While the statewide childhood immunization rate is about 95%, fewer than half of Texas childen, especially boys, are immunized against HPV, which leads directly to cervical and genital cancer, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The Immunization Partnership is trying to get that number up to 80%, but Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, who is a pediatric nurse practitioner, concedes its a challenge.
"HPV has a little bit of a stigma, because it has to do with a virus that is caused through intimate contact," he said.Texas has faced that challenge for more than a decade in its effort to get more kids vaccinated against Human Papilloma Virus.
When then-Gov. Rick Perry suggested in 2007 that HVP vaccinations be mandatory, like measles, mumps, and rubella, and required for back to school, he had to back off when social conservatives claimed that since NPV s a sexually transmitted disease, getting chldren vaccinated against it would amount to 'giving them permission' to become sexually active.
The goal of this effort is to enlist family physicians in the drive to encourage HPV vaccination, according to the Immunization Partnership's Cherise Rohr-Allergrini.
"The only way to prevent HPV related cancers is through vaccination, and provider recommendations is the key factor in a family choosing to vaccinate their adolescents," she said.
In fact, HPV vaccination is the only vaccine that prevents cancer.
"Studies have shown the HPV vaccine doesn't give the green light for sex," Rohr-Allergrini said. "However, the vaccine does prevent many cancers, and we need to continue to educate the medical community about the importance of the HPV vaccine."
Sanchez says another challenge the Immunization Partnership is facing is the growth of the Anti-Vaxxer movement. He says people are entitled to their own opinion, but they have to realize that vaccines officially are painful or have side effects, and they have to understand that medical professions are required to report any instances of vaccines leading to disease.
"If there is any adverse reactions or consequences, are are obligated to share that with the community," he said.