Concerns about the negative health effects of the vaccine have also been overblown. The HPV vaccines have shown no dangerous side effects. Yet, anti-vaccine activists, who have been making erroneous claims about the connection between vaccines and autism for years, are more than happy to argue against any mandatory vaccination to decrease public confidence in vaccines in general.
The argument that mandating this vaccine will undermine parental authority is also shaky. Similar arguments could be made for making any vaccine mandatory, but social conservatives are not opposing mandatory chickenpox vaccinations. Also, almost all of the proposed state laws allow parents to opt their child out of mandatory HPV vaccination at their discretion.
Vaccines are made mandatory in order to protect public health, ensuring that enough people will get the vaccination to provide community immunity. Mandating vaccination is also the most effective means to provide public subsidies so low-income children and their parents can afford the vaccine, helping to reduce economic, ethnic, and racial health disparities.
But there are real questions about the benefits of mandating this vaccine so quickly. Few parents know much about HPV or its connection to cervical cancer. Yet, once they understand the potential benefits of the vaccine, they are very likely to support it. A recent study found that targeted educational interventions increased parental support for the vaccine from 55 percent to 75 percent.
Focusing on public education rather than quickly mandating the vaccine—a model used with previous vaccines—could greatly improve public acceptance. Public trust has been weakened, however, by revelations that Merck, the maker of the only FDA approved HPV vaccine, put heavy pressure on state legislators to quickly pass mandatory vaccination laws before a competitor vaccine was approved as well.
Excessive use of these clauses could undermine parental acceptance and confidence in other vaccines as well. But the cost of the vaccine is perhaps its most controversial feature. Cervical cancer disproportionately affects low-income and minority women , so in order to effectively reduce the disease burden, the vaccine would have to be heavily subsidized so those most at risk could afford it.
Cervical cancer is a terrible disease, yet the U. The disproportionate effects of the cancer are largely due to inequalities in healthcare access; half of all women with cervical cancer have never had a pap smear. HPV can cause six types of cancer. Only cervical cancer can be detected early. The other five cancers may not be detected until they cause health problems. Most children only need two doses of HPV vaccine when vaccinated before age 15 years.
Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options Skip directly to A-Z link. Human Papillomavirus HPV. Section Navigation. Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Syndicate. Reasons to Get Vaccinated. Minus Related Pages. HPV can cause cancers of the: Cervix, vagina, and vulva in women Penis external icon in men Anus external icon and back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils oropharynx , in both women and men.
HPV vaccination works. HPV vaccination is cancer prevention. Preventing cancer is better than treating it.
States across the country have been waging a heated debate about whether a new vaccine for human papillomavirus, one of the primary causes of cervical cancer, should be made mandatory for school children. There are certainly legitimate concerns about doing so, including the rapid pace at which legislation is moving forward, the lack of education for parents on the issue, the undue influence of pharmaceutical giant Merck on state legislators, and the tremendous cost of the vaccine.
Yet, there has been little effort to distinguish these concerns from ill-supported arguments put forward by ideologues who oppose the vaccine for political reasons that have nothing to do with ensuring the most successful health intervention. Cervical cancer affects over 11, women annually in the U. The new HPV vaccines could significantly reduce the prevalence of cervical cancer. Social conservatives have used HPV—primarily transmitted through sexual contact—as a major argument against condom safety since the infection can be passed along even with proper condom use, although at a drastically lower rate.
Many conservative advocates therefore decried the vaccine, although public criticism caused them to backpedal and eventually only argue against making the vaccination mandatory. These conservative opponents have largely argued that mandating the vaccine will encourage sexual promiscuity and subvert parental authority.
They have been joined in their opposition by anti-vaccine activists, who have raised their usual concerns about unknown risk factors and government conspiracies. None of these arguments carry much weight. There is no evidence to support the claim that vaccinating young people against HPV will increase sexual promiscuity.
A tetanus shot does not make children more likely to play near rusty metal, nor does it suggest that society condones such behavior. Many states already require infants to be vaccinated against Hepatitis B, a disease primarily transmitted through sexual contact and drug use, and there has been no evidence that this has increased promiscuity.
And since public knowledge of HPV is notoriously low , particularly among young people , it is unlikely that vaccination would impact their decisions in a meaningful way. Concerns about the negative health effects of the vaccine have also been overblown. The HPV vaccines have shown no dangerous side effects.
Yet, anti-vaccine activists, who have been making erroneous claims about the connection between vaccines and autism for years, are more than happy to argue against any mandatory vaccination to decrease public confidence in vaccines in general. The argument that mandating this vaccine will undermine parental authority is also shaky.
Similar arguments could be made for making any vaccine mandatory, but social conservatives are not opposing mandatory chickenpox vaccinations. HPV is estimated to cause nearly 36, cases of cancer in men and women every year in the United States. HPV vaccination can prevent more than 32, of these cancers from ever developing by preventing the infections that cause those cancers. HPV can cause six types of cancer.
Only cervical cancer can be detected early. The other five cancers may not be detected until they cause health problems. Most children only need two doses of HPV vaccine when vaccinated before age 15 years. Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options Skip directly to A-Z link. Human Papillomavirus HPV.
Section Navigation. Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Syndicate. Reasons to Get Vaccinated. Minus Related Pages. HPV can cause cancers of the: Cervix, vagina, and vulva in women Penis external icon in men Anus external icon and back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils oropharynx , in both women and men.
HPV vaccination works.
Study results suggest safety concerns top the list, and that physicians need to step up their patient education and vaccine recommendations. Researchers explain the reasons for why parents chose not to get their child vaccinated with the HPV vaccine Credit: Johns Hopkins Medicine. The findings, published in the November issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health , could help public health officials and professional societies develop new interventions to increase rates of HPV vaccination.
The HPV vaccine has already shown promise in helping to stem long-rising rates of cancers transmitted by the virus, including an estimated 31, cases in the United States annually of cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, oropharynx and anus. The U. Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine—beginning at age 9—in for females and in for males.
Worldwide studies have shown the vaccine to be virtually percent effective and very safe, with the FDA concluding that the vast majority of side effects are minor, and that benefits continue to outweigh adverse events. Despite recommendation by ACIP to include the vaccine as part of the routine childhood vaccination series, current use of the vaccine in the U.
In , the most recent year for which data on vaccination rates are available, only 50 percent of eligible females and 38 percent of eligible males had completed the vaccine series. For the study, the researchers mined data from the — National Immunization Survey-Teen NIS-Teen , a series of annual vaccine monitoring surveys conducted by the U. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The research team analyzed responses to that specific question, which was asked each year from In , there were responses from 3, parents of girls and 7, parents of boys age In there were responses from 1, parents of girls and 2, parents of boys age The question was open-ended, allowing parents to name their reasons rather than choosing from a list.
Rositch and her colleagues, including Anna Beavis, M. They found that for girls, the top four reasons parents gave for not vaccinating stayed relatively stable between and These included safety concerns cited by 23 percent of non-vaccinating parents in versus 22 percent in , lack of necessity 21 percent versus 20 percent , knowledge 14 percent versus 13 percent and physician recommendation 9 percent versus 10 percent.
For boys, the top reasons cited by parents for not vaccinating in all decreased over time. Proponents of Gardasil and Cervarix, however, say that the message is protection, not promiscuity. In the U. This is a life-saving vaccine that can protect girls from cervical cancer. But, he added, he is philosophically opposed to mandating it. As with all medications and vaccines, however, there are some risks associated with Gardasil and Cervarix, but both the FDA and CDC — which monitor the safety of all vaccines, including those used to prevent HPV — maintain that the vaccines are safe.
Some adverse reactions have been reported, but most are mild to moderate problems such as pain or swelling around the injection site, slight fever, headache, nausea, fainting, and muscle aches. There has been no pattern of serious side effects or dangers associated with the vaccine. In fact, a study published earlier this year found that as many as half of all adult males in the U. Some questions have been raised about the effectiveness of the vaccine in men , but a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that Gardasil was 90 percent effective in protecting against HPV and genital warts in older teenage boys and young men.
Advocates for giving the vaccine to boys say that it could be an invaluable tool in preventing further spread of the virus, especially given that vaccination rates in women are so low. As of now, only Gardasil not Cervarix is approved for use in men, but the organization says males ages 9 to 26 may be vaccinated. As is the case with girls, the vaccine is most effective if given before first sexual contact.
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