News Observer (12.09.2013)
Aids Weekly Plus
The News Observer reported that David Blodgett, director of the Southwest Utah Public Department of Health, decided “years ago” not to offer the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in his jurisdiction’s clinics because of the cost and limited research on the vaccine’s effectiveness. The Southwest Utah Public Department of Health included Beaver, Iron, Garfield, Kane, and Washington counties. The Utah Department of Health does not require the HPV vaccine but has recommended it since the US Food and Drug Administration approved Gardasil for preteen girls in 2006 and for boys since 2011.
Blodgett stated that the five southwest Utah counties under his jurisdiction offered Gardasil for approximately six months in 2006, but demand was low. In addition, community members feared that HPV vaccination could encourage promiscuity among teens who no longer feared infection. Three doses of HPV vaccine cost $360. While federal funding offset the cost for low-income families, Blodgett argued that his clinics could not afford the cost of providing and delivering the vaccine.
Dr. William Cosgrove, a member of Utah’s Scientific Immunization Advisory Committee, noted that research has proved that HPV vaccination prevents the sexually transmitted viruses that cause 70 percent of cervical cancers and 90 percent of genital warts. CDC reported that Utah ranked last among US states in completion of the three-dose vaccine. According to this 2011 report, only 42 percent of Utah teens who started the vaccine series had all three shots, compared with a national completion rate of 71 percent. Additionally, approximately 53 percent of Utah girls ages 13–17 had at least one dose of the vaccine. Private clinics in Utah also offer the HPV vaccine.