Vaccine rates are on the rise for adolescents

    More young people are getting the teen-specific vaccines that national health officials recommend, according to a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    More young people are getting the teen-specific vaccines that national health officials recommend, according to a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Experts say more parents of adolescents are protecting their children from serious diseases such as meningitis and whooping cough. But only about 27 percent of girls get all three doses of the vaccine against human papillomavirus, which can lead to cervical cancer.

    Vaccine rates for HPV are on the rise, but the infectious disease chief at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Paul Offit, says too many girls are not protected.

    Offit: I don’t understand why. It’s a vaccine that’s completely safe. It’s highly effective at preventing the kind of HPVs that are contained in the vaccine. ,and that will account for 70 to 80 percent of what causes cervical cancer in this country.

    HPV is a sexually transmitted virus. The vaccine is recommended for girls when they are 11 or 12 to ensure that they are protected years before they become sexually active.

    The vaccine was introduced in 2006 and officials say it can take a decade for vaccine rates to near the 90 percent level.

    In Pennsylvania teen vaccine rates are well above national averages.

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