FRIDAY, Jan. 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Many adolescents do not complete human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination before turning 13 or 15 years old, according to a report published online Jan. 17 in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Robert A. Bednarczyk, Ph.D., from the Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta, and colleagues used data from the 2016 National Immunization Survey-Teen to estimate the proportion of adolescents up to date with the HPV vaccine. The analysis was restricted to 20,475 respondents who gave permission for provider verification of immunization records.

The researchers found that 15.7 and 34.8 percent of U.S. adolescents aged 13 to 17 years had completed HPV vaccination before turning 13 and 15 years old, respectively, in 2016. Compared with male adolescents, female adolescents were more likely to be up to date by the specified cutoff age for both age points (20.1 versus 11.6 percent for completion before age 13 years; 41.6 versus 28.3 percent for completion before age 15 years).

“HPV vaccination provides optimal protection when given prior to the onset of sexual activity, and thus the potential for transmission of HPV,” the authors write. “With 11 percent of females and 16 percent of males reporting sexual intercourse by age 15, there is the potential for HPV infection prior to vaccination when vaccine administration is delayed.”

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