Only half of girls receive HPV vaccine at recommended age

New research undertaken by the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston reveals only about half of girls receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine at the recommended age.

Results of the study published in the journal "Vaccine" show only 14 percent of girls who received the vaccine received the three-part series between the ages of 11 to 12 in 2008. That percentage increased to 55 percent by 2012. Half of the girls surveyed received the vaccine after the age of 12.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends girls receive the vaccine between the ages of 11 and 12. It is believed the vaccine's effectiveness increases if administered before the girl become sexually active.

Mahbubur Rahman, associate professor in UTMB's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, led the research effort. Rahman analyzed data from 2008 to 2012 provided by the National Immunization Survey of Teens, which tracked girls from when they received their first HPV to when they completed the full vaccination process. 

The vaccine offers protection against 70 percent of cervical cancers and 90 percent of genital warts cases.

HPV is linked to 99.7 percent of cervical cancers and a number of other cancers.