Post Content

As parents, we do everything we can to protect our children’s health – for today and for the future. Now there is a powerful weapon to prevent several types of cancer in our sons and daughters: the HPV vaccine. All kids who are 11 or 12 years old should get the three-dose series of HPV vaccine to protect against HPV and HPV-related cancers. Take a few minutes to learn more about HPV vaccine and why it might be an important part of your child’s vaccination schedule.

HPV Cervical Cancer blog image

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus spread by intimate skin-to-skin contact. It is so common that nearly all sexually active adults have had at least one type of HPV in their lifetime.  Around 80 million people currently have HPV and 14 million people are newly infected each year. The problem is that while many cases of HPV clear up on their own, some can cause cancer.

The HPV vaccine can protect against several types of HPV that cause cancer.  But it offers the best protection against these cancers when all three doses are administered early. That’s why HPV vaccination is recommended for preteen girls and boys at age 11 or 12.  Even though the vast majority of pre-teens won’t be engaging in activities that could spread HPV at such a young age, it’s actually the best time to get the HPV vaccine because a pre-teen’s immune response is better than that of a teenager or young adult. This makes the vaccine more effective down the line.

While it’s best to give the vaccine at age 11-12, even if your child is past that age it’s not too late. In fact, HPV vaccine can be given to women up to 26 years old and in men up to 21, and even up to 26 in some cases – ask your family’s health care provider.

The HPV vaccine is safe. All vaccines used in the United States are required to go through extensive safety testing before they are licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Multiple studies conducted both before and after the HPV vaccine became available in 2006 have found absolutely no serious safety concerns for patients who received the HPV vaccine. The most common side effects of HPV vaccine are mild and go away on their own, like pain and redness in the arm where the shot was given.

The HPV vaccine isn’t just safe – it’s also extremely effective. Clinical trials have shown that the HPV vaccine provides close to 100% protection against precancers that can become cancer.  In the four years after the vaccine was made available in 2006, the amount of HPV infections in teen girls decreased by 56%.  The bottom line? The more adolescents who get the HPV vaccine series, the more people will be protected from cancer in the future. Yet only 4 out of 10 girls and 6 out of 10 boys currently get the HPV vaccine. Imagine how many cancers could be prevented if those numbers increased!

The HPV vaccine is safe, effective, and reduces your kids’ chances of getting an HPV-related cancer. Find out more – contact your child’s health care provider and start the conversation about HPV vaccine.

 

 

Written By:


Immunization Outreach Coordinator in the Bureau of Infectious Disease

Tags: , , , , , ,

Recent Posts

Making Your Summer POP! posted on Jul 19

Making Your Summer POP!

Few things are better than an ice-cold popsicle on a hot summer day!  I have vivid memories from my childhood running around through the sprinkler and various neighbors’ yards enjoying the summer sun.  At that age, having a messy red ring around your mouth from   …Continue Reading Making Your Summer POP!

Massachusetts is Rewarding Small Businesses for Healthy Workplaces posted on Jul 18

Massachusetts is Rewarding Small Businesses for Healthy Workplaces

Wellness programs are good for business. They can lead to better performing workers, lower absenteeism and decreased healthcare and insurance costs. Now, small businesses can be rewarded for these efforts! The Massachusetts Wellness Tax Credit Incentive gives small businesses in Massachusetts a state tax credit   …Continue Reading Massachusetts is Rewarding Small Businesses for Healthy Workplaces

Climate and Health: We Track That! posted on Jul 15

Climate and Health: We Track That!

Extreme heat events are one of the most common causes of weather-related deaths in the United States – and the number of heat-related deaths is rising. More frequent and severe heat waves are likely to occur as climate change continues to change weather patterns. These   …Continue Reading Climate and Health: We Track That!