Study finds few young adult men have already got the HPV vaccine

Unlike COVID-19 vaccine, HPV vaccine is being ignored by the most of the young men of America.

As per the data from 2010-2018 National Health Interview Surveys, Michigan Medicine researchers have found that the men between the age 18 and 21-year-old, only 16% of them had received at least one dose of HPV vaccine at any age. On the other hand, the women of the same age bracket, 42% of them have taken at least one dose of the vaccine.

The CDC’s advisory committee suggested that two doses of the vaccine must be given at the age of 11 or 12. But Americans can still get its benefits if they receive all three doses of the vaccine before the age of 26.

Michelle M. Chen, M.D., first author of the study stated, “18 to 21 year olds are at this age where they are making health care decisions on their own for the first time.” She further added that, “they’re in the period of lot of transition, but young adult men especially, those who are less likely to have primary care doctor, are often not getting health education about things like cancer prevention vaccines.”

HPV vaccines was designed in order to prevent reproductive warts and cancer, which can be caused by most commonly sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. It was earlier approved for women in 2006, later expanded it to men in 2009.

During those time, preventing cervical cancer was the priority focus, so the girls and women were more likely to hear it from their OBGYNs and pediatricians. Oropharyngeal cancer, which occurs in throat, back of the tongue, and tonsil, has now overtaken the cervical cancer as the leading cancer caused by HPV – 80% of those diagnosed are men.

Chen considers that a dual-prong approach is needed to hike the HPV vaccination rate. Pharmacist and urgent care and emergency room providers could be helpful allies.