Public Health Groups Push To Improve HPV Vaccination Rates

It’s been nearly two decades since the HPV vaccine was developed to fight the cancer-causing human papilloma virus. The vaccine is recommended for teens, but many parents are still hesitant to have their children get it.

“Unfortunately, this vaccine, when it first came out, was identified with a sexually transmitted infection, so it carries [a stigma] with it,” said Dr. Alix Casler, chairman of the Department of Pediatrics for Orlando Health Physician Associates. “And at the same time, there was skepticism about the quality of the vaccine. So the combination was a perfect storm to make people suspicious of the vaccine.”Sponsored: Gambar Koala

Since then studies involving thousands of people have shown that the vaccine is safe, effective and long-lasting. If given before a person is exposed to the virus, the vaccine can prevent about 90 percent of HPV-related cancers. Australia, where the vaccine is given for free in schools, could be the first nation to eradicate cervical cancer.

Casler is an ardent advocate for vaccination and five years ago, after looking at the numbers in her own practice — they were not stellar — she set out to increase the rate of HPV vaccination.

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