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The HPV Vaccine – Yes, you SHOULD get it!

I don’t exactly make it a secret how I feel about getting my kids vaccinated, as you can read in previous posts. I think a majority (NOT all mind you) of people who choose to opt-out of vaccinations are buying into a misinformation and unproven theories. While my first instinct is to shrug my shoulders and let people make decisions for themselves, it’s hard when I am very aware that a serious drop in vaccinations within my community could put my own children at risk. Over the last year outbreaks of diseases that had previously been under control, like measles and whooping cough have made a comeback. And measles cases in the United States suddenly reached a 15-year high last spring, this coincides with a decrease in vaccinations.

As I mentioned I do believe a good majority of the people not vaccinating their children are making that decision based on misinformation and nothing has proven that truer than what we’ve seen happen in the news lately regarding one of the newest vaccines, the HPV vaccine. Here is a vaccine that protects against the human papillomavirus virus, or HPV, a sexually transmitted infection that can cause cancer.

This is a vaccine that can prevent a cancer causing infection. The American Academy of Pediatrics, The FDA, and the entire medical community stands unified in the use of the HPV vaccine in children ages’ 11- 16.

There have been more than a quarter of girls and women ages 14 to 49 who have been infected, with the highest rate, 44 percent, in those ages 20 to 24. In fact researchers believe more than half of all adults have been infected with HPV at one point in their lives. While most people are able to fight of the virus, it is in the people who are unable to fight off the virus that it turns into cancer. HPV has been found to cause cancers of the penis, anus, vagina, vulva and parts of the throat.

12,000 cases of cervical cancer and 4,000 deaths happen every year in the United States. Studies show that the HPV vaccines were 93 to 100 percent effective at preventing infection with HPV Type 16 and Type 18, the two most common cancer-causing strains of the virus.

So if the facts are all in order and the medical community all in agreement, why is the CDC reporting that last year only 32 percent of teenage girls received all three shots needed to prevent HPV infection? And why are those numbers expected to drop even more significantly this year?

First of all the aforementioned misinformation regarding vaccines. Despite the facts, people still fear vaccines. The HPV vaccine has been found to be safe. This report still recommends the HPV vaccine and has deemed it safe despite finding “strong and generally suggestive” — though not conclusive — evidence that the vaccine could cause severe allergic reactions in some rare occasions. As someone who is dangerously allergic to penicillin and guefesinin (a simple expectorant found in many cold medicines). I’ve learned to live with the fact that every medicine or vaccine has a small pool of people who are allergic to it. This includes ibuprofen, acetemiphen, and aspirin. As rare as they may be, they exist and will always exist. That’s no reason to put young people at risk for cancer.

The second reason the medical community is having a hard time getting people to vaccinate their children with the HPV vaccine, is that the infection it prevents is sexually transmitted. Sex is something your child is going to grow up and do at some point. Unless you’ve already made arrangement for them to join a convent or monastery and have somehow guaranteed that they will never want to marry or have children of their own–your child will someday have sex. Protecting your child from an infection that effects half the population and could lead to your child having cancer is NOT encouraging your 11 year old to start having sex. It just isn’t. So get over it. What is IS doing is taking preventative measures to prevent cancer in one of the people you love and cherish most.

Another reason we can unfortunately expect to see a decline in vaccines is Representative Michele Bachmann, candidate for president who claimed the vaccine was “dangerous.” Medical experts of course quickly came to the defense of the vaccine, but her words have already created more fear regarding the HPV vaccine, despite being completely false. The harm to public health caused by such flagrant disregard for public safety in the political arena by Bachman is already done. “These things always set you back about three years, which is exactly what we can’t afford,” said Dr. Rodney E. Willoughby, a professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a member of the committee on infectious diseases of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The bottom line is that the HPV vaccine is a SAFE vaccine that the medical community agrees prevents cancer. Really, this should be a no brainer. If your child is between the ages 11 or 16 and has not had the HPV vaccine, please visit your pediatrician and ask about it.

One in three people will get cancer. If you have a chance to protect your child from being that one, shouldn’t you?

33 Responses to “The HPV Vaccine – Yes, you SHOULD get it!”

  1. miriama59

    I get pretty upset by people choosing to not vaccinate their children. Their decision affects many others around them and yes, I believe they are misinformed. I am friends with a woman who had polio as a child. How soon we forget these things..

    Reply
  2. RCA Ieftin

    Some kids have had side effects and some died. I wouldn't do it be a good parent know were your kids are at all times don't let them go into risky situations. You don't need a vaccine that you don't even know what is in there. We all need morals in this day, and age.

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  3. Meghan Shuster Harvey

    Do you have links to verify those side effects and deaths (actual news articles or medical journal entries)? If it's so risky why is the entire community supporting it (and vaccines in general)? And how can you verify your child won't ever get HPV? Can you track the person they marry and their entire sexual history? Can you verify each and every partner their spouse has ever had? You CAN'T track those things. But you CAN get your child vaccinated.

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  4. Jenn

    AMEN sister! I am so tired of hearing about these crazy right wing Christians that think getting a vaccine is going to encourage their kids to have sex. Idiots!!

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  5. Meg

    Do you know if they are ever going to suggest boys getting the vaccine and whether or not boys also getting vaccinated would stop the spread?

    Tom and I are actually one of the few who are each other's "only one". We have rather conservative beliefs about sex and are evangelical Christians who are teaching our boys "old fashioned values" like RCA (above) wants taught.

    And I still think it's a no-brainer to vaccinate girls (and maybe boys, if it would help). Rape, the heat of the moment, my kids not following my values regardless of what I do teach them, marriage partners who didn't wait (even if my kids did–which, given the changes in culture, is even less likely now!)–so many things can happen to ruin our ideas of "best case" (and I know not everyone even thinks there is a best case, I'm addressing my own situation).

    And cancer kills. I'd rather my children lose their virginity than their lives.

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  6. Meghan Shuster Harvey

    Meg, good for you! Now it is my UNDERSTANDING, (please confirm with your doctor) that boys CAN get the HPV vaccine if requested. I believe that girls are at higher risks for cervical cancer which is why they are the main focus, but there are types of cancer that can be caused by HPV that men can get too. Best idea is to ask your doctor at your child's next well child check-up, anything that protects my kids (boy or girl) from any type of cancer is on my priority list.

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  7. morgan

    To tell you honestly, I am terrified of shots. Actually, I have an aversion to hospitals or anything related to it. But I do admit, my kids would need this for their own protection considering that cancer seems to run like the common cold in our family (both sides). I'd rather be safe than sorry.

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  8. mal kaplan

    i have an auto immune disease..which makes it easier for me to catch anything-adding to it that i am a senior citizen..it is so important to speak to your doctor as i have.. it is doubly important for me to get shots from the flu on..but always speak to your doctor first.!

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  9. Star

    While I appreciate your post, I have to say I disagree. We will not be vaccinating HPV. We do get most vaccines though…

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  10. Janette

    Yes to the HPV Vaccine since One in three people will get cancer. As a precaution to protect the child from being that one; yes to the HPV Vaccine.

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  11. paula lee

    You have to weigh the pros against the cons with everything in life and as a rule…I think vaccinations do way more good than bad. I will say that I strongly recommend getting the HPV vaccine and both of my daughters will be getting theirs very soon. Here's why…..In June I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and had to have a complete hysterectomy. Had this vaccination been available when I was young, this most likely would not have happened to me. And I wouldn't wish the misery on anyone…

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  12. Sarah Kay

    Well, as long as there is freedom of choice there will always be people choosing not to vaccinate, but I love how you put it into perspective at the end by saying, "one in three people will get cancer, if you can protect your child from being that one, shouldn't you?"

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  13. tetheredmommy

    I was just thinking about this vaccine yesterday, after I overheard a girl at my gyno's office, distraught that she had an STD. I don't know what she had but if there was a shot that prevented that emotional and physical distress in those that were at risk, I'm all for it. No, we don't want our kids having sex, but it's probably going to happen. I'd like to make sure both my kids are protected as possible.

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  14. Tesa Shelton

    I think getting this vaccine is the correct thing to do, for all kids. It protects them from what can occur in the future.

    Reply
  15. Houston

    While it is true that some of the comeback of some of these diseases may be in part due to decreases in vaccinations, it must also be noted that the bacteria and viruses that cause these diseases are constantly changing. Their DNA is constantly rearranging and adapting–faster than our medicines can. While vaccinations are important and I believe a majority to be safe, we should look deeper into the issue at how we can fend off these pathogens more effectively.

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  16. artcain

    I agree. It's a risk and it's something that can alter a young person's life forever.

    Reply
  17. Kim

    Any drug (regardless of its benefits) will cause a negative effect in a small portion of people. That goes for vaccines and even minor products like cough drops. Everything you do has some sort of risk. The HPV vaccine adversely effects a minimal percentage, but it protects the overwhelming majority from future illness. It is almost guaranteed every kid will lose their virginity during their lifetime. Why not try and prevent any negative outcomes from the activity they will likely participate in? I think the HPV vaccine is an example of the positive reasons to do it outweighing the risks involved.

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  18. Susan Smith

    Thanks for the information, I was just talking to me Dr about this. I think it a good idea to get the vaccine.

    Reply
  19. heather c

    I think before anyone subjects their child to the newest and greatest vaccine, they should thoroughly research it. Can we actually trust the people selling it (and making money from it) AND promoting it as a perfect solution? Why are those who question it put into an extremist category?

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  20. Tammy Greer

    My oldest daughter who is 23 did not get vaccinated for this until she had three pap smears come back with abnormal cells in them. She had to undergo a couple of procedures and the doctor told us she really should get the HPV vaccination.. She has. I know they are expensive but the health department will do them for free if the child is under 18. I say "Don't delay. Get the HPV vaccine today!"

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  21. mal k.

    i have mixed feelings regarding it…however if michelle bachman is against it…i think knowing more regarding it i may be for it. most of the times she talks as if she really does not know the facts or interprets the facts to her way of thinking…both her and husband i may add.

    Reply

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