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The Source: HPV Vaccination Rates Remain Low In U.S.

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A new study in the journal Pediatrics is showing that doctors don't push on HPV vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control pegs the rate of vaccination among 13-15 year olds as 34 percent among girls and 20 percent among boys.

The vaccine protects young people from the human papillomavirus which can lead to cancer of the cervix and throat. Cervical cancer kills more than 4,000 women each year in the U.S. according to the American Cancer Society.

The idea that a vaccine wouldn't be ardently pushed by a doctor might seem unusual until you consider the controversy that erupted in 2007. In that year states - lead by Texas - started mandating preteen girls be vaccinated. Gov. Rick Perry surprised many in the GOP by signing an executive order to get girls 11 and 12 years old protected, but the Texas Senate would later vote to block that order.

The backlash in Texas was replicated in other states where officials tried to mandate the vaccination protocol. Social conservatives across the country argued that the protocol would lead to increased sexual behavior in teen girls. Research since then has not born out those effects. 

In a 2008 survey from the Texas Medical Association, doctors who responded named parents as the number one barrier to administering the vaccine to teen women.

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According to the CDC, Bexar county is 10 percent lower than the national average among girls 13-15 years of age and five percent lower among boys of the same age. 

Guest:

  • Dr. Lois Ramondetta, professor of gynecology and reproductive medicine at the MD Anderson Cancer Center

Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive