HPV vaccine reduces the risks of cancer

HASTINGS, Neb. -- Staying up-to-date with your vaccinations is very important and in some cases can help prevent cancer.

This is why doctors think parents should get their child's human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations done.

HPV vaccination rates remain low across the country. The latest statistics show only 49.1 percent of girls and 28.1 percent of boys complete the recommended vaccine series.

Pediatricians in Hastings said nurses begin giving kids the vaccine shots as early as age nine and administer them until age 26.

Fortunately, they said they've seen an increase in people getting vaccinated in the past three to four years.

People are encouraged to get them to greatly reduce the risks of cancers that can kill young people.

"Cervical cancer in women is the second leading cause of cancerous death worldwide," Children & Adolescent Clinic PC Pediatrician Dr. Daniel Leonard said. "Getting a three-shot series at a young age to prevent that and taking that off your mind as you get older is an incredible blessing." "It's a resource not everyone has," he added.

Dr. Leonard said people who choose to not get vaccinated are choosing risk.

"I think the most common reasons people don't is that they're scared, it's something new, or they think it's licensing their kids to go become sexually active," Dr. Leonard said. Obviously, that's not true and it's the job of the healthcare provider to provide them with up-to-date reliable education."

Doctors said they try to finish the vaccine series in a total of six months, but if people forget to get a shot within that time frame, they can still finish where they left off.