Letter to the President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
Today, there are safe and effective vaccines against human papillomavirus (HPV), a group of viruses that cause six cancers and other diseases. This extraordinary tool could prevent hundreds of thousands of cancers globally.
The President’s Cancer Panel concluded in its 2012-2013 report that underuse of HPV vaccines is a serious but correctable threat to progress against cancer and identified several goals and objectives to help increase HPV vaccine uptake in the United States and globally. This report describes the notable progress made over the past five years and presents priorities and strategies to speed progress toward goals identified in the previous report.
Although vaccine uptake has improved in recent years, the fact remains that less than 50% of boys and girls in the United States are fully vaccinated against HPV. We are still far short of the government’s Healthy People 2020 goal of 80% of age-eligible adolescents. This target is achievable with the continued work and support of federal agencies, organizations, healthcare providers, and researchers.
Cancer and immunization partners have risen to the challenge of accelerating HPV vaccine uptake. They have raised awareness among the general public of the importance of HPV vaccination, supported healthcare providers and systems in delivering the HPV vaccine, and contributed to global efforts to promote HPV vaccination. However, much work remains to maximize the cancer prevention potential of HPV vaccination. It is critical that partnerships and collaborations are supported and expanded to drive further increases needed in HPV vaccine coverage.
The United States and stakeholders across the globe should renew their commitment to prioritize HPV vaccination. We have a chance to prevent cancers caused by HPV, an opportunity that should not be missed. Our children and future generations are counting on us to act now to protect them from deadly vaccine-preventable cancers. This is a win for individuals and families. I hope that you and your administration will encourage uptake of HPV vaccines.
Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH
President’s Cancer Panel