We've talked extensively in class about the efficacy of the HPV vaccine in protecting against viral infection as well as future cancer morbidity and mortality. While Dr. Bob heralds the HPV vaccine as one of the most effective created thus far, a recent study suggests that this efficacy is being undermined by improper following of vaccination schedules. According to a University of Texas at Galveston study, only about half of girls in the US receive the vaccination at the recommended age. This trend is observed across all racial and ethnic groups surveyed. This presents a public health issue -- that people are not being vaccinated adequately despite the availability of a strong vaccine. Additionally, there is no present research about the efficacy of the vaccine at a later age. This delay in vaccination may be due to cultural beliefs, a lack of awareness about vaccines, or other educational barriers. There needs to be more research work done about what these factors are that are impeding the proper delivery of vaccines and consequently to address those issues via public health or policy measures. Interestingly, the article, in line with the CDC's lack of recommendation, does not comment on recommending the HPV vaccine for men, who are also at risk of infection. Perhaps the solution to the stigma or perceptions about the vaccine could be resolved with a gender neutral vaccine recommendation (pending medical safety) that would make the vaccine more culturally accepted.
If you're interested in reading the primary text of the article, here it is (along with the science daily article)! http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X14016508