Iowa HPV vaccination data sparks false claims about vaccine safety

Recent data from the Iowa Department of Health shows that less than 50 percent of 13- to 15-year-olds in the state were fully vaccinated against HPV in 2023. Some regions in Iowa exhibit HPV immunization rates below 30 percent. In response to articles and social media posts about this data, some social media users are falsely claiming that the HPV vaccine is unsafe and that vaccination campaigns are meant for pharmaceutical companies to profit.

Risk level: Medium

Recommendation: False claims about the safety and necessity of HPV vaccines may discourage patients in Iowa from vaccinating themselves and their children against HPV. Messaging may emphasize that HPV vaccines have been rigorously tested and monitored and have been determined to be safe. HPV vaccination campaigns protect against HPV-related cancers. Recent studies from the U.S., the U.K., and Sweden show a decrease in cervical cancer rates in HPV-vaccinated populations, putting some countries on track to eliminate the disease. The CDC recommends the HPV vaccine for adolescents of any gender ages 11 to 12, but anyone between the ages of 9 and 45 can receive it.