Is the new HPV vaccine safe? New research points to some concerns about whether or not the vaccine is a safe way to prevent Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Find the answers here, and see photos and video.
When pharmaceutical giant Merck released Gardisil, many advocates were enthusiastic about its potential to prevent the contraction of HPV, an STD that can lead to cervical cancer. Shortly after, it stirred debate amongst many moralists, and even scientists regarding how safe the treatment would be. So far, about 8 million Americans have been treated with Gardisil.
ABC news reported that there have been more than thirty unconfirmed deaths associated with to the use of the vaccine, with some side effects including fainting and blood-clots, which have occurred at a rate much higher than most vaccines.
The CDC reported that the problems did occur more than expected. For every 12,000 doses of the vaccine, there was one incidence of fainting, and about one blood-clot for every 500,000 doses.
Health care officials, such as Dr. Barbara Slade, do feel the new data is a bit troubling, saying:
“The reporting on blood clots was concerning to CDC, concerning in the way that we think it needs further investigation.”
Another reason the vaccine has been controversial is because some leading health care officials have begun to recommend it to girls aged 11 and 12-years-old. Some parents feel that because HPV is an STD that it would send the wrong message, and instead feel that abstinence is a healthier option.
The FDA appears confident that the vaccine is safe, and has not stopped with its recommendation as a means to prevent the spread of HPV. Doctors are now being encouraged to administer the vaccine on a case-by-case basis, once all of the potential risks have been assessed.
Here is a part of a Q&A about the vaccine from the Centers For Disease Control website:
What is the HPV vaccine?
The vaccine, Gardasil, is the first vaccine developed to prevent cervical cancer, precancerous genital lesions, and genital warts due to HPV.
Who should get the HPV vaccine?
CDC recommends the HPV vaccine for all 11 and 12 year old girls. The recommendation allows for vaccination to begin at age nine. Vaccination also is recommended for females aged 13 through 26 years who have not been previously vaccinated or who have not completed the full series of shots.
Is the HPV vaccine effective?
This vaccine is highly effective in preventing four types of HPV in young women who have not been previously exposed to HPV. This vaccine targets HPV types that cause up to 70% of all cervical cancers and about 90% of genital warts. The vaccine will not treat existing HPV infections or their complications.
Is the HPV vaccine safe?
The FDA has licensed the vaccine as safe and effective. This vaccine has been tested in thousands of females (9 to 26 years of age) around the world. These studies have shown no serious side effects. The most common side effect is brief soreness at the injection site. CDC, working with the FDA, will continue to monitor the safety of the vaccine after it is in general use.
How long does vaccine protection last? Will a booster shot be needed?
The length of vaccine protection (immunity) is usually not known when a vaccine is first introduced. So far, studies have found that vaccinated persons are protected for five years. More research is being done to find out how long protection will last, and if a booster dose of vaccine will be needed.
Will girls/women be protected against HPV and related diseases, even if they don’t get all three doses?
It is not yet known how much protection girls/women would get from receiving only one or two doses of the vaccine. For this reason, it is very important that girls/women get all three doses of the vaccine.
Does the vaccine protect against cervical cancer?
Yes, HPV vaccine is the first vaccine developed to prevent cervical cancer. This new vaccine is highly effective in preventing HPV infection, the major cause of cervical cancer in women. The vaccine protects against four types of HPV, including two that cause about 70% of cervical cancer.
For more information, visit the Centers For Disease Control website here.
What do you think? Would you be comfortable receiving the vaccine? Would you allow your daughter to be treated with it? Let us know in the comments section below.
See photos and video below.