The reasons are likely numerous, but only 27.3 percent of eligible teenage girls and young women chose to begin the three-dose series of an HPV vaccine. And of these, 39.1 percent completed just one dose, 30.1 percent got two doses and 30.7 percent finished the series, according to research being presented this week at the American Association of Cancer Research annual meeting.
The data comes from a review of medical records of 9,658 girls and women between the ages of 9 and 26 who were seen at the University of Maryland Medical Center between August 2006 and August 2010, HealthDay writes. The abstract also revealed that blacks were less likely than whites to get all three doses, and women aged 18 through 26 were less likely than younger girls to complete the series.
Last summer, a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey of more than 20,000 teens between the ages of 13 and 17 found that vaccination rates were creeping up (back story). About 30 percent of sexually active teenagers between 14 and 19 years old are believed to be infected with HPV at any one time, according to the abstract.
Public health officials strongely endorsed Merck's Gardasil and GlaxoSmithKline’s Cervarix as safe and important public health tools in prevening HPV, which can lead to cervical cancer. But the vaccines have generated controversy, in part, because Merck lobbied states surreptiously for mandatory vaccination; the price tag is high; some parents remain skittsh the vaccines confer a green light for teenage sex and side effect concerns continue to garner publicity. Recently, a parents group asked the FDA to rescind approval (look here).
J. Kathleen Tracy, an assistant professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, who authored the study, is now examining whether text messages can provide effective reminders to prompt women who 18 to 26 years old to keep follow-up appointments for subsequent doses.