Young Latinas Not Getting HPV Vaccine At Same Rate As Their Peers


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When it comes to vaccinating adolescent females against human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted disease known to be the main cause of cervical cancer, Connecticut boasts a slightly higher participation rate than the national average.
Photo: CT Health Investigative team
About 58 percent of females in the state received the initial HPV vaccine dose compared with roughly 54 percent nationally, according to the National Immunization Survey, based on data from 2012 for girls aged 13-17.
HPV vaccine is given in three shots and Connecticut has a completion rate of 44 percent, better than the national average of 33 percent, according to the survey.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that the number of girls receiving the HPV vaccine nationally lags behind other vaccination rates and has “not moved forward.’’
The state’s rate is “probably due to a combination of factors,” said Linda Niccolai, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health and director of the HPV-Impact Project at the Yale Emerging Infections Program. “Health insurance coverage and rates are pretty good in Connecticut, but it’s also possible that providers in Connecticut are more proactive in making sure their patients are vaccinated and parents are more aware of the need for the vaccination.”
The national data show that Hispanic females have the highest participation rate at 63 percent, followed by whites at 51 percent, and blacks at 50 percent.
But the national rate drops to 33 percent for completing shots two and three in the series.  About 35 percent of Hispanics and white females complete the shot series compared with 29 percent of black females.   Data for Connecticut is not available based on ethnicity.
The CDC recommends that the vaccine be given in three shots over a six-month window for girls ages 11 and 12, and for young women ages 13-26, who have not been vaccinated or completed the vaccine series.   The vaccine is also recommended for boys, but the national participation rate is 21 percent.
Shannon Stokley, a researcher with CDC’s Division of Immunization Services, said the six-month recommendation was created because it’s uncertain when teens will start engaging in sexual activity, so delaying completion can be risky. Ideally, females should

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