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HPV Communication

October 27, 2015

Are physicians doing enough to promote the HPV vaccine among adolescents?

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Communicating about HPV. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The newest version of the HPV vaccine could prevent up to 90% of human papilloma virus infections that can lead to life-threatening cervical cancer. But a new study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention suggests that only a small fraction of health care providers are conveying to families the importance of vaccinating all pre-teens in a timely fashion. Harvard Medical School researcher Melissa Gilkey led the study.

MELISSA GILKEY (Harvard Medical School/Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute):

Receiving a health care provider’s recommendation for HPV vaccination  is the strongest, most consistent predictor for whether or not adolescents go on to get the vaccine.

HIRSHON:

But she says only 40% of girls and 22% of boys have been fully vaccinated for HPV in the U.S. by age 17.

GILKEY:

We wonder if providers may be overestimating the concerns parents have over HPV vaccines.

HIRSHON:

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.