Texas HPV Vaccination Rates Lag Behind Most Of The Country

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelNovember 30, 2017 2:45 pm|

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

People on the Texas Gulf Coast hit by Hurricane Harvey are facing a Thursday deadline to apply for federal disaster aid. Houston Public Media’s Travis Bubenik has more:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says anyone hit by the storm who lives in counties designated for the aid can apply, even if they already have insurance.

FEMA spokesperson Pam Saulsby told the public radio show “Houston Matters” that most people who apply get SOME kind of assistance.

“And assistance can range from home repair, rental assistance, replacement of property and possessions that weren’t covered by insurance.

FEMA says more than $10 billion in Harvey aid has gone to Texans so far. Details on applying are at DisasterAssistance.gov.

 

A new study says Texas is near the bottom when it comes to state vaccination rates for the cancer-causing human-papillomavirus, or HPV.

“In 2016, just less than half of our adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 had gotten at least one dose of HPV vaccine,” says Dr. David Lakey, one of the authors of the report. He says, “That would put us 47th in the nation in the rates of having our kids immunized.”

The University of Texas System Office of Health Affairs report was released Wednesday. Lakey says one reason the vaccination rate for HPV might be low in Texas, compared to other vaccines, is that it’s a sexually transmitted infection.

“When this vaccine first came out people were talking about sexually transmitted diseases, a lot parents thought our kids won’t be exposed, and so didn’t get their kids immunized,” says Dr. Lakey. “I think we’re learning more about more about the variety of cancers this virus causes and how we can protect our kids.”

HPV is associated with a number of types of cancer, including the majority of cervical, throat, and neck cancers, and 35 percent of penile cancers. Despite low vaccination rates overall, Lakey says some areas of Texas are outpacing national vaccination rates. “If you look down at El Paso, El Paso’s doing really well. They had about 66 percent of their adolescents that had received at least one dose. And so if you compared them versus the nation, they’d be at the very top.”

In fact, El Paso County has a higher vaccination rate than every state in the country except Rhode Island.

 

The building that houses the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in Austin is apparently overrun by rats.

The Texas Tribune reports the agency will be spending $60,000 dollars ridding itself of the somewhat ironic infestation.

It has tapped private exterminators from Orkin to finish the job.