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HPV vaccine demand dips in pandemic

September 30, 2021 | Tom Wilemon

Asignificant reduction in annual well visits and immunizations during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a vaccination gap among U.S. children and adolescents, especially with the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for cancer prevention.

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) is partnering with 71 other National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers and partner organizations to urge physicians, parents and young adults to get HPV vaccinations back on track.

“We actually have a vaccine that can prevent several types of cancer, but it has to be administered early in life to be effective,” said Debra Friedman, MD, MS, E. Bronson Ingram Chair in Pediatric Oncology, director of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology and associate director for Community Science and Health Outcomes at VICC.

“The vaccine is most effective when administered before people are ever exposed to HPV. Parents can give their children better odds against developing cancer in adulthood simply by making sure an HPV vaccine is on their checklist during well-child checkups or even sick visits to their primary care provider,” she said.

The Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention recently authorized the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12-15, allowing for missed doses of routinely recommended vaccines, including HPV, to be administered at the same time.