Popular fears about vaccines -- including the belief that the measles, mumps and rubella shot causes autism -- are unfounded, a study released Thursday by the Institute of Medicine reported.
But another report released Thursday, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted with some alarm that many parents still shun another recommended vaccine: the three-shot series that protects against human papilloma virus (HPV), a widespread sexually transmitted virus, some types of which can cause cervical cancer.
The CDC recommends the vaccine for 11- and 12-year-old girls, and suggests that older teenage girls who have not yet had the shots get it, too.
About 49% of teenage girls have received at least one dose of the vaccine, an improvement of about 4% over the previous year, the agency reported in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. But rates of immunization against tetanus, diphteria and pertussis, and meningococcal meningitis -- also recommended for teens -- increased more steeply, from about 56% to about 69%, and from about 54% to about 63%, respectively.