Voices for Vaccination

Ohio State joins national call for HPV vaccination of children to prevent cancer

Electra PaskettRecognizing a need to improve national vaccination rates for the human papillomavirus (HPV), the OSUCCC – James has again united with the 69 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers to issue a joint statement supporting recently revised recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to the CDC, incidence rates of HPV-associated cancers continue to rise; approximately 39,000 HPV-associated cancers are diagnosed each year in the United States. Although HPV vaccines provide close to 100 percent protection against cervical cancer and genital warts, and may help prevent oropharyngeal and genital cancers, vaccination rates remain low across the country.

The new CDC guidelines recommend that children under age 15 should receive two doses of the 9-valent HPV vaccine at least six months apart, and that adolescents and young adults older than 14 should continue to complete the three-dose series.

Key barriers to improved vaccination rates include a lack of strong recommendations from physicians, and parents not understanding that this vaccine protects against several types of cancer.

“Parents rely heavily on the recommendations of their child’s healthcare provider for appropriate vaccination, and the medical community simply isn’t consistently recommending the HPV vaccine like they do other public health prevention vaccines,” says Electra Paskett, PhD, MSPH, associate director for population sciences at the OSUCCC – James, where she also leads the Cancer Control Program.

“This is the No. 1 barrier to HPV vaccination, and it must change to reduce the burden of HPV-associated cancers in our community,” she adds.

To overcome these barriers, NCI-designated cancer centers have organized a continuing series of national summits to share new research, discuss best practices and identify collective action toward improving vaccination rates.

The original joint statement, published in January 2016, was the major recommendation from a summit hosted at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in November 2015.

Published in the journal Cancer Research.

To refer a patient, please call The James Line New-Patient Referral Center toll free: 1-800-293-5066.

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