New Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Health of America data looked at Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates over a three-year period for the commercially insured population ages 10-13. HPV is a common sexually transmitted viral infection that can lead to many cancers.
The trends show that 55 percent are receiving their first dose, while only 29 percentage got the second dose. Two doses of the HPV vaccine are required for full immunity among this age group. In the Philadelphia region, these trends are slightly better, with nearly 57 percent receiving the first dose and 31 percent getting the second.
Nationally, the impact of COVID-19 on HPV vaccination rates was significant. Through October 2020, there has been a 13.5 percent drop in the number of HPV vaccines administered versus 2019.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women globally, while certain throat cancer diagnoses are rising at unprecedented rates among men and women. HPV is responsible for 70-90 percent of these cancers in the United States.
Two doses of the HPV vaccine are required for full immunity among this age group. While it is not required for school admission across the U.S. like many other vaccines, the HPV vaccine is easily accessible at annual wellness visits and is a critical step in fighting these preventable diseases.
According to a BCBSA survey on HPV vaccines, among parents whose children did not receive the vaccine:
- 29% were unsure about the HPV vaccine’s effectiveness
- 25% did not vaccinate their child because it was not required
- 22% had concerns about side effects.