Philadelphia achieves highest HPV vaccination rate in the country, with HFP’s help

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A recent CDC report showed that Philadelphia had the highest rate of vaccination among teen girls for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) out of 62 metropolitan areas surveyed, with 80.3% of girls ages 13-17 having received at least one vaccination and 59.3% having received all three recommended shots. In addition, Philadelphia experienced the greatest increase in teen boys having received the full series of three vaccines– a jump from 15.5% in 2013 to 34.8% in 2014.  See article here: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6429a3.htm?s_cid=mm6429a3_w

The HPV vaccination is recommended for all young people ages 11-12 to prevent cervical and other cancers, which are caused by some types of HPV. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) has taken a targeted approach to promoting HPV vaccination, including convening an expert advisory board to develop on-site provider training, and media campaigns to educate parents. Health Federation has worked closely with PDPH on this effort, coordinating provider trainings that reached over 400 local pediatric and family practice providers, and facilitating the project advisory board.

“This work exemplifies Health Federation’s approach to supporting our public health infrastructure and efforts around infectious and chronic diseases,” said Ann Ricksecker, Associate Executive Director, “and it’s wonderful to see the impact measured in young people protected from a potentially deadly disease.”

There is still much work to be done to promote HPV vaccination, in spite of Philadelphia’s leading position. The CDC has recommended that actions focus on comprehensive public communication campaigns, clinician education focused on how to how to provide strong recommendations for vaccination at ages 11 or 12 years, practice-focused strategies to educate key clinical and administrative staff about the importance of timely routine HPV vaccination, and using all opportunities to educate clinicians and parents about the importance of on-time HPV vaccination.