- Kids Health
HPV Vaccine For Boys: Why You Should Consider It
Gardasil, also known as the HPV vaccine helps protect against certain cancers spread via intimate contact.
According to the CDC, six million people are affected with the Human Papillomavirus every year. But the virus and the resulting cancers caused by the virus may be prevented with the HPV vaccine.
Girls are not the only ones that need the vaccines. It is now recommended for boys ages 11 or older as part of their regular immunization schedule.
You should always talk to your doctor about what the best options are for your child.
Here is some information about the vaccine and its benefits for boys
What Ages of Boys Should Have the Vaccine
The vaccine should be administered before the patient engages in intimate relationships.
The recommended ages are around 11 or 12 years of age but it may be given as early as 9 years old, depending on the patient and the circumstances.
According to the CDC, studies have shown that the responses to the vaccine are better in younger patients.
How Many Doses Do Boys Need?
Just like girls, boys will need three vaccinations in order to be fully protected.
The dosing schedule is usually:
- 1st Dose
- 2nd Dose-30 to 60 Days Later
- 3rd Dose-6 months after first dose
At this time, no additional boosters of the vaccine are necessary after this.
How Does the HPV Vaccine Work?
The HPV vaccine is created using synthetic viruses that mimic HPV.
Just like other vaccines, the body's immune system reacts to this foreign substance and "learns" to look out for it if there is future exposure.
The boosters insure that full immunity to the virus is developed by the patient.
Controversy Over HPV Vaccine
Just as with most vaccines, especially new ones, controversy has been quick to follow the six year old vaccine.
Claims that the studies by Merck are flawed and of injuries caused by the vaccine are rampant on the internet.
An article in Forbes by Matthew Herper touches on the controversy and the frustration felt by those who see the new vaccine as promising.
Herper tells the story of a man who went to the doctor with a lump in his throat which turned out the be tonsil cancer caused by HPV.
The HPV Vaccine will reduce a man's chances of getting this kind of cancer and other cancers by at least 75%.
Herper also notes that vaccine controversy is spurred on by politicians who are looking to get elected.
Fears and false statistics feed into other people's fears and understandings about immunizations, resulting in less vaccinations.
As a result, preventable diseases are now becoming more and more common.
HPV has now joined the list of preventable diseases, but the fear and controversy are still prevalent.
Specific Fears About HPV Vaccine
Many parents and patients express certain fears, partly as a result of sensationalized stories and anecdotes and partially through fears based on personal values.
Gardasil has been proven to be very safe through independent studies. Side effects are usually mild and not permanent.
- Side Effects
- Reaction in arm such as redness, pain or swelling
- Mild to Moderate Fever
- Dizziness or light-headed feeling.
Those who are against the vaccine cite other information such as the claims by 49 victims of vaccine injury in 2013.
However the CDC says that there are no unusual reactions to the vaccines (or no more so than any other vaccine.)
The CDC further contends that correlation is not causation and that there may be other answers to some issues that are at first perceived to be vaccine injuries.
Another concern by families who hold more conservative values is that the vaccine will promote promiscuity.
However, an examination of this argument proves to have some holes.
The assumption is that the recipient of the vaccine may develop loose morals; however, the vaccine will also protect an individual whose partner may have been exposed before or during the relationship.
So even though the individual's morals are intact, the partner of the individual may have had exposure to HPV or may be exposed to it if their relationship choices are poor or less committed.
Do you plan to get the Gardasil/HPV Vaccine for your child.
In addition to the protection of the patient from other, potential partner's choices, the HPV vaccine will also protect the patient if he or she makes a bad choice which sometimes happens when youth feel particularly invincible or strays from their family's teachings and beliefs.
In short, moral instruction will be much more likely to guide the teen and young adult.
Herper notes that "vaccines [are] one of the great success stories of modern innovation." However, in the aftermath of Wakefield's erroneous and disproved study on the link between autism and vaccines, all vaccines have come into question and many people are shunning them for fear that stems mainly from sensationalized media accounts and anecdotal stories.
Time To Get Over The Fear And Use Reason
The HPV vaccine has been proven safe and effective. But with only about 30% rate of use among the targeted age groups, its efficacy will not likely be tangible until more people take advantage of the immunization.
With the rise of cancers among older populations which are linked to HPV, giving the current generation a true "shot in the arm" against this particular virus is not only the right thing to do, it is the moral choice.
If your doctor has recommended the vaccine for your son, realize that you are not just giving them a shot to keep them well now, you may very well be insuring a brighter future, free of the illnesses and cancers caused by HPV.
Gardasil Is Safe
References and Further Reading
- US court pays $6 million to Gardasil victims | Washington Times Communities
There are 26 deaths and many serious side effects from the Gardasil vaccine.
- The Gardasil Problem: How The U.S. Lost Faith In A Promising Vaccine - Forbes
U.S. politics and Merck’s bad public image are keeping a breakthrough vaccine from saving hundreds of thousands of lives around the world—and endangering the cures of the future.
- U.S. advisers recommend Gardasil HPV shots for boys| Reuters
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Boys should be routinely vaccinated against the human papillomavirus or HPV in an effort to protect them from oral, anal and penile cancers, and to extend protection of girls from cervical
- Vaccines: HOME page for Vaccines and Immunizations site
CDC's Vaccines & Immunizations web site HOME PAGE