HPV vaccination drives to prevent cervical cancers

July 22, 2017

In the United States, clinicians diagnose approximately 12,000 new cervical cancer cases each year, resulting in about 4,000 deaths, according to the CDC. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends routine use of either vaccine in a three-dose series for girls ages 11 or 12. The committee recommends the second dose two months after the initial dose, and the third three to six months after the first dose.

African-American, Hispanic and poor adolescent women were as likely, if not more likely than white adolescents and adolescents who are not in poverty, to complete the first dose. Help is readily available, since the federal vaccine program for low-income families, Vaccines for Children, covers the cost - more than $100 each - of all three doses, Niccolai said. Women might be more likely to receive a vaccination during their annual recommended, preventive visit, when they connect with health care services, she said.

???However, to complete the series requires knowledge, motivation and the belief that it??s important, even though the cost is covered,??? Niccolai said. Deterrents to vaccination completion at additional visits might include office visit co-payments, transportation issues or parents?? inability to take time off work. ???Something keeps them from returning two more times.???

???It doesn??t surprise me that this has been a recurring issue for years,??? said Lovell Jones, , director of the Dorothy I. Height Center for Health Equity and Evaluation Research at the University of Houston/University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. ???In terms of addressing health issues in minority and underserved populations, this is a multidisciplinary, multi-factorial problem.???

???I hear people say that ???If these women truly cared about themselves, they??d find a way to do it [the vaccinations]. Clearly, these women have not,??? Jones said. ???Why not approach this in a more holistic fashion, looking at the non-health issues, the reasons that prevent completion of a second and third vaccination, and develop solutions to those? The overall economic cost of vaccinations pales when compared to the cost of treating Stage 3 or 4 cervical cancers,??? Jones said.