Washington Post (05.03.12) - Thursday, May 10, 2012
New research shows a decline in the number of females
receiving all three doses of the human papillomavirus vaccine
between 2006, when it was approved, and 2009.
Abbey Berenson and Jacqueline Hirth of the University of Texas
Medical Branch and co-investigators studied data for nearly
272,000 privately insured females who started the vaccine
series. While the overall number of girls who received the
first shot in the series rose during the study period, the
percentages of those who got all three dropped from roughly 50
percent in 2006 to just over 20 percent in 2009.
Females age 13 and older were less likely than those ages nine
to 12 to receive all three shots. Females who completed the
series were more likely to have been vaccinated by their
OB/GYN than by their pediatrician.
The second dose of HPV vaccine should be given one to two
months after the first, with the third and final shot
administered within six months of initiation. Yet just over 38
percent who got the first shot completed the series within one
year. The study did investigate the reasons for non-
Berenson said a goal of the study was to alert parents to the
importance of getting all three shots. According to the
researchers, physicians may not be doing enough to ensure that
the series is completed. And the marketing campaign that began
in 2006 "never addressed the three shots," said Berenson. The
website for Gardasil, one of two approved HPV vaccines, does
note that the immunization is given in three shots.
[PNU editor's note: The study, "Completion of the Human
Papillomavirus Vaccine Series Among Insured Females Between
2006 and 2009," was published in the journal Cancer