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HPV Vaccine Still Underused: DOH Official Says It Might Be The Stigma

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Flickr Creative Commons
The Florida Channel
Is the HPV vaccine underused because of stigma surrounding underage sexual activity?

HPV vaccination rates are some of the lowest throughout the country including in Orange County.

The Florida Department of Health’s Terrolyn  Huckaby says she’s seen few negative side effects.

“Me personally, I have not seen any issues, but HPV vaccine is very safe," said Huckaby. "It’s very effective in preventing HPV as well. But vaccines are like any medication they can have side effects as well. Anything can have side effects.”

Instead, Huckaby thinks the stigma around the sexual activity that transmits the virus, might explain why only 60 percent of adolescents are vaccinated against it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say most side effects for the vaccine are mild, although some severe reactions like fainting and allergic reactions have been reported.