The human papillomavirus – HPV – can cause a number of issues, including cervical, mouth and throat cancers.
The good news: There’s an effective vaccine to protect against it. The bad news: Boys aren’t being given the shots as much as girls.
For a number of years, the CDC has recommended that all children, starting between 11 and 12-years-old, should receive the vaccine, which is a series of two or three shots.
Yet, while 65 percent of girls had started the vaccine course in 2016, only 56 percent of boys had.
Now, researchers may have discovered the reason why.
Looking at the results of a national survey given to parents of kids between 13 and 17-years-old, they found that parents of boys were more likely to say their healthcare provider hadn’t offered them the vaccine.
Almost one in five boys had not had the vaccine recommended by their healthcare provider, compared to one in ten girls.
That wasn’t the biggest reason overall that children of either gender didn’t get vaccinated. More than 20% of parents say they don’t think it is necessary.
In countries with higher vaccination rates than the United States, such as Australia, the HPV vaccine has been linked to a dramatic decline in the rates of HPV cancers.
Perhaps understanding why more American children aren’t getting the vaccine will help doctors protect them from the consequences of HPV infection.