How to Boost HPV Vaccination Rates During COVID-19
By Sean Price


Vaccinations for human papillomavirus (HPV) have plunged since COVID-19 hit Texas in March, but a new virtual project will help Northeast Texas physicians explore strategies for changing that trend.

HPV Cancer Free Texas, a coalition of organizations that includes the Texas Medical Association, will provide seven monthly one-hour Project ECHO video conferences for CME credit to discuss best practices and evidence-based tools that encourage patients to get HPV vaccinations.

Participating physicians must not be involved in an active HPV vaccination quality improvement project, the coalition says.

Jason Terk, MD, a pediatrician at Cook Children’s Medical Center, will co-lead the conferences. He is chair of the Texas Public Health Coalition and immediate past chair of TMA’s Council on Legislation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused dramatic declines in all types of vaccinations, according to the American Cancer Society. A recent study shows that since March, there has been a 71% drop in health care visits for 6- to 17-year-olds, ages when critical vaccines like Tdap, HPV, and meningitis are given.

Even before COVID-19 struck, Texas ranked 39th out of 50 states in the HPV vaccination rate for teens, the American Cancer Society said. Nationally, each year 44,000 new cases of cancer are found in parts of the body where HPV is often found, and HPV causes about 34,800 of these cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The conferences begin Aug. 20. Interested physicians should call (817) 570-0605 or register via email.

Last Updated On

July 20, 2020

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Sean Price


(512) 370-1392

Sean Price is a reporter for Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. He grew up in Fort Worth and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. He's worked as an award-winning writer and editor for a variety of national magazine, book, and website publishers in New York and Washington. He's also helped produce Texas-based marketing campaigns designed to promote public health. Sean lives in Austin and enjoys hiking, photography, and spending time with his wife and two sons.

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