Friday, October 10, 2008

25% of Teen Girls Have Taken HPV Vaccine

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According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four girls between the age 13 and 17 received at least one shot of Gardasil last year in the United States. Gardasil is the leading drug to fight human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes the majority of cervical cancer cases.

Gardasil was approved not too long ago by the FDA in June 2006. Since then there have been around 10,000 reports of side effects experienced, notably 21 deaths associated with its use. In addition to unknown side effects, Gardasil is one of the most expensive vaccines, costing $486 for the three shot series.

Health officials recommend that girls take their first shot of Gardasil when they are 11 or 12 as a preventative measure before becoming sexually active. They would like to see HPV vaccination rates reach closer to 90%, which is where typical vaccines for chickenpox and measles are currently at.

One alternative to Gardasil is to regularly get checked for cervical cancer by getting a Pap smear test.

Do you think the HPV vaccine should be a standard vaccine like chickenpox and measles? Have you or anyone you know experienced any side effects from Gardasil? Please share your experiences and opinions!

2 comments:

catemars@gmail.com said...

This seems crazy to me. I dont know the stats, but what percentage of people actually contract HPV. Doesn't seem worth the risk at all. I would certainly not encourage my teenage daughter to get this shot. Sounds like a good example of where communication over dinner might be a better/safer option.

JM said...

It seems like a dangerous idea for health officials to be recommending HPV Vaccines for all young girls, especially since it was only recently approved and there have been many side effects reported. Not only that, but HPV is not easily contagious like the typical diseases that require vaccines (chickenpox, measles, etc).

Benefit does not outweigh the downside - possible harm to these young girls and cost on family/insurance.