Health officials urge parents to get their children vaccinated against HPV

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SAN DIEGO, Calif .– As back to school approaches, local public health officials on Thursday called on parents to protect children from preventable diseases, particularly the human papillomavirus or HPV which is responsible for 36,000 new cervical cancer diagnoses each year.

In April 2020, immunizations for children were down more than 40% from the same month a year earlier, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that vaccination in the United States against HPV – the most common sexually transmitted infection – fell by 21% during the pandemic. However, even before the pandemic, the number of San Diego who received the full set of HPV vaccines was 54%. This is well below the national target of 80% vaccination, and significantly behind the meningococcal vaccination rates – 93% – and Tdap – 94% -, which are generally administered during the same period. visit.

“Essential vaccinations protect our children from many serious vaccine-preventable diseases, and this back-to-school vaccination campaign has never been more critical,” said Dr Mark Sawyer, Professor and Director of the Pediatrics Program at UC San Diego School. of Medicine.

“As the pandemic has disrupted normal back-to-school schedules, we urge parents and guardians to contact their primary care team and educate their teens about life-saving vaccinations,” he said.

The San Diego Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, the Office of Mayor Todd Gloria, and the Office of the San Diego County Education issued an urgent appeal to doctors, parents and young people to get adolescent immunization levels back on track.

The County of San Diego and the City of San Diego have issued separate proclamations recognizing the first week of August as California HPV Vaccine Week.

The CDC recommends Tdap, HPV, and meningococcal vaccinations for boys and girls ages 11 to 12, as well as an annual flu shot, and approves the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents 12 and 12 years old and more. Catch-up vaccination against HPV is recommended up to the age of 26 and up to 45 years.

A team from the Moores Cancer Center at UCSD Health led by Jesse Nodora, associate professor at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at UCSD, studied the knowledge, awareness and practice of vaccination against HPV by health care providers, pharmacists, and school or university providers. in San Diego County to help stakeholders identify opportunities to increase HPV vaccinations.

The results were presented in February at the HPV Vaccination Call to Action Summit in San Diego, creating the basis for an academic community task force called San Diego Protecting Against HPV.

“While work to increase HPV vaccination rates in our county has been challenged by the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, these vaccinations have never been more important,” said Nodora, who is also director of community engagement at the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute.

The working group is currently focusing on capacity building and inventory projects, organizing continuing education for local providers, facilitating learning opportunities for the community, studying pilot research projects and scaling up cancer prevention awareness. Its goal is to increase HPV vaccination rates to 80% by 2026. Community participation is encouraged.

The HPV vaccine prevents strains most likely to cause genital warts and cervical cancer. Many people with HPV, for which there is no cure, do not develop any symptoms, but can still infect others through sexual contact.

– City information service


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