On Jan. 6, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH), Office on Women’s Health is launching the HPV VAX NOW campaign with the long-term goal of increasing human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates among young adults ages 18–26. The campaign will specifically target young adults and healthcare providers in Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas — states with some of the lowest HPV vaccination rates in the country.
Currently, fewer than half of young adults in the United States have received one or more doses of the HPV vaccine, and only 22% have completed the vaccine series. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV causes nearly 36,000 cases of cancer in men and women each year in the U.S.
“We have the tools to prevent thousands of cancers caused by HPV in the United States each year,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Brett P. Giroir, M.D. “We must make that future a reality by engaging healthcare providers and young adults to ensure everyone who needs to complete the vaccine series is able to do so.”
HPV VAX NOW aims to increase awareness of the risk for HPV-related cancers and the protective benefits of the HPV vaccine, and to empower young adults to complete the HPV vaccine series. The campaign also supports healthcare providers who counsel young adults by offering tips for effectively recommending the vaccine. Healthcare providers are recognized as a key influence in the adoption of immunization behaviors among young adults.
HPV VAX NOW aligns with the OASH immunization “Catch-up to Get Ahead” campaign as part of HHS’ efforts to improve vaccination uptake in the United States. “With the increased awareness of vaccination opportunities that HHS has prioritized during the COVID pandemic, now is an important time for young adults to complete their HPV vaccine series.” said Dorothy Fink, M.D., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women’s Health.
The HPV VAX NOW campaign is launching during Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, bringing attention to one of the six cancers and pre-cancerous cervical lesions that the HPV vaccine prevents.
CDC recommends that all boys and girls ages 11–12 years initiate and complete a 2-dose HPV vaccine series. For anyone who did not complete the series when they were younger, “catch-up” vaccine series completion should be prioritized through age 26. Adolescents who start the HPV vaccine series at age 14 or younger need two doses for complete protection against HPV-related cancers. Anyone who starts the series at age 15 or older needs three total doses of the HPV vaccine for complete protection.
Read more about the HPV VAX NOW campaign. Campaign resources include information for young adults as well as guidance, tips, and resources for healthcare for providers. Organizations can find messages and graphics to promote the campaign in the toolkit to reach young adults and the toolkit to reach healthcare providers. Vaccines are available at a variety of locations — to find an HPV vaccine provider near you, please go to vaccines.gov’s Vaccine Finder.