HPV Vaccine Received By NC Girls
Special Report - September 24, 2009
An estimated 34.4 percent of 13 to 17 year-old girls in North Carolina received the first dose of the recommended three-dose Gardasil vaccine for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in 2008, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report, which was published in the September 18 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), provides estimates of national, state and local vaccination information for adolescent boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 17 in 2008, including information on the HPV4 vaccine, which is marketed under the name of Gardasil. The FDA approved the Gardasil vaccine for females ages nine to 26 in June 2006. It protects against cervical, vulvar, and vaginal cancers and genital warts caused by four of the more than 100 different strains of HPV, which is the most common STD in the U.S. and is the leading cause of cervical cancer worldwide. HPV is transmitted almost exclusively through sexual activity, including skin-to-skin contact. The three-dose vaccination has been recommended for all girls ages 11 and 12, and for women through age 26 who did not receive any or all of the three doses.
Nationwide, the CDC estimates that 37.2 percent of teen girls (ages 13 to 17) initiated the HPV vaccine (or received the first dose) in 2008, while 17.9 percent of girls in this age group received all three doses. This represents a 12.1 percent increase from the estimated 25.1 percent of 13 to17 year-old girls who started the HPV vaccine in 2007.
As we previously reported, the CDC and FDA released a joint statement in August, reiterating the government’s belief that the HPV4 vaccine is “safe and effective and its benefits continue to outweigh its risks.” The study, published in the August 19th edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found adverse events including fainting, blood clotting, headache, nausea, and fever among vaccine recipients. However, the study also found that the rates for such events were not higher than expected once contributing “factors such as hormonal birth control, smoking, and obesity” are taken into account.
The North Carolina General Assembly recently amended the state’s sex education curriculum requirements for 7th to 9th graders, beginning in the 2010-11 school year, to “include information about the effects of contracting the Human Papilloma Virus, including sterility and cervical cancer.” In addition, sex education instruction must also include information on the “effectiveness and safety of all FDA-approved prevention methods” for reducing the risk of STDs and pregnancy, including the HPV vaccine.
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