Dana-Farber Joins Coalition Calling for Better HPV Vaccination Rates

Top cancer centers nationwide released a statement encouraging vaccination.

The HPV vaccine has had a tough go of it. Since it was introduced in 2006, it has been the source of near-constant criticism and complaints of adverse reactions. As a result, only about 40 percent of girls and 20 percent of boys end up having the full course of treatment.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is one of almost 70 cancer centers nationwide speaking out against those dismally low rates. On Wednesday, the institutions released a joint statement calling for parents, doctors, and young adults to recognize the benefits of vaccination—including prevention of cervical, anal, throat, and genital cancers—and the risks of forgoing it.

“We, a group of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)- designated Cancer Centers, recognize these low rates of HPV vaccination as a serious public health threat,” they wrote in the statement. “HPV vaccination represents a rare opportunity to prevent many cases of cancer that is tragically underused.”

Specifically, they’re asking for parents to ensure that children have the shots before they turn 13, or as soon as possible thereafter; for men under 21 and women under 26 to self-elect to have the treatment; and for healthcare providers to strongly suggest that patients get vaccinated.

The overall goal, they write, is to reach 80 percent vaccination by the end of the decade.