From elsewhere in The Post: In 2007, D.C. became the second place in the U.S. to require girls to be immunized against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer. Because parents can easily opt out of having their children receive the series of doses needed to be vaccinated, the number of vaccinated children is lower than what medical experts had hoped.
Local reporter Mike DeBonis writes: “For the first class of girls to fall under the vaccine requirement, now eighth-graders, only 23.5 percent are fully compliant — that is, they’ve started the series and aren’t overdue for subsequent doses.
For the second class, now seventh-graders, only 18.1 percent are on schedule. In both classes, waivers are popular: Parents of more than 40 percent of the girls have opted out of the shots altogether. And the remainder of students have either started their shots without completing them, or they simply haven’t gotten the shots or filled out a waiver.
All told, it appears less than a quarter of the girls that lawmakers were aiming to protect are actually being protected.”
The city hired a contractor to speak with students and their parents about the vaccine’s safety but, DeBonis writes, some “experts say emphasis must go on making the HPV vaccine easier and more routine.”