Minority Teens Skipping HPV Vax
WASHINGTON - CDC survey provides estimates of coverage for adolescent vaccination at
the national, state and selected local area levels
Continued increases-as much as 15 percent-were made in nationwide
coverage for vaccines specifically recommended for pre-teens, according
to 2009 National Immunization Survey-Teen (NIS-Teen) estimates released
today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The survey of more than 20,000 teens aged 13-17 found that in 2009 there
were increases in the percentage of teens in this age group who had
received vaccines routinely recommended for 11- and 12-year-olds.
* For one dose of the tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis
vaccine (Tdap), coverage went up about 15 points to about 56 percent;
* For one dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine, coverage went
up about 12 points to about 54 percent;
* For girls who received at least one dose of human papillomavirus
(HPV) vaccine, coverage increased 7 points to about 44 percent. However,
for girls who received the recommended three doses of HPV vaccine,
coverage was only about 27 percent (a 9 percent increase);
* For one dose of HPV vaccine, no differences were observed
between racial/ethnic groups. However, coverage was higher among teens
living in poverty compared with those living at or above the poverty
level. For the recommended three doses of HPV vaccine, differences were
observed between racial/ethnic groups, including significantly lower
coverage for blacks and Hispanics compared to whites;
* There were no significant differences in coverage by
racial/ethnic group or by poverty status for Tdap or meningococcal
conjugate vaccine; and
* As in 2008, there was wide variation in adolescent vaccination
coverage among state and local areas.
"This year's data are mixed," said Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of
CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "We
can see that more parents of adolescents are electing to protect their
children from serious diseases such as pertussis, meningitis, and
cervical cancer, but there is clear room for improvement in our system's
ability to reach this age group."
"Pertussis outbreaks in several states and an increase in
pertussis-related infant deaths in California highlight how important it
is for pre-teens to receive the Tdap booster," said Dr. Schuchat. "It
is important for teens and adults to get a one-time dose of Tdap to
protect themselves and those around them from whooping cough. Young
infants are most vulnerable to serious complications from pertussis and
can be infected by older siblings, parents or other caretakers."
The CDC encourages parents to talk with their child's health care
provider to find out when to come in for recommended check-ups.
"Completing the three-dose HPV vaccine series is very important to
ensure protection against cervical cancer. Visits for immunization can
be a great opportunity to address other important preventive issues that
all teens need," Dr. Schuchat said.
Although poverty was not a barrier to receiving any of the three
adolescent vaccines, financial challenges could prevent some teens from
getting vaccinated. Families who need help paying for vaccines should
ask their health care provider about the Vaccines for Children program,
which provides free vaccines to uninsured children and many others with
financial barriers. For help in finding a local health care provider
who participates in the program, parents can call 800-CDC-INFO or go to
The CDC has conducted the National Immunization Survey-Teen since 2006.
It is similar to the standard NIS, which in 1994 began collecting
immunization information among children 19 through 35 months old and is
a random telephone survey of parents or care-givers, followed by
verification of records with health care providers. The NIS-Teen
estimates the proportion of teens aged 13 through 17 years who have
received the three recommended pre-teen vaccines, as well as three of
the recommended childhood vaccines, by the time they are surveyed.