Why Texas is lagging on HPV vaccination rates

Texas, which once proposed mandatory HPV vaccines for adolescent girls, now has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, reports The Texas Tribune.

About 40 percent of Texas teenagers received HPV vaccines in 2017, compared to 49 percent of teens nationwide. The state also has the fifth highest rate of cervical cancer, according to the CDC.

In 2007, Texas lawmakers rejected a mandate for statewide HPV vaccination among girls entering sixth grade. That same year, Australia's government rolled out a national vaccination campaign in which young girls received the vaccine for free at their schools. Australia, which has a similarly sized population and economy as Texas, has vaccinated about 80 percent of its teens against HPV. The country is now on track to becoming the first to eliminate cervical cancer.  

Public health experts say this outcome highlights the importance of offering widely available vaccines and cancer screenings.

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