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MINNESOTA :: STDs
Duluth News Tribune (Minn.) (01.30.2014) :: By John Lundy
The Duluth News Tribune reported that CDC gave a $600,000 grant to the Minnesota Department of Health this week “to increase coverage rates for the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine among adolescents in the state.” The vaccine, given in a series of three shots, protects against HPV, which causes 70 percent of cervical cancer as well as other types of cancer in both men and women. CDC recommends the vaccine for girls and boys starting at the age of 11.
A 2012 survey showed that not many Minnesota youth have been protected properly by the vaccine, with only 33.1 percent of girls receiving the entire series and only 15.2 percent of boys having even received one dose. “HPV vaccination is a good thing, and it’s important because it has been shown to cover the two most common strains of HPV that are associated with cervical cancer,” said Dr. Colleen Evans, an Essentia Health gynecologic oncologist.
According to Kristen Ehresmann, director of infectious diseases with the Minnesota Department of Health, the department’s goal is to vaccinate 80 percent of females between ages 13–15 by 2020, which CDC said would prevent 98,800 cancer diagnoses and 31,700 deaths from cervical cancer.
Minnesota is one of seven states and four cities to receive the public awareness grant, which it says it will use for a media campaign aimed at parents to get their children vaccinated, as well as to update health provider skills and knowledge about the HPV vaccine. “I see these people with cervical cancer and vulvar cancer and oropharyngeal cancer and vaginal cancer — I see them every day,” said Dr. Basem Goueli, medical director of St. Luke’s Regional Cancer Center. “And this is a preventable disease. This is now a preventable set of tumors. And you cannot put a price on that,” he added.