The Food and Drug Administration just approved Gardasil 9, which covers nine types of HPV (Human Papillomavirus). The previous version of Gardasil covered only 4 types of the virus, which is responsible for many cancers and other conditions. According to the FDA, Gardasil 9 has the potential to prevent approximately 90 percent of cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers, and genital warts. Current recommendations are that boys and girls be vaccinated starting at age 11. Anyone under 26 who hasn’t been vaccinated should be.
You’d think that with results like that, parents would be lining up to get their children vaccinated. But you’d be wrong. Way wrong. The New York City Health Department found earlier this year that only 47% of boys aged 13-17 and 64% of girls aged 13-17 in have received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine. In order to be most effective, three doses are recommended. But just 40% of girls aged 13-17 and 22% of boys aged 13-17 in New York City have received all three doses. Those numbers varied greatly, depending on the section of the city. In Manhattan, 45.5% to 60.2% of girls aged 13-17 and 15.7% to 26.1% of boys aged 13-17 received all three dose, says the Health Department. But in Staten Island, Central/Southern Brooklyn, and Greenpoint/Williamsburg, just 5.8% to 25.1% of girls aged 13-17 and 0% to 5.9% of boys aged 13-17 had received all three doses.