CDC updates HPV vaccine recommendation; Utah remains among least-vaccinated states


SALT LAKE CITY — Many parents will be happy to know the new CDC recommendation for the vaccine against the HPV, Human Papillomavirus.

Instead of three shots spread out over six-months to a year, there are only two shots required now.

The CDC recently updated its guidelines, which are supported by the The University of Utah, Huntsman Cancer Institute and the National Cancer Institute.

“In Utah, we have a lot of room for improvement,” said Deanna Kepka, an investigator at Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Kepka said Utah needs to take vaccinating children 11 to 12-years-old more seriously. (Scroll down for HPV vaccination rates in Utah.)

“Utah is unique because we have one of the lowest HPV vaccination rates in the U.S. This is often due to lack of strong recommendations from providers and parents not understanding that this vaccine protects against several types of cancer," Kepka said.

HPV can lead to multiple types of cancer, including cancers that form in the neck, throat, genital and anal regions of the body.  HPV can also lead to genital warts and cervical cancer.

“We see 23,000 cancers each year related to the cervix," Kepka said.

Kepka said some Utah physicians disagree with getting the vaccine, saying receiving the vaccine encourages children to be sexually active.

“That’s been refuted in studies. There is no increased number of sexually transmitted infections for kids who have had the vaccine than those who haven't," Kepka said.

Utah specific HPV vaccination rates – 2015 (according to the Huntsman Cancer Institute)

  • 1st dose vaccination, girls: 47.8% vaccinated (compared to 62.9% nationally)- Utah is ranked 49th
  • 1st dose vaccination, boys: 40.9% vaccinated (compared to 50% nationally)- Utah is ranked 41th
  • 3 dose vaccination, girls: 24.6% vaccinated (compared to 41.9% nationally)- Utah is ranked 49th
  • 3 dose vaccination, boys: 19.9% vaccinated (compared to 28.1% nationally)- Utah is ranked 43rd

For more details on the vaccine go to:

www.huntsmancancer.org