HPV vaccination rates could eradicate cervical cancer in North Dakota

Erica Carbajal - Print  | 

In 2019, nearly 90 percent of adolescents in North Dakota received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine. As a result of the high vaccination rate, health officials say cervical cancer could soon be eradicated in the state, the Grand Forks Herald reported June 1. 

"We do have the potential, through vaccination and also preventive screenings, to completely eliminate a cancer, and that's really exciting," Molly Howell, state immunization manager, told the news outlet. 

Eighty-eight percent of adolescents aged 13 to 17 in North Dakota started the vaccination series for HPV in 2019, the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S., while 77 percent completed the vaccination series. With those numbers, the state had the second-highest HPV vaccination rate in the country, the Grand Forks Herald reports. 

Across the entire U.S., 72 percent of teens got their first HPV vaccination shot in 2019, while 54 percent completed the series. 

Ms. Howell said encouragement from primary care providers is behind the state's high HPV vaccination rate, as well as why rates remained steady amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Currently, most states, including North Dakota, do not mandate the HPV vaccine, though several do as part of school vaccination requirements, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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