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Kansas Demonstrates Improvements in Teen Vaccination Rates

Kansas Demonstrates Improvements in Teen Vaccination Rates
August 31, 2016

Media Contacts
Hope Krebill,
Chair, Immunize Kansas Coalition
hkrebill@kumc.edu
(913) 588-3739

Connie Satzler,
Staff Support, Immunize Kansas Coalition
csatzler@kansas.net
(785) 587-0151
Graph: 1-Dose HPV Kansas and United States Vaccination Rates for Females
A new CDC report indicates over 50 percent of Kansas girls have had at least one HPV vaccination, a notable improvement to the 38 percent in 2014.

Nearly 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV or human papilloma virus. HPV causes cancers in both men and women, including almost all cases of cervical cancer. HPV-associated cancers are on the rise nationwide, despite the fact that a series of three vaccinations, usually administered to preteen boys and girls, can prevent the virus and the cancer it causes.

In response to Kansas having one of the lowest HPV vaccination rates in the country the Immunize Kansas Coalition (IKC) made increasing adolescent vaccine rates a priority. In 2015, the IKC set goals of increasing HPV vaccine series completion for adolescent girls and boys. This latest data shows that Kansas is well on its way to achieving the goal for increasing vaccination rates for girls. The three-vaccine HPV series completion rates for girls increased from 24.8 percent in 2014 to 31.7 percent in 2015. Boys are still lagging at 18.5 percent in 2015, down slightly from 19.5 percent in 2014.

Earlier this month, Immunize Kansas Coalition elected a new Chair, Hope Krebill with Midwest Cancer Alliance, the outreach network of The University of Kansas Cancer Center. Krebill looks forward to leading the Coalition's work promoting vaccines, with the continued focus on improving adolescent vaccine rates. "Kansas is one of seven states that demonstrated improvements in HPV vaccine rates during this last year. Even with the improvements, we still rank near the bottom of all states for HPV vaccination so there is still work to be done." Krebill stressed the importance of HPV vaccination, explaining "this cancer prevention vaccine is safe, effective, readily available, and works best when given to children at ages 11 and 12 for the strongest immune response."

Krebill takes over for IKC's first Chair, Dr. John Eplee, Atchison, who will continue to serve on the IKC Board as immediate past chair. Dr. Eplee reflects on his term as inaugural IKC chair, "After having been involved with immunization education and advocacy for most of my career in Family Medicine, it has been a special honor for me to serve as the first chairman of IKC, as it became reconfigured. It has evolved into a robust organization deeply committed to improving adolescent immunization rates--specifically for HPV and meningitis. The recently released CDC data show the progress started by all our stakeholder members, however, there is much to be done."

Photo of IKC Chair Hope Krebill
Photo of Dr. John Eplee
To support health care professionals in their efforts to increase vaccination rates, IKC released an HPV Vaccine Toolkit earlier this summer. Information about the coalition, the HPV Vaccine Toolkit, and many other resources are available at www.immunizekansascoalition.org.

Immunize Kansas Coalition

The Immunize Kansas Coalition (IKC) is a group of Kansas providers, health department officials, researchers, and educators working together to improve vaccine rates and protect Kansans against vaccine-preventable diseases.

The current focus of the Immunize Kansas Coalition is on improving access to and rates of adolescent immunizations, paying special attention to HPV and meningococcal vaccination rates. By 2020, the goal is to increase HPV vaccines series completion from 24.8% to 42.0% for girls and from 19.5% to 38.0% for boys.

Photo of Dr. Eplee, Krebill, and IKC Member Stephanie Lambert at conference booth
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