The HPV vaccine has the potential to reduce the incidence of both cervical cancer and genital warts as well as oral and other cancers in both young men and women. So why aren’t more parents getting it for their teens? It’s a good question, and one for which there isn’t yet a clear answer, although there are certainly many hypotheses.
Doctors who don’t recommend the vaccine are a huge part of the problem. In addition, there are parents who are worried it might encourage their kids to have sex (it won’t) or who have unjustified fears about vaccine safety. However, even if we don’t know why there’s a problem with vaccine uptake, it’s clear that such a problem does exist. A study recently released by the CDC found that only 57 percent of teen girls and 35 percent of teen boys received at least one dose of the vaccine in 2013. We’re nowhere near the Healthy People 2020 goal of having 80 percent of teens vaccinated by the end of the decade.