Tennessean (Nashville) (10.09.11) - Friday, October 14, 2011
Tennessee has a cervical cancer mortality rate of 2.8 deaths
per 100,000 women, compared with the national average rate of
2.4, according to CDC data for 2007. However, only 33 percent
of Tennessee females ages 13-17 had received at least one dose
of vaccine against human papillomavirus in 2010, CDC reported
in August. About one-quarter of girls had received the full
three doses, compared with a national average of about one in
"It is recommended by the CDC and the American Academy of
Pediatrics," Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC's director, said of the
HPV vaccine. "It has been reviewed by the Institute of
Medicine. Because it protects against a disease that is
sexually transmitted, it gets fairly controversial."
"Our biggest challenge is trying to overcome all the
misinformation that is out there," said Dr. Kelly Moore,
medical director of immunizations for the Tennessee Department
of Health. "The bottom line is this is an exciting advance in
preventing cancer in future generations."
"We give it at [ages] 11 and 12 for very practical reasons,"
said Moore. "It's not because we are trying to force people to
have conversations about sexual activity with preteens. It's
because that's when we are giving other vaccines."
The three-dose regimen can cost $400-$450, but health
departments provide the vaccinations free to males and females
19 or younger. "More and more evidence is becoming available
showing that cancers are caused by HPV in men also," Moore
said, though she noted Tennessee has no plans to mandate the