Former Vice President Joe Biden on Monday announced that the Obama administration is working with manufacturers of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to increase production, allowing more Americans to be vaccinated. The news was first reported by The New York Times.
The news comes just one day after the Centers for Disease Control reported an increase in the number of American girls in need of the HPV vaccine, a leading cause of cervical cancer. With about 15 million Americans currently eligible for the vaccine but not yet vaccinated, CDC director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald called on states to implement the recommended vaccination schedule on school grounds.
Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics revised the vaccination schedule. Girls now get the vaccine for cervical cancer two years after first exposure to the HPV. When they first receive the vaccine, boys are routinely given the vaccine — with the majority of those vaccinating men also being given the HPV vaccine. Adults who haven’t received the vaccine are given the vaccine at age 26 and older. The vaccine, which is given in a three-dose schedule, costs approximately $300.
Biden was secretary of Health and Human Services in 2009 when he signed an executive order paving the way for states to implement a wider vaccination schedule for school children. Since the order was signed, five states have implemented the six-week schedule. Four more have implemented the 14- and 18-week schedules.
A wide-ranging public push to vaccinate against HPV is occurring following last week’s announcement by the CDC that more girls were at risk of contracting a HPV-related disease following an increase in new cases of genital warts. The HPV vaccine is currently only given to girls and boys, ages 11 and 12, but is also available to men. The FDA approved the vaccine’s use for men ages 16-26 earlier this year.