In Manitowoc County, only 38 percent of preteens and teens are being vaccinated against certain cancers.

According to 2016 data from the Wisconsin Immunization Registry, only one third of Manitowoc County 13-18-year-olds are vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) leaving 70% unvaccinated. By remaining unvaccinated, they may be vulnerable to cancers caused by HPV infections.

Persistent HPV infections can cause cancers of the oropharynx (back of the throat, base of the tongue, and tonsils) and anus in men and women; cancers of the cervix, vagina, and vulva in women; and cancers of the penis in men. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the vaccine for girls and boys at age 11 to 12 years for best protection against cancer.

“By vaccinating preteens against HPV today, we are reducing the chances that they become the cancer patients of tomorrow. The bottom line is that HPV vaccine helps prevent cancer,” said Karen McKeown, State Health Official.

Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s heath care provider to find out which vaccines are recommended for their adolescent.

The Manitowoc County Health Department is able to vaccinate preteens with the HPV vaccine for those who qualify for the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. For more information contact the MCHD at 920-683-4155.

Parents and caregivers can find out which vaccinations their child needs and at what age on the Wisconsin Immunization Program webpage. They can also keep track of the shots their preteens have had and what vaccines they may still need through the Wisconsin Immunization Registry.