National Immunization Awareness Month
August is, among other things, National Immunization Awareness Month. It seems like a good time to discuss HPV Vaccines. There are actually three vaccines (Cervarix, Gardasil, and Gardasil 9), and two protect agains genial warts and anal cancer.
I realize that the HPV Vaccine is still a hotbed issue. Partly because it is difficult and uncomfortable for parents to think about protecting their young children from a future sexually transmitted disease. Also because there are reports and concerns about possible side effects that result from the vaccine.
I freely admit that I don’t have children, so this is not an issue I am every going to have to tackle. Medical professionals that I greatly respect are proponents of the vaccine, but I also hear the stories about autoimmune disorders, etc. that occurred after young girls had the vaccine. I remind you that for years it was a widely held belief that the MMR vaccine caused autism.
I say that only to point out that I think it is important to do some background research from a trusted source that has data to back up their findings as well as have a discussion with your pediatrician about the vaccine for boys and girls. This is a discussion, however uncomfortable it may be, to have sooner rather than later. The vaccine is more effective when given before a person is sexually active, however women can be vaccinated until the age of 26 and men until the age of 21. It is also more effective if you have all three shots in the series, but having two shots provides some protection and is better than one shot.
Here is a link to the CDC factsheets on HPV as well as the vaccines. http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/vaccine.html It is important reading for every parent.