CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - During the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Virginia Cancer Center saw a 75% decrease in Human Papillomavirus vaccinations. HPV can cause 6 different kinds of cancer.
“We need to get people back in to get preventative services. We need to get people in to get catch up vaccines,” said Emma McKim Mitchell, PhD, MSN, RN, co-director of global initiatives at the UVA School of Nursing.
Doctors at the UVA Cancer Center say this decline is due in part to people avoiding visits to limit potential COVID-19 exposure.
“The CDC has said when you get that COVID vaccine you can catch up on your other vaccines if you’re between 12 and 15,” Mitchell said.
The National Cancer Institute is asking primary care physicians to reach out to patients and encourage them to get fully vaccinated if they are not.
“We encourage all families, if they haven’t already, to speak with their child’s healthcare provider about making the HPV vaccination part of their immunization schedule,” Mitchell stated.
The HPV vaccine is widely accessible even to those without insurance.
Health departments around the state are dedicated to providing the vaccine at low or no cost.