Even though the HPV vaccine is said to be extremely effective, almost 40% of young women who start the three-dose inoculation program never complete the series, according to results published in the journal Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics (HV&I).
The study found that minority backgrounds, low income, and low education were associated with non-completion. Why? A team of researchers, led by Dr. Abbey Berenson from the University of Texas Medical Branch, studied the possible reasons using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a cross-sectional telephone health survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Based on data from 2008-2010, about 25% of the 2,700 respondents, who ranged in age from 18-26, initiated HPV vaccination. While being poor, less-educated and non-white were strong negative influences, a predictor for higher vaccine series completion was whether the woman had had a routine medical check-up during the previous year.
HPV vaccine is said to be a highly effective vaccines, and one of only two vaccines (along with hepatitis B) that have been shown to prevent an infection that can result in cancer, as well as morbidity and mortality. HPV vaccines Cervarix (types 16 and 18) and Gardasil (types 6, 11, 16 and 18) are recommended for girls 11-12 years of age and may be given from age 9-26. Some evidence says they are effective in protecting against precancerous lesions and genital warts and are even effective for men.
The hope is that knowing why the vaccine series is not being completed will help health authorities address the issues and increase the rate of completed vaccinations. And this study’s findings may have applicability for many other preventive health measures.
But the evidence is not universally favorable for the efficacy and safety of HPV vaccinations. So do your own research before deciding.
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