Which Vaccine First: HPV or COVID-19
The American Cancer Society (ACS) announced today's efforts highlighting Mission: HPV Cancer Free, a campaign to eliminate human papillomavirus (HPV) cancers. The goal is to reach an HPV vaccination rate of 80% of 13-year-olds in the United States by 2026.
However, the ongoing pandemic has created challenges for healthcare providers and patients. Many parents have postponed provider visits to avoid transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
Recently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that HPV vaccinations are down by more than 20% compared to 2019.
Adding to the challenge is the expected availability of the COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents. It is predicted that COVID-19 vaccines will be available for children as young as 12 years old early this summer.
If approved, adolescents who get the vaccine may have an eight-week period when they cannot receive other vaccines before, during, or after the COVID-19 protocol.
This could impact the number of adolescents who will get their HPV vaccination this year. It's important for parents to reschedule any missed HPV vaccinations now, says the ACS.
"COVID-19 has reversed some of the gains in HPV vaccination uptake that we've worked so hard to make over the years. It's critical that we act quickly to protect the national investment in HPV vaccination to protect against these 6 types of cancer," said Debbie Saslow, Ph.D., managing director, HPV & GYN Cancers for the ACS, in a press statement.
The American Cancer Society is on a mission to free the world from cancer. About 14 million people in the USA become infected with HPV each year.