Early evidence Shows HPV vaccine is working
Cook Children's pediatrician examines new report on human papillomavirus
New data from the CDC shows some important early returns on the HPV vaccine that has been routinely recommended for girls since 2006 and for boys since 2009.
In a study that was released early online from the journal Pediatrics, researchers looked at the percentage of girls aged 14-19 years were infected with the types of human papillomavirus (HPV) contained in the HPV vaccine in the years 2003-2006 and compared that to the percentage of 14-19 year old girls infected with the types of human papillomavirus (HPV) contained in the HPV vaccine in the years 2009-2012.
They found that the rate of infection in the years prior to routine vaccination in this group of girls was 11.5 percent. That percentage dropped to 4.3 percent in the years following routine recommendation of a vaccine. This is a rather remarkable finding given the relatively small numbers of girls who had received the full 3-dose series of the HPV vaccine.
It further illustrates how well this vaccine protects against such an important infection that can cause cancer in later years. This evidence of early success will likely lead to even more important measures of success with decreased numbers of women having abnormal pap smears that indicate cervical dysplasia and ultimately decreased numbers of cancers.
Imagine how much better it will be when we improve the numbers of teens getting this important vaccine!
Jason V. Terk, M.D.
Jason Terk, M.D., earned his medical degree from University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. He completed his residency in pediatrics at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine (Mayo Clinic) in Rochester, Minnesota. His interests include public policy advocacy for children's health issues, focusing primarily on vaccines. Dr. Terk is board-certified in pediatrics.