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Too few girls getting HPV vaccine

Posted by: Colleen Stoxen Updated: July 24, 2014 - 5:57 PM

More teenage girls are receiving the vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV, the government reported. But the numbers still don't meet targets set by public health officials.

Last year's rise in HPV vaccine use followed a couple of years when vaccination rate was flat. For girls ages 13 to 17, about 57 percent received at least one dose in 2013, up from 54 percent in 2012. Just 38 percent received all three doses as recommended, up from 33 percent the year before.

"It was better than nothing. But we really need to do better moving forward," said Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The vaccine protects against HPV, a sexually transmitted bug that can cause cervical cancer, genital warts and other illnesses.

A three-dose series of HPV shots hit the market in 2006. The government recommends the vaccine for girls ages 11 and 12 because it works best before they become sexually active.

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