By Kim Polacek, APR, CPRC - August 12, 2019
Millions of kids across the country will be heading back to school this month. And there’s one item parents may want to add to their child’s preparation list — HPV vaccination. U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and Dr. Anna Giuliano, founder of the Center for Immunization and Infection Research in Cancer at Moffitt Cancer Center, recently held a news conference to remind parents and young adults of the importance of HPV vaccination.
Giuliano says the best time to vaccinate children is in middle school, ages 11 or 12, but adds that anyone can receive the vaccination series up to age 45. “Those of you in graduate school, those of you who are out in the workforce, I want you to understand you have the opportunity also to be protected against the viruses that cause six cancers,” Giuliano said.
The HPV vaccine, which was approved for use in 2007, provides protection against nine types of the human papillomavirus known to cause cancer. One in 20 cancers worldwide is caused by HPV, which is why Giuliano and Castor say vaccination is so important.
“If you could prevent your child from getting an HPV-related cancer, would you? Of course you would,” said Castor. “There is a vaccine that prevents cancer. And we’re talking girls and boys.”
Castor has been working with Giuliano and Moffitt to increase HPV vaccination nationwide, but especially in Florida, where vaccination uptake has remained low.
“A few years ago, Florida was about dead last when it came to the uptake rate for children getting their HPV vaccine. Florida is making some progress, but we unfortunately remain in the bottom tier. There is great room for improvement,” said Castor.