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10 - Sex, Lies, and Logistics: Obstacles to Vaccination beyond the Marketplace

from Part Three - The Prevention Problem

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 January 2024

Linda Eckert
Affiliation:
University of Washington
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Summary

Misinformation and suspicion surrounding sexually transmitted HPV – along with the social implications of administering shots to young girls – significantly hinder worldwide uptake of the vaccine. The 2006 U.S. rollout hit a quagmire of public ignorance, suspicion and paranoia, and by 2020, just 61 percent of eligible U.S. girls had been vaccinated. In Japan, anti-vax sentiment led to an HPV vaccine ban, and in Denmark, the vaccine met similar resistance. Nearly twenty years after its introduction in higher-income countries, the vaccine is vastly behind its prevention potential; in lower-income countries, its trajectory has been abysmal. Hang-ups about sexually transmitted infections and baseless fears about the vaccine have made advocating its use a cause laden with stigma. In male-dominated cultures – and in the absence of an existing delivery system – a girls-only vaccine is often stopped before it can start. And yet, without a worldwide commitment to countering misunderstanding through trust-building, hundreds of thousands of women will miss their critical opportunity to beat this disease.

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Chapter
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Enough
Because We Can Stop Cervical Cancer
, pp. 128 - 142
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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