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February 26, 2018

DES MOINES, IA – Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination rates in Iowa are above the national average, according to a new study by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA). From 2010-2016, 31 percent of adolescent Wellmark members in Iowa received the initial dose of the CDC-recommended HPV vaccination by their 13th birthday. This is above the national average of 29 percent.

Iowa’s first-dose HPV-vaccine rates increased from 22 percent for adolescents born in 2000 (who turned 13 years old in 2013) to 39 percent for adolescents born in 2003 (who turned 13 years old in 2016). Nationally, 22 percent of adolescents in 2013 received an initial dose of HPV vaccination compared to 34 percent in 2016. Further, 10 percent of adolescent Iowans completed the full three-dose HPV regimen by age 13 in 2016, which is above the national average of nine percent.*

“The HPV vaccine is more than 97 percent effective at preventing infection from types of HPV that cause most HPV cancers,” said Dr. Bill Jagiello, Wellmark’s medical director. “However, it must be given before your child is exposed to the virus. That’s why it’s important to schedule an annual well-child visit with your family doctor to stay up-to-date on vaccinations and discuss any additional health concerns.”

The study also found in Iowa:

  • HPV-vaccination lags behind other adolescent vaccines, where 72 percent of adolescents in 2016 received the meningococcal vaccine, and 84 percent received the Tdap vaccine.
  • Only 38 percent of adolescent girls received a dose of HPV vaccine compared to 40 percent of boys in 2016. However, this outpaced the national average of 37 percent and 32 percent, respectively.

The report, “Adolescent Vaccination Rates in America,” represents a comprehensive study of outpatient medical claims for commercially insured BCBS members born from 2000 through 2003 and who were vaccinated by their 13th birthday between 2010 and 2016.**

This is the 18th study of the Blue Cross Blue Shield: The Health of America Report® series, a collaboration between BCBSA and Blue Health Intelligence®, which uses a market-leading claims database to uncover key trends and insights into health care affordability and access to care. Analysis was performed by and also includes medical claims data from HealthCore®, a wholly owned and independently operated subsidiary of Anthem, Inc.

For more information, visit External Site.

* In October 2016, the CDC changed the adolescent HPV vaccination recommendation External Site from three to two doses, starting the vaccine series before the child’s 15th birthday. The report defines a completed regimen as three doses. The second dose of the HPV vaccine should be given six to twelve months after the first dose. It is recommended for teens and young adults who start the series at ages 15 through 26 to complete three doses of the HPV vaccine.

** Study includes continually insured members. All adolescents considered in this study were born between the years 2000 and 2003, and thereby were ages 10 through 12 from the years 2010 through 2016.