The Providers of Pediatric & Adolescent Health Partners give this important vaccine to our youth because the HPV vaccine can prevent 9 out of 10 cases of a cancer that affects the tongue, throat, and cervix. Would you not want us to give a vaccine to your child that can prevent 90 percent of a certain kind of cancer?
The HPV vaccine works to prevent 9 out of 10 cases of a cancer that affects the tongue, throat, and cervix and is recommended for both girls and boys starting at 9 – 12 years of age. We give this vaccine to boys because this is the virus that causes warts in the male and other strains of the virus included in the vaccine are the ones responsible for most cases of genital warts and by giving this vaccine we prevent the transmission of this cancer causing virus to our patients’ future partners. In Australia, where resistance to the vaccine is much lower than in the U.S., cases of genital warts dropped by nearly 60 percent in girls and young women and nearly 40 percent in boys and young men following the initiation of a national immunization program.
In the year 2012 (the most recent year for which data are available), cervical cancer killed over 4,000 women in this country and the benefits of vaccination are not limited to cervical cancer as about 70 percent of cases of cancers in the tongue and throat are caused by HPV.
Our Providers recommend starting the series of 3 injections at 9 or 10, with the rare exception of those with a real medical contraindication to receiving the vaccine. We do this because the immune response to the HPV bacteria is far more robust than when given at older ages.
Often we are asked “Why would PAHP recommend a vaccine for their child even though she or he is not sexually active?” What we are offering is protection in the future BEFORE our adolescents may be exposed to the virus since 90% of boys and 80 % of girls can be expected to become exposed to a strain of HPV in their lifetimes. We can also assure our parents that the HPV Vaccine is safe and will not undermine the chaste lifestyle parents hope their teenager will adopt in coming years.
Our fundamental goal with all of the vaccines we give is to protect all kids as comprehensively as possible for any vaccine preventable disease.