International HPV Awareness Day Talking Points

International HPV Awareness Day highlights the importance of adolescent vaccination against HPV. These talking points highlight important data surrounding HPV infections, HPV vaccinations, routine adolescent immunizations, and pandemic effects on routine vaccinations. This resource can help facilitate internal discussion or conversation with the media and other stakeholders.

HPV Awareness Talking Points

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common infection in the United States

  • The CDC reports about 13 million Americans, including teens, become infected each year
  • While most infections go away by themselves within 2 years, about 1 in 10 who are infected will go on to develop cancer.
  • Each year, the CDC estimates HPV causes about 36,500 of these cancers annually. HPV vaccination can prevent nearly all of them.

Since HPV vaccinations were introduced in 2006, HPV infections and cervical precancer case numbers have declined significantly

  • Among teen girls, HPV infections have dropped 88% since 2006
  • Among young adult women, HPV infections have dropped 81% since 2006
  • Among vaccinated women, cervical precancers caused by HPV have dropped by 40% since 2006
  • There are now more cases of head and neck cancers than cervical cancers in the U.S. These cancers are largely among men and HPV causes 70% of them.

The best course of action is to ensure children are vaccinated against HPV as part of their routine childhood vaccinations.

  • Children ages 11 or 12 years should get two doses of HPV vaccine 6 to 12 months apart
  • HPV vaccines can be given as early as 9-years-old
  • Children who start their vaccine series on or after age 15 will need three doses spread over 6 months

The pandemic has put children behind on a number of routine childhood vaccinations around the world

The pandemic continues to impact the utilization of routine immunizations; especially, adolescent vaccinations.

  • Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center estimates adolescents with public health insurance missed an estimated one million doses of HPV vaccine between March 2020 and September 2021.
  • The total number of administered HPV doses has not recovered from deficits accumulated during the pandemic; we’ve seen a slower rate of return for the public (cumulative – 18%) vs private sectors (cumulative – 12%) for the period of Jan 2020 – September 2021 {FROM UNITY SLIDE DECK}
  • VFC orders for HPV vaccine are lower than any of the other non-flu adolescent vaccinations including Tdap, MenACWY and MenB {FROM UNITY SLIDE DECK}

With COVID-19 case numbers declining, it’s important to get our children back on track with their routine vaccinations, including the HPV vaccine

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the uptake of routine adolescent vaccinations and most specifically on HPV vaccination
  • The decline in HPV vaccination may slow the progress we’ve made towards eliminating preventable HPV related diseases and cancers across the U.S.
  • Catching-up pre-teens and teens with HPV vaccination is essential if we are to protect them from developing HPV-related disease and cancers in the future. Efforts to achieve HPV vaccination goals should be a public health priority.
  • Health care providers, state immunization programs and health systems can use this opportunity to outreach & remind parents or caregivers to encourage them to get back on track
  • Every health care visit is an opportunity to review vaccination status and encourage vaccination
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