(CBS) — Thanks to a federal grant, the City of Chicago hopes to boost the number of girls – and boys – immunized against a potentially dangerous virus.
The $800,000 grant from the CDC will allow the Chicago Public Health Department to spread the word about the importance of pre-teen girls and boys getting the vaccine against HPV – the human papillomavirus which can lead to cervical and other cancers later in life. D
r. Julie Morita, head of the department’s immunization program, says when the vaccine was introduced about a decade ago, the recommendation was mainly for girls.
“The studies about other cancers – general cancers and head and neck cancers – took a little bit longer to do and those data were available more recently. And so as of 2011, the recommendation has been for all boys to get the vaccine.”
Chicago current coverage rate for girls aged 13 to 15 is 38 percent, above the national average, but still low. The city hopes to raise it to 80 percent by 2020.