June 8, 2018 marked twelve years since the FDA approved the first HPV vaccine for use in the United States. The American Cancer Society also announced that the organization is launching a public health campaign to eliminate vaccine-preventable HPV cancers, starting with cervical cancer. The goal is to reach an annual vaccination rate of 80% of young people by 2026. It’s a daunting goal – but with the combined support of all the organizations working to improve HPV vaccination, it is possible.
As you know, the human papillomavirus (HPV) causes six types of cancer and is a common infection. In fact, 9 out of 10 adults – both men and women – are infected with HPV at some point in their lives. Fortunately, we have a vaccine that will prevent this infection from ever occurring and therefore prevent many of the cancers it causes. In the United States, 6 out of 10 of girls and boys aged 13-17 have started the HPV vaccination series, but only 4 out of 10 of girls and boys are up to date on getting the full series. We have a long way to go and we need your support.
The California Dialogue on Cancer has been working with the American Cancer Society and numerous partner organizations including the California Immunization Coalition to form a California HPV Vaccination Roundtable which will launch in the fall. This coalition of diverse stakeholders will collaborate to increase HPV vaccination in California. With the HPV vaccine, we have an unprecedented opportunity to save lives and reduce the HPV cancer burden.
For more information on the campaign, check out the American Cancer Society webpage on Preventing Cancer with the HPV Vaccine.