Jefferson County, CO — Despite the fact that HPV vaccine prevents cancer, the most recent data from Colorado Immunization Information System shows that approximately seven percent of youth ages 11 and 12 in the Denver Metro area are fully covered by this important vaccine. To increase awareness and HPV vaccine coverage rates, five local public health partners in the Denver Metro area (a collaborative group called the Denver Metro Alliance for HPV Prevention) are launching a campaign to educate parents about this important cancer-preventing vaccine.
HPV is a common infection that can cause several types of cancer in men and women, including cervical, penile, anal, oral, and throat cancer. Every year, more than 30,700 women and men are affected by a cancer caused by HPV — that’s about one new case every 20 minutes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends HPV vaccination because it can prevent many of these cancers. The CDC also recommends youth get the vaccine at ages 11 or 12 because that is when the immune response is the strongest.
“It’s well documented that HPV vaccine is cancer prevention,” says Judith Shlay, MD, interim director, Denver Public Health. “We want to make sure parents know about this important vaccine, understand that it prevents cancer in men and women, and ask their child’s doctor about the HPV vaccine.”
The campaign launch coincides with National Cancer Prevention Month. It will include a mix of radio, digital and out-of-home advertisements that will run from February through September of 2017. Social media posts will feature the hashtag #HPVFreeCO.
Though not the focus of the media campaign, the Denver Metro Alliance for HPV Prevention is also working with health care providers and medical practices in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson Counties to ensure they are prepared to talk with parents about the vaccine.
Families who don’t have a primary care provider can visit an Immunization Clinic at their local public health department. More information is also online at HPVFreeCO.org.
About the Denver Metro Alliance for HPV Prevention
The Denver Metro Alliance for HPV Prevention is a regional collaborative led by Denver Public Health to increase human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates across five counties in the Denver metropolitan area. Members include Denver Public Health, Jefferson County Public Health, Tri-County Health Department, theColorado Children’s Immunization Coalition, and the Adult and Child Consortium for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science. The project is funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Amendment 35 grant program to address cancer, childhood obesity, and tobacco use and exposure in and around Colorado. For more information, please visit HPVFreeCO.org.