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HPV Vaccination Rates Among Teens Still Lagging: CDC

Doctors need to suggest it when recommending other vaccines for teens, researchers say

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Another barrier to getting the HPV vaccine is the cost. "It's very expensive," Wu said. "But the cost of treating cervical cancer and genital warts can also be very expensive."

According to the American Cancer Society, the vaccine can cost about $130 per dose. When doctor's fees are added, the three shots could cost $500 or more. The vaccine, however, is covered by most health insurance plans and government programs.

The MenACWY vaccine also is important, the researchers added. It protects against meningococcal disease. Although not common, 16- to 21-year-olds have the highest rates of the bacterial infection, according to the CDC.

Meningococcal bacteria can lead to severe diseases, including meningitis and sepsis, resulting in permanent disabilities such as amputations, brain damage, hearing loss and blindness. The disease can even be fatal.

According to the report, the Tdap vaccination rate for teens increased from 78.2 percent in 2011 to 84.6 percent in 2012, while the MenACWY vaccination rate increased from 70.5 percent in 2011 to 74 percent in 2012.

For boys, the HPV vaccination rate went from 8.3 percent in 2011 to 20.8 percent in 2012; the recommendation for vaccinating boys is new, so coverage is expected to be low at first.

At 53.8 percent, the HPV vaccination rate among girls in 2012 was the same as it was in 2011. Moreover, only one-third of those girls received all three doses of the vaccine, according to the report.

Vaccination rates also varied by state. The National Healthy People 2020 targets for teens were met or exceeded in 36 states for Tdap and in 12 states for meningococcal vaccination, but no state met the HPV vaccination target set for girls, the researchers said.

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