Adolescents Encouraged to be Vaccinated for HPV

Samaritan Lebanon Health Center-Pediatrics is participating in the Rural Adolescent Vaccine Enterprise – or “RAVE” – project. Over the next 18 months, Samaritan Lebanon Health Center – Pediatrics, along with 45 other clinics, will join a community-wide cancer prevention project designed to improve adolescent immunization rates for the human papillomavirus vaccine in rural Oregon communities.

Widely used and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more than a decade, the HPV vaccine is effective at preventing cancer of the cervix, penis, anus, mouth and throat. It is currently recommended for all children between the ages of 9 and 26 years and is available in a series of two or three shots. Despite its proven effectiveness, its track record of safety, and its mandated coverage by insurance, the national HPV vaccination rate remains low, at about 50%. This is far from the Healthy People 2020 benchmark of 80% completion.

In rural Oregon, the average county-level HPV vaccine completion rate in 2017 was just 28%. RAVE project team members include the Oregon Immunization Program, The American Cancer Society, Oregon Health & Science University and 46 rural health care clinics and their communities. This collaborative project aims to address low HPV vaccination rates by supporting local primary care clinics to lead change within their communities.

“The clinic’s participation raises awareness of the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine at preventing cancer,” explained Pediatrician Robert Michael, MD. “Our goal is to increase vaccination rates and protect our patients from HPV related cancers.”

Launched in July 2018 and led by Principal Investigators L.J. Fagnan, MD, and Patty Carney, PhD, the RAVE project is funded by the American Cancer Society and will continue through June 2023.

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