Posted by on May 27, 2013 - 9:06am

A significant number of parents are not allowing their daughters to receive the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine, despite an increase in doctors recommending it. The HPV vaccine is a series of three shots given to pre-teen and teen girls and boys over the course of six months to prevent HPV and related conditions, most notably, cervical cancer in women.

Between 2008 and 2010, the percentage of doctors recommending the HPV vaccine rose from 48% to 52%. However, the CDC reports that only around one-third of eligible girls have received the HPV vaccine. In a study of parents not planning on having their daughters receive the vaccine, the percentage of those concerned about its safety increased from 5% to 16% over the course of three years. Another 17% cited the lack of necessity of the vaccine as the reason their daughters won’t receive it.

In response to concerns over the safety of the HPV vaccine, Dr. Joseph Bocchini, a pediatrician on the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has stated that “we have not identified a significant likelihood of serious adverse events following vaccine” and that it “is a very safe vaccine.” Claims that the vaccine is not necessary appear weak after identifying what results from HPV. Nearly all instances of cervical cancer are caused by HPV, and many cases of vulvar and vaginal cancer are linked to it. This doesn’t mean men are exempt from HPV. 95% of anal cancers and 60% of oropharyngeal cancers (cancers in back of the throat, base of the tongue and tonsils) are caused by HPV. Vaccinating both boys and girls significantly reduces the risk of them having several forms of cancer in the future.

Increasing education efforts may help increase the rate in which children receive the HPV vaccine. Currently, there is a strong correlation between receiving a doctor’s recommendation and receiving the vaccine. However, many teens do not see a primary care provider regularly in the years they can be vaccinated. Additionally, parents may not know about the vaccine, or feel they don’t know enough about it and how it can help their children. To tackle these problems, education programs that target the general public are necessary.

For more information on the HPV vaccine, click here.



Hensley, Scott. "Worried Parents Balk at HPV Vaccine for Daughters." NPR. 18 March 2013.
"HPV and Cancer." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 5 February 2013. 

Posted by on August 30, 2012 - 2:05pm

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends pre-teens ages 11 to 12 to get the following vaccines: one dose of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine, two doses of meningococcal conjugate vaccine, three doses of human papillomavirus vaccine and a yearly influenza vaccine.  With the school year approaching, this may be the ideal time to go as many teens will require physicals.

Pre-teens may also need to catch up on missed vaccines or vaccines that require multiple dosages.  The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendation for preteens can be found  at

The HPV vaccine prevents many kinds of cancer.  HPV infection can result in cervical cancer for women, penile cancer in man, anal or throat cancers in both genders.  The vaccine Gardasil can also protect against genital warts caused by sexual or skin on skin contact.  The vaccine has proven safe and effective for both sexes from ages 9-26. The ACIP suggests that adolescents start these vaccinations (one of three) at age 11 or 12, but older adolescents who missed the vaccinations can still catch up as long as they begin as soon as possible.  However, females should not get the vaccines past age 26 and males should not get the vaccines past age 21.  It is recommended that males who have sex with other males receive the vaccines until age 26.

While eleven and twelve may seem young to receive this vaccine, it is required so that all three doses are complete before any sexual activity occurs.  More antibodies against HPV are produced when vaccinated at a younger age.

Anyone under the age of 18 who are registered in new group or individual private health plans are able to receive certain vaccinations without any cost-sharing requirements-when provided by an in-network provider.  These vaccinations include Tetanus, Diptheria, Pertussis, Haemophilus Influenza Type B, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Human Papillomavirus, Inactivated Poliovirus, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Meningococcal, Rotavirus, and Varicella.

For additional information see:


Office of Adolescent Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices:


Posted by on February 11, 2012 - 7:37am

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has strengthened and expanded its recommendation for vaccinating boys and young men with the quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, primarily to reduce the risk of anal cancer, penile cancer, and certain types of head and neck cancers caused mainly by HPV 16. The updated recommendations were published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report last October and online January 31 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

ACIP calls for the routine [HPV] vaccination of males aged 11 to 12 years, with catch-up vaccination recommended for males aged 13 to 21 years. The recommendations specifically call for vaccination with Gardasil, which protects against infection with four HPV types: 6, 11, 16, and 18. Types 6 and 11 cause genital warts, and types 16 and 18 cause cancer.

They also recommend that  HPV vaccination for previously unvaccinated males aged 22 to 26 years who are immunocompromised, who test positive for HIV infection, or who have sex with men.


Posted by on January 9, 2012 - 4:59pm

Despite some assumptions to the contrary, young women who receive recommended vaccinations to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and associated cancers do not engage in more sexually risky behavior. That is the cautious determination of a national study by The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reported in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Lead study author Nicole C. Liddon, Ph.D. advised against drawing too broad a conclusion from the study, while explaining the motivation behind it.

“Because of perceived risk that young women would behave recklessly, parents, providers, policy-makers and other STD opponents raised concerns when the FDA first licensed and approved the HPV vaccine in 2006,” said Liddon. “It was clear that we needed to determine whether a relationship existed between being vaccinated against a sexually-transmitted disease and sexual behavior.”

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. with an estimated 6.2 million new infections annually, according to the study. The disease is linked to various cancers, including cervical and oral.   The authors obtained data from more than 1,200 women ages 15 to 24 years, interviewed as part of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), including demographic and insurance information as well as specific information about sexual education and behaviors and receipt of the HPV vaccine. Age at vaccination was not available, making it uncertain whether HPV vaccination came before or after the start of sexual behaviors.

The researchers found no differences in sexual experience between the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups. Interestingly, among sexually active young women ages 15 to 19, those who had received the vaccine were more likely to report always using a condom in the past four weeks than those who had not received the vaccine.

“The study helps us answer a question that has captured the imagination of millions of Americans: Does HPV vaccine cause teen girls to have sex earlier or more often?” said Noel T. Brewer, associate professor of the department of health behavior and health education at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “Liddon and her colleagues clearly show that the vaccine does not promote sexual disinhibition,” Brewer continued. “These data are only a preliminary answer to the question as they are from a cross-sectional study of girls’ and women’s self-reports of vaccination. However, the study offers us some of the only data on how HPV vaccine affects behavior.”

Liddon concurred, adding that “the lack of association between vaccination and risky behavior should help assuage concerns between disinhibition and the HPV vaccine. At the same time, we stress this isn’t a definitive answer as to whether or not a relationship exists. Further studies are needed to look at possible causality.”

Source:  Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health

Liddon, N.C., Leichliter, J.S., Markowitz, L.E. (2011). Human Papillomavirus Vaccine and Sexual Behavior Among Adolescent and Young Women. American Journal of Preventive Medicine

Posted by on September 3, 2011 - 7:41am

Protect your daughter from cervical cancer by getting her the HPV vaccine. It takes 3 shots to complete the series, so make sure she gets them all to be protected.
It's easy to get very busy with school, activities, work, and all of the juggling that parents of preteens and teens do every day. For the sake of your daughter's health, take the time to get her the life-saving HPV vaccine to protect against cervical cancer. Every year in the U.S., about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and 4,000 die. If we protect girls now, we could reduce disease and cancer due to HPV.   About 20 million people, most in their late teens and early 20s, are infected with HPV, the type of virus that causes cervical cancer. That's why it's important to protect preteen and teen girls early through vaccination.

The HPV vaccine is safe and effective and is given in a series of 3 shots over about a six-month period. The second shot is given 1 or 2 months after the first, and the third shot is given 6 months after the first shot. It is very important to complete all of the shots to be fully protected. 35 million doses of HPV vaccine have been safely given to girls across the country.

If your daughter is age 11 years or older, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) recommend you vaccinate now to protect her against cervical cancer.    If your daughter is older than 11 or 12 and has not started these shots, it's not too late.