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25% of U.S. Teenage Girls Used Cervical Cancer Vaccine

According to The New York Times report, 25 percent of girls from age 13 to 17 had used the new vaccine that prevents cervical cancer, according to the federal health officials on Thursday.

Gardasil, the vaccine made by Merck & Company’s came out in mid-2006, protects against strains of the virus that cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers.

The recommended age for getting the shot is 11 or 12, if possible, before they become sexually active. Also, 11 is the age when children are generally due for a round of vaccinations.

Many families were cautious about the safety of new vaccines. The selling price is $375 but many health insurers now cover it. They also question if the vaccine is for lifetime or a booster shot will be needed.

Merck officials said they were pleased with the vaccination rate.

The survey was done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in late 2007 based on household telephone. The results are based on nearly 3,000 girls ages 13 to 17 for whom the researchers could verify vaccination information through medical records.

In the USA Today report, vaccine proponents thought the shot would dramatically drop the nearly 4,000 cervical cancer deaths that occur each year in the United States.

The CDC also studied other teen vaccination rates and the overall trends were good, Dr. Lance Rodewald, director of the CDC's Division of Immunization Services said in a prepared statement.

"We are seeing more preteens and teenagers being protected against serious, sometimes deadly diseases. But we remain short of our goals. For almost all of these vaccines we want at least 90% of adolescents to be fully immunized."