Among girls and women who get their first human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine, the percent who complete all three doses is dropping, according to a new study.
One of the study's authors told Reuters Health she was aware the number of people completing the vaccine series was low to begin with, but she did not expect to see it getting even lower.
"We thought that that would be increasing over time as more people became aware of the vaccine and how it was to be administered," said Dr. Abbey Berenson, a professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.
The HPV vaccine, which goes by the brand names Gardasil and Cervarix, protects girls and women from the sexually-transmitted virus that's linked to cervical cancer.
Girls as young as age nine can start the vaccine series, and catch-up vaccination is recommended for women up to age 26 who have not yet gotten their shots. The vaccine is given in three doses over a six-month period.
One earlier study found that 48 percent of teenage girls had received at least one dose in the vaccine series.
Berenson said she wanted to know how many of those who start the shot series end up completing it.
She and her colleagues looked at the health insurance records of more than 271,000 girls and women, age nine and up, who had gotten a first Gardasil vaccine.
They found just 38 out of every 100 of them received the second and third shots in the next year.