Only 34 percent of teenage girls ages 13 to 17 received Merck’s Gardasil human papillomavirus vaccine, which public health officials endorsed to prevent cervical cancer. Although vaccination rates remain low, the results indicate an increase from earlier studies showing only about 25 percent of teenage girls were vaccinated, according to a co-author of the study.
“The good news is that the vaccination rate is increasing,” study co-author Sandi Pruitt of the University of Washington School of Medicine tells us. “The bad news is this is just the first dose of a three-dose vaccine.” Although the study did not examine the reasons for the persistently low vaccination rates, she speculated that cost, awareness and social conservatism may contribute. The study appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (here’s the abstract).