Many parents worry that the hpv vaccination shots may be dangerous to their daughters. The fear is that the vaccine, which is known as Gardasil and is manufactured by Merck & Co, was rushed to the market and may have dangerous side effects, or perhaps even cause death. In addition, parents whose insurance won't pay for the vaccine, or pays for only a portion of the vaccine, may find the price tag of nearly $400 a bit steep.
Controversy regarding the hpv vaccination grew over the years as many states introduced legislation requiring the first booster vaccine before a girl enters middle school. Skeptical doctors and parents questioned claims about the vaccine's effectiveness, adding to the controversy.
As you contemplate whether or not you want your daughter to receive the hpv vaccination shots you should consider the following:
About the HPV Vaccination Shots
- Ideally, a girl should receive the initial booster at 11 or 12, but the boosters could be offered up to age 18. Keep in mind that the three required boosters should all be administered within a six month period.
- While there is a risk of side effects regarding any vaccine, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) gave its approval of Gardasil for tween and teen girls. In the summer of 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and the FDA reported that a government study found the vaccine to be safe. (The study did find that patients who received Gardasil fainted and developed blood clots more often than they did when receiving other immunizations. However, patients who experienced problems were often overweight, had other health problems, or were on birth control pills, according to researchers.)
- Because Gardasil is so new, it's likely that we won't know of its true risks and benefits for years to come.
- From June 2006 to June 2008, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) received just under 10,000 reports against Gardasil. Of those reports, 94 percent were regarded as non-serious, the remaining six percent were considered serious side effects (defined as death, requiring hospitalization, illness, or disability). According to the CDC, the percentage of serious side effects regarding Gardasil is about half of the average for vaccines overall. You should take the time to read what the CDC has to say about Gardasil and the safety of the vaccine.
- Some parents worry that by agreeing to the hpv vaccination shots, they are encouraging their daughters to engage in sexual activity. Studies show that children who are educated about sex and safe sex practices are not more likely to engage in sexual activity. They are, however, more likely to understand how to protect themselves, and prevent pregnancy, if they do become sexually active.
- While several states have introduced legislation requiring the initial booster before a girl can enter middle school, parents do have the option of opting out if they decide against the vaccine.
- Because your daughter is still a tween, you have some time to think about your decision. However, it's important that you don't wait too long. As unbelievable as it may seem, one in three tweens report that they have dated members of the opposite sex, and of those one in four report that sex is a part of tween dating.
- The tween years are the best years to talk to your daughter about sexual reproduction, safe sex, as well as your family's beliefs concerning the two. Ideally, your daughter should be well informed, and know where you stand before she's a teenager.