Connecticut Department Of Public Health’s Comprehensive Cancer Control Program Calls On Parents and Guardians To Vaccinate Their Kids Against HPV
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Aug.16, 2022
CONTACT: Chris Boyle, Director of Communications
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HARTFORD, Conn.—The Connecticut Department of Public Health’s Comprehensive Cancer Control Program is calling on all parents and guardians to get children under their care from 11 years of age and older to be vaccinated against HPV.
“While there is no cure for infection with HPV, early vaccination against HPV can prevent over 90 percent of cancers caused by the virus, as well as precancers and abnormal cells that can lead to cancer,” said DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 13 million people (including teenagers) are infected with HPV every year, while more than 42 million Americans currently carry strains for the virus which can cause cancers later in life. Given that cancer usually takes years, even decades, to develop after a person gets HPV, it is impossible to know who will develop cancer or other health problems from HPV.
“Cancers caused by HPV are some of the most preventable. Administering the HPV vaccine to our children is one of the easiest ways to protect them against the negative physical, emotional, and psychological damage of dealing with a cancer diagnosis later in life,” said Jody Terranova, MD, president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Connecticut Chapter.
HPV in the United States
HPV is responsible for 21,100 new cancer cases in women and 14,800 cases in men each year in the United States.
“Ever since the introduction of HPV vaccines in the United States in 2006, HPV infections and cervical cancer have dropped to record lows,” said Commissioner Juthani. “In teenage girls and adult women, infections with HPV strains that are responsible for cancers and other HPV-related diseases have dropped by 88 and 81 percent, respectively.”
However, Commissioner Juthani added that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in reduced vaccination rates. Data from the 2019 National Immunization Survey–Teen showed that only 54% of US adolescents aged 13 to 17 were up to date with the HPV vaccine series. An analysis to estimate the impact of the pandemic on HPV vaccination found that vaccination rates were 75 percent lower during the pandemic compared with prior periods. To ensure these adolescents do not fall behind on this vaccine series, providers and researchers will need to recommit to existing strategies to promote vaccination.
Recommended Vaccinations for Pre-teens and Teens
The CDC recommends two doses of HPV vaccine at ages 11 – 12 years, while children who start the HPV vaccine series on or after their 15th birthday need three doses, given over six months.
With more than 130 million doses distributed in the United States, as well as 15 years of close monitoring and research, the HPV vaccine is safe and effective and remains the best line of defense against over 33,700 cancers by preventing the infections that cause them. Each HPV vaccine, including 9-valent HPV vaccine (Gardasil® 9), has passed through strict safety testing before receiving approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Anyone interested in learning more about HPV and the HPV vaccination, as well as the safety of the vaccine, can do so by visiting https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/ and https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/vaccinesafety.html. For more inquiries, please contact the Connecticut Department of Public Health Immunization Program at (860) 509-7929 or Connecticut Immunization Program or speak with your primary care provider.