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Doctors Encouraging Teens To Get Vaccines

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Most of the vaccinations we receive in life come when we are kids. And most of the time our parents are the ones taking us to get them. But as you get older and enter your teen years, there are still some preventative measures that need to be taken.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the number of teens getting vaccinated for the human papillomavirus (or HPV) remains “unacceptably low” and doctors themselves may be partly to blame.

So what exactly is “unacceptably low”? Well the CDC’s National Immunization Study in 2013 showed that only 57%of teen males and females had received an HPV vaccine, which protects against a sexually transmitted virus responsible for cervical, anal, and many oral cancers. Compare that to the 86% that received the Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis and you’ll see how out of wack it starts to seem.

And in Massachusetts the number isn’t much better than the national average. Here only 62% of teens have been vaccinated. And the HPV vaccine isn’t among the required vaccinations teens must have before entering the seventh grade.

Many parents say they skipped the vaccine for their kids simply because the doctor never recommended it. While others point out the lingering safety concerns with the vaccine.

However Boston.com reports that Dr. Courtney Gidengil, a vaccine safety researcher and instructor in pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital is among those trying to out those safety concerns to rest. She says that she personally feels

it’s a very safe vaccine.” Adding, ‘‘Side effects are pretty minimal.’’

Massachusetts is among a group of 11 states that have received federal grants for 2014 to help educate physicians and the public on the importance of HPV vaccination. They have a goal of having 80 percent of teens vaccinated with three doses of the vaccine by 2020.

The CDC offers an teens a ton of information on the vaccine on their website, which you can link to below.

HPV Vaccine Facts

And if you think you may have been exposed to the virus and want to get tested you can see the Citizens for Citizens Family Planning for STD Testing with or without health insurance.

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