A growing segment of parents are choosing not to have their daughters vaccinated against HPV—the human papillomavirus, which is associated with some forms of cervical and other cancers—in part because they are worried about whether the vaccine is safe.
A study published online this week in the journal Pediatrics finds that from 2008 to 2010 the percentage of parents who were not planning to have their daughters vaccinated against HPV grew from about 40 percent to 44 percent—although doctors were increasingly recommending the vaccine along with other shots. The authors analyzed data from 2008 through 2010 from the National Immunization Survey of Teens.
Some of the reasons for declining the vaccine: Parents said their children weren’t sexually active or they expressed concerns about the vaccine’s safety.
In several states, bills requiring the vaccine have been introduced. Both the District of Columbia and Virginia require it for girls.
The HPV vaccine, recommended for preteenage girls and boys by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is most effective before children are sexually active.
A version of this article appeared in the March 27, 2013 edition of Education Week as Fewer Girls Receive HPV Vaccination