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Money is an issue. Retailing at $390 for the three-dose series, Gardasil is the most expensive childhood vaccine.
Many health insurers pay for the shots, but health officials noted variations in public insurance coverage. A federal program pays for certain children, including those who are uninsured or are in state Medicaid programs, but some states were slower to take advantage of it than others.
Also, it takes three trips to the doctor over six months to get all the shots, and some parents are unable or unwilling to take their kids to the doctor that often.
In South Carolina, many parents have said they are concerned about the safety of the vaccine or that they don't understand why a girl should get vaccinated before she's sexually active, said Heather Brandt, a University of South Carolina public health researcher.
"It's disturbing to see those states at the lower end of participation," she added. "Because those are states with some of the highest rates of cervical cancer."
On the Net:
CDC report: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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