NCI's Cancer Centers join in HPV vaccination push
All 69 of the United States' National Cancer Institute-designated centers have joined together to issue a statement urging an increase in HPV vaccinations, declaring the vaccines "tragically underused" and calling low uptake a "public health threat."
According to 2015 CDC numbers, just 40% of girls and 21% of boys in the U.S. have received the vaccines, offered by Merck ($MRK) and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK). Factors hindering uptake include antivaccine campaigns, safety concerns, a sex stigma and pediatricians' reluctance to discuss the jabs.
The centers called the vaccination rates "alarming" because of the vaccines' ability to prevent HPV infection and several associated deadly cancers. A HHS 2020 initiative has set HPV vaccination goals for both boys and girls at 80%.
Last month, a poll of nearly 600 doctors found that many pediatricians and family practitioners aren't strongly recommending the vaccines to preteens and parents. That study found that 60% of pediatricians and 59% of family practitioners strongly recommended the vaccines for girls aged 11 to 12 years old, while 52% of pediatricians and 41% of family practitioners did so for boys. And before that, a Journal of Adolescent Health study found that parents may be influenced by incomplete or inaccurate web info on HPV vaccination.
Once anticipated to bring in between $4 billion and $10 billion by optimistic analysts, the vaccine class has struggled to meet some expectations since being introduced in 2006. In 2015, Merck's Gardasil and Gardasil 9 HPV vaccine franchise brought in $1.9 billion, a 10% growth versus 2014. GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix brought in £88 million ($128 million) in sales for the year, a 20% decrease from 2014.
The cancer centers said countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom and Rwanda have demonstrated high vaccination rates are possible, as each of those countries above a 75% vaccination rate.
- here's the letter (PDF)
Study finds some docs are not strongly recommending HPV vaccines for preteens
Parents may be misled by inaccurate HPV vaccine websites, report says
EMA safety review raises no issues with HPV vaccines from Merck, GSK
Merck wins FDA approval for Gardasil follow-up
Merck Gardasil follow-up could block 90% of cervical cancers--if uptake improves, that is
There's room for more parents, docs on Merck's Gardasil bandwagon