For most consumers, following the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) vaccine recommendations for their children teens-credit-cardshas always been a given. Recent reports linking some severe adverse side effects to routine vaccinations, have many consumers taking a closer look at whether their child needs every vaccine that is recommended. One vaccination that has received considerable attention recently is the HPV vaccine. The HPV, or human papillomavirus, vaccine prevents the virus responsible for genital warts and cervical cancer. Here are some important facts to know about the HPV vaccine if you are considering if for your daughter.
Some Facts about HPV
• According to the National Cancer Institute there are over 100 HPV viruses that can infect the genital area.
• Approximately thirty of these viruses can actually cause cancer.
• Currently, the Center for Disease Control estimates that 20 million people are infected with HPV and over 10,000 of those who are women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer.
What vaccines are available?
• Gardasil, developed by Merck, is currently the only vaccine that has been approved by the FDA for use in the United States immunizes against four HPV viruses, two of which cause cancer.
• Cervarix, developed by GlaxoSmithKline, immunizes against 2 HPV strains that cause cancer and is under review for FDA approval.
How does the vaccine work?
• The shots are given in three injections and cause the body to build up a resistance to the virus by imitating it.
• The vaccine does not contain a live virus.
• Gardasil immunizes against the two most common HPV strains that cause cervical cancer and genital warts.
Who should get the vaccine?
• The vaccine is recommended for girls aged 11 and 12, but girls as young as nine can receive the vaccine.
• It is important to have girls vaccinated before they have been exposed to the virus.
• This vaccine is not recommended for women who are pregnant.
• Merck recommends not getting the vaccine if you have an allergy to yeast or any ingredients in Gardasil.
What are the side effects?
• Merck lists common side effects as: pain and swelling at the injection site, headache, fever, dizziness, vomiting, fainting, and seizures.
• The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a national program used by the CDC and the FDA to monitor reactions from vaccines, has received over 14,000 reports of adverse reactions. Seven percent of those reported reactions have been considered serious and include 43 deaths.
Other things to consider:
• The CDC says that the vaccine will not prevent 30% of cervical cancers.
• If your child has already been exposed to one or more types of HPV, the vaccine will be less effective.
Be sure to discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor before deciding what option is the best for your daughter.