Not enough adults getting HPV vaccination in Alabama - WRBL

Not enough adults getting HPV vaccination in Alabama

Posted: Updated:
PHENIX CITY, Ala. -

The Alabama Department of Health is concerned about the low number of adults getting the HPV vaccine, which plays a key role in preventing cancer.

A recent survey shows that less than 20% of young adults in Alabama have gotten vaccinated for the human papillomavirus, and the health department is worried that not enough people know about the vaccine's benefits.

HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that around 50% of men and women have had at some point in their life.

While most people don't show symptoms, the virus can be deadly and cause cervical cancer in women among other types of cancer in both males and females. That's why the Alabama DOH is urging everyone from age nine to 26 to get vaccinated.

Alabama's director of cancer prevention Dr. Kathryn Chapman says, "Guys don't know that it's an important vaccine for them also, and there's cancers that both men and women are vulnerable to that this vaccine protects them from."

She says the "Third Time's the Charm" campaign has helped raise awareness about the three- step vaccine among kids but not as many adults. Because of the low number of adults getting the shots, the health department is planning to expand the campaign to get doctors to encourage their patients to pair HPV with other vaccines like flu shots.

Alabama's pediatricians already recommend it to parents when kids get their vaccinations for school.

"If we can get a large portion of the population vaccinated against HPV, we can stop the spread of a couple of different cancers that are very problematic," says Dr. Chapman.

You can ask for the HPV vaccine from your doctor and most pharmacies, and it's covered by most insurance companies up to age 26.

You can also get the HPV vaccine at some university clinics, like Auburn and your local health department office.

Dr. Chapman says even if you're over 26, you can still ask to get the vaccine, but it costs $390, or $130 per shot.

 

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.
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