Hispanic, Black Women in California Receive Cervical Cancer Vaccine at Lower Rates, Study Finds
Hispanic and black women in California have lower vaccination rates for the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil than other women, according to a report released on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reports. Gardasil protects against four strains of human papillomavirus, which is associated with about 70% of all cervical cancers in the U.S. and 90% of genital warts. In March 2007, CDC recommended the vaccine for females ages 11 to 26. The vaccine works most effectively when administered before someone is sexually active.
The study, by researchers from the University of California-Los Angeles Center for Health Policy Research, is based on the California Health Interview Survey, which interviews more than 50,000 California residents randomly by phone. In 2007, one in four teenage girls in California got at least one dose of Gardasil, according to the report.
Survey director David Grant said preliminary data showed few differences by race, ethnicity and economic status among adolescent girls. However, among women ages 18 to 26, fewer Hispanic and black women received Gardasil. Grant attributed the disparity to an absence of automatic coverage for the vaccination among the older women. The federal Vaccines for Children program provides vaccinations at no-cost for adolescent girls.
Researchers said they will soon release more data on compliance with CDC's recommendation among different ethnic and socioeconomic groups (Engel, Los Angeles Times, 2/18).
The report is available online.