Teens skipping HPV vaccine
Most American teenagers aren’t getting the HPV vaccine, even though it can protect them from several forms of cancer, reports NPR.org. Human papillomavirus is a group of more than 150 related viruses, some of which can persist in the body and cause cancers of the cervix, vagina, penis, anus, or throat. In order to protect against these diseases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all children receive at least two doses of the HPV vaccine between the ages of 11 and 13. But a seven-year Blue Cross Blue Shield Association analysis of medical claims from more than 1.3 million teens found that only 34 percent of adolescents had received their first dose of the vaccine by their 13th birthday. Further research found that most parents avoid the vaccine because of concerns about side effects, while some believe their preteens are too young to worry about a sexually transmitted virus. The CDC urged parents to have their children inoculated with the vaccine, emphasizing that it triggers a more effective immune response when received at an early age.