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The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has decreased the incidence of the cancer-causing virus among teenage girls by 56 percent since the vaccine was approved in 2006. Despite these striking results, vaccination rates are still low in the U.S. Only one-third of teenage girls have received the full three-dose series of the HPV vaccine.

Doctors aren’t sure why the decline in HPV infections is so great, but believe it could be the result of herd immunity, in which the vaccinated women lower the overall amount of the virus in the population, thus lowering the infection rates. The CDC recommends that both girls and boys get the vaccine at age 11 or 12 to protect them against HPV-related cancers, such as cervical, throat, oral and anal later in life.

Read the full USA Today article.