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Texas Ranks Near Last in HPV Vaccinations

University of Texas System
University of Texas System
Texas' vaccination gap.

Texas ranks 47th among states and the District of Columbia in the number of adolescents up to date on human papilloma vaccinations, even though rates of vaccinations vary wildly across the state. 

That’s according to a new report from researchers at The University of Texas System and UT Health Northeast.

The report finds that while El Paso County had the second-highest vaccination rate in the country at 66 percent, Dallas County had the worst rate in the US, at just under 24 percent.

Dr. David Lakey is one of the authors of the report. He says he thinks one reason the vaccination rate is low for this virus versus other vaccines – is that HPV is a sexually transmitted infection.

"When this vaccine first came out people were talking about sexually transmitted diseases, a lot parents thought our kids won’t be exposed, and so didn’t get their kids immunized," he says. "I think we’re learning more about more about the variety of cancers this virus causes and how we can protect our kids.” 

HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States . It’s responsible for 99 percent of cervical cancers, 95 percent of anal cancers, and 70 percent of throat and neck cancers

About 90 percent of men and 85 percent of women in the United States will contract HPV at some point in their lives. 

Scott Morgan has been an award-winning journalist since 2001. His work has appeared in several newspapers and magazines as well as online. He has also been an editor, freelancer, speaker, writing teacher, author, and podcaster.