LAS VEGAS — Positive endorsement and encouragement from primary care providers is key to improving uptake of several important vaccines in children and adolescents, according to a speaker at the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners 2015 meeting

Two new vaccines are available to protect adolescents against HPV and meningitis, and pertussis and measles are problem areas in young children, said Mary Beth Koslap-Petraco, DNP, PNP, BC, CPNP, an assistant professor at Long Island University Post in Greenvale, New York, and an Every Child By Two scientific advisory board member.

“Vaccines are the number one public health accomplishment of the 20th century. We need to continue to build on those successes by being providers who are good advocates for parents and spend that minute or two answering questions and being proactive rather than reactive,” Koslap-Petraco told The Clinical Advisor.

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Nine-valent HPV vaccine offers extended protection

In December 2014, the FDA approved a nine-valent HPV vaccine (HPV9, Gardasil 9), offering protection against five additional HPV strains — 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58 — in addition to types 6, 11, 16 and 18 that were covered in the older version.

And in February 2015 the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended replacing HPV4 with HPV9. But will people use it?

Currently, only 50% of U.S. girls have received at least one dose of the quadrivalent (HPV4; Gardisil) or bivalent vaccine (HPV2; Cervarix), and only one-in-three girls completes the three-dose vaccine series.

Despite poor uptake, vaccine safety and efficacy data show the vaccine is a success, with prevalence of vaccine-type HPV strains declining 56% since HPV4 was first introduced in 2006, CDC data indicate. “The vaccine is safe, it works and it lasts,” according to Koslap-Petraco.