Anti-vaccine movement 'subjecting' women to cervical cancer, says doctor

Vaccine expert Dr. Peter Hotez said in an interview that aired Wednesday on "Rising" that the anti-vaccine movement is resulting in more women not getting vaccinated for cervical cancer. 

"We're seeing lots of teenage girls whose parents are withholding their vaccine, so it's so sad we're subjecting a generate of girls and women to cervical cancer for totally phony reasons," Hotez, dean of the School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton on Monday. 

About 12,000 U.S. women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and more than 4,000 will die from the disease even if they seek screening and treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved three vaccines that prevent infections that can cause the human papillomaviruses (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancers. 

The National Cancer Institute reports that all three of the vaccines, Gardasil, Gardasil 9 and Cervarix prevent infections that can cause roughly 70 percent of cervical cancers. 

Hotez said that western states have seen a growing number of parents withholding vaccines from their children, including cervical cancer vaccines. 

"It tends to be more of a western states phenomenon than an eastern states phenomenon. So we're seeing counties in Texas and Arizona and Utah, and then up in the Pacific Northwest, Idaho, Washington State, Oregon," he said.

"We have a high percentage of kids whose parents are opting them out of getting vaccinated. So they're not getting their measles vaccine, they're not getting a flu vaccine, and those teenage girls are not getting their cervical cancer vaccine," he said. 

— Julia Manchester