The American Cancer Society (ACS) has set an aggressive goal to achieve an 80 percent uptake rate among American children with two doses human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine by 2026. To gain that coverage, 14 million more preteen children would need to complete the two-dose series, for a total of 57.62 million doses above and beyond the number of vaccinations given to date. HPV vaccine is one of the most expensive vaccines on the CDC recommended childhood vaccine schedule, costing a pricey $168 to $204 per dose, with Merck being the sole producer of HPV vaccine (Gardasil) in the U.S.

The rationale ACS has given for setting the 80 percent HPV vaccine coverage goal is based on the number of reported cancers and cancer deaths associated with chronic HPV infection in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that about 42,700 (24,400 in women and 18,300 in men) are diagnosed with an HPV-related cancer annually.3 HPV is believed to be responsible for 63 to 91 percent of cervical, anal, vaginal, oropharyngeal, vulvar and penile cancers.

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