Legislation Aims to Increase HPV Vaccine Awareness, Access, and Research

March 4, 2021

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) endorsed the “PREVENT HPV Cancers Act” (H.R. 1550), which was recently introduced by Representative Kathy Castor (FL-14). In a recent letter to the lawmaker, ASCO thanked Rep. Castor for introducing this important measure to increase research on, awareness of, and access to the vaccine which prevents the human papillomavirus (HPV) types that cause most types of cervical cancers as well as some other cancers.

Specifically, H.R. 1550 would:

  • Create a national HPV vaccine public awareness campaign with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The legislation authorizes $5 million to develop and execute the campaign, which would also include input from stakeholders.
  • Authorize $50 million over five years to boost immunization initiatives that focus on the HPV vaccine and help improve states immunization information systems.
  • Authorize $10 million for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to conduct research on HPV associated cancers.
  • Authorize $300 million for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program with the goal of reducing the rate of mortality from breast and cervical cancer by 2030.

According to a policy statement from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, titled Human Papillomavirus Vaccination for Cancer Prevention, HPV-related cancers are disproportionately distributed among individuals who are living on a lower income, have lower education levels, and are from a racial or ethnic minority group. Increased public awareness and immunization initiatives would help improve vaccination rates in these underserved communities. More comprehensive research on the HPV vaccine, as authorized in the PREVENT HPV Cancers Act, would also help better identify these disparities and ways to address them.

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