Study shows benefits of HPV vaccine in young girls

Posted at 6:54 PM, Feb 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-22 20:54:45-05

SALT LAKE CITY – A new study shows a vaccine used to combat Human Papilloma Virus or HPV is working. A study published Monday in the pediatrics Journal shows infection of the cancer-causing virus in teen girls has dropped by two-thirds. That’s since a vaccine was put on the market 10 years ago.

“We’re really excited about it that we have enough data to show how effective this vaccine can be,” said Kayla Rypian, an early childhood coordinator with the Utah Department of Health.

The findings hold promise for older women as well. HPV infects 14 million people a year. The vaccine is recommended for boys and girls at age 11 or 12. It’s given in three shots.

“The reason that we give them at that age is because the child’s immune system is so much more robust,” Rypian said.

While the findings are encouraging, few young people in Utah are being vaccinated. About 25 percent of girls and 14 percent of boys have received all three shots. That puts Utah well below the national average.

“I think there’s a lot of misinformation still,” Rypian said.

Health leaders say parents are skeptical about the HPV vaccine. They fear it’ll make their kids promiscuous as it’s commonly spread through sexual contact.

In January, the state health department rolled out a new video campaign about the vaccine. They hope to encourage parents to get their 11- and 12-year-old children vaccinated.

If you have concerns, talk them over with your child’s pediatrician. You can find more information here