Most isle teens not getting HPV shots, study shows
The majority of Hawaii teens are still not getting vaccinated against the controversial human papillomavirus, or HPV, a cancer-causing sexually transmitted virus, a new University of Hawaii study shows.
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The majority of Hawaii teens are still not getting vaccinated against the
controversial human papillomavirus, or HPV, a cancer-causing sexually transmitted virus, a new University of Hawaii study shows.
That’s primarily because “parents don’t know enough about the vaccine and doctors aren’t recommending the shots,” according to the report by the UH Office of Public Health Studies, which surveyed 800 parents of children between ages 11 and
18 over the phone.
The study, which focused on Native Hawaiians, Filipinos, Japanese and Caucasians, found that only
35 percent of girls and
19 percent of boys had received the three recommended shots of the vaccine.
“Parental reticence in vaccinating their children was especially prevalent among Filipinos and Native Hawaiians,” May Rose Dela Cruz, an assistant researcher and co-author of the study, said. Japanese parents were the most likely to vaccinate their children, with pediatricians promoting and educating parents being the most critical factor to increase vaccination rates, the study said.
Part of the hesitance is concern among parents
that the HPV vaccine
could increase promiscuity among children.
“There is a critical need in Hawaii for better public education about the HPV vaccine,” Dela Cruz said. “A doctor’s strong recommendation for the HPV vaccine is crucial and doctors should recommend the vaccine equally to both females and males at the ages of
11 and 12.”
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection known to cause cancers in the cervix, penis, anus, mouth and throat. The
vaccine can prevent most of those cancers, UH said.
In June the UH Cancer Center and 69 other National Cancer Institute facilities
began urging providers to help increase HPV vaccinations, following a statewide survey of primary care
doctors who identified attitudes and perceptions and the absence of school-based requirements among the
barriers to getting higher vaccination rates.
“These institutions collectively recognize insufficient vaccination as a public health threat and call upon physicians nationwide, parents and young adults to take advantage of this rare opportunity to eliminate several different types of cancer in men and women,” the Cancer Center said.
HPV infects nearly 80 million Americans — 1 out of every 4 people — with more than 41,000 projected to be diagnosed with an HPV-related cancer each year.