Dec 05, 2017
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recognized NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi and its Children’s Health Center as an “HPV Vaccine Is Cancer Prevention Champion.” The recognition is one of just ten given out nationwide to health centers and facilities that have succeeded in vaccinating a large portion of their 13-to-15-year-old patient population. While the nationwide vaccination rate among all teens is 43 percent, NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi has been able to vaccinate 70 percent of its 13-to-15-year-old population.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vaccine is for protection from most of the cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV is a very common virus that spreads through sexual contact. About 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year. HPV infection can cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in women and penile cancer in men. HPV can also cause anal cancer, throat cancer, and genital warts in both men and women.
To control the spread of HPV in the Bronx, NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi physicians and nurses, led by Dr. Kathleen Porder, embarked, in 2013, on a five-year effort to increase vaccination rates in the target age group. Because the vaccination involves a series of shots and patients relocate over time, the vaccination effort is more complicated, often requiring documentation checks, including outreach for records in other states. The records of foreign-born patients often require translation.
“Our success has not been an overnight achievement,” explained Dr. Porder. “It required an ‘all hands on deck’ approach and thousands of hours of detail-focused work. Our staff, particularly our nursing staff, really went above and beyond to make our vaccination rate a national model.”
Significant effort also went into dispelling the common myth among patients’ parents and guardians that vaccination promotes or leads to sexual activity. “This myth is responsible for countless cases of avoidable cancers,” said Dr. Porder. “The goal must be to complete the series of vaccinations before sexual activity begins to provide a lifetime of protection. Children who are not vaccinated run the risk of contracting the virus, at which point vaccination is too late.”
Those interested in setting up an appointment for their child to be seen in the Children’s Health Center at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi should call.