The Minnesota Department of Health has received a $600,000 federal grant for a campaign to increase the state's vaccination rates for human papilloma virus (HPV). Minnesota is one of seven states and four cities to receive the grants from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agencies announced Wednesday.
Only about a third of girls in Minnesota receive all three doses of the HPV vaccine, which can prevent cervical and other cancers in both men and women. Among boys, nationally, only about 7 percent get the three doses.
The Health Department aims to increase the vaccination rate for 13- to 15-year-old girls to 80 percent by 2020. The CDC recommends that girls and boys ages 11 to 26 get the vaccine.
Because HPV is transmitted sexually, some parents and groups of social activists oppose the vaccine, arguing that it could encourage adolescents to become sexually active. But studies have shown no such link, however, said Kris Ehresmann, the state Health Department's infectious disease director. She added that the vaccine is most effective at a younger age.
Rebecca Harrington is a University of Minnesota student.