UW Carbone Cancer Center Summit Addresses Barriers to Vaccination

Dr. Lindsay Geier will be presenting at the Wisconsin HPV Summit.Madison, Wisconsin - Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates among Wisconsin adolescents are far below goals set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to an issues brief by the Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (WCCCP) at the UW Carbone Cancer Center.


But a first-of-its-kind summit June 16 will attempt to address and overcome barriers to the series of three HPV vaccinations which has been shown to prevent cervical and various other types of cancers. The vaccine is recommended for girls and boys starting at 11 or 12 years old or girls 13 to 26 years old and boys 13 to 21 years old who have not yet been vaccinated.


The WCCCP issues brief notes that in December, 2013, only 34 percent of Wisconsin females and 11 percent of males had received the series of three vaccinations. At the same time, 92 percent received the school-required tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis vaccine and 75 percent received the meningococcal conjugate vaccine.


The goal of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Healthy People 2020 is to increase HPV vaccination series completion for females ages 13 to 15 to 80 percent by 2020. Health care providers say there are many barriers to overcome to reach the 80 percent goal that will be discussed at the summit sponsored by the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.


"Several factors contribute to slow vaccine uptake, but one of the biggest barriers is lack of parent and health care provider knowledge regarding HPV and the vaccine. People do not appreciate the disease burden or the need to vaccinate adolescents, both girls and boys, at an early age," said UW Health pediatric and adolescent medicine physician Lindsay Geier. "I explain to parents that we want to give the series of three vaccinations over a six-month period while their immune system is most robust at 11 to 12 and prior to the start of any sexual activity."


Geier, who is one of the presenters at the Wisconsin HPV Summit, is currently reaching out to physicians at UW Health clinics to give them up-to-date information on the need to vaccinate children.


"Originally, the vaccine was developed to prevent cervical cancer," said Geier. "But now we know that the HPV vaccine can protect against anal, oral and throat cancers as well."


The summit will include health care providers from around the state and representatives of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, county health departments and health insurance companies. 

Date Published: 06/16/2014

News tag(s):  cancer

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