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Posts for tag: HPV

September 21, 2019
Category: Immunizations
Tags: immunizations   HPV   Cancer   prevention  



Why does my son need the HPV vaccine?

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP


Why does my son need the HPV vaccine?

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine protects boys against the HPV infections that can cause cancers of the anus, penis, and mouth/throat in men. Plus, when boys are vaccinated, they are less likely to spread HPV to their current and future partners.

HPV is very common: nearly one in four Americans are infected. By getting HPV vaccine at the recommended age—11 or 12 years old—boys and girls get the best protection against HPV cancers. 

Take advantage of any doctor's visitcheckups, sick visits, physicals for sports or school activities—to get your child protected from HPV cancers. Even if the doctor doesn't mention HPV vaccine, be sure to ask about getting it for your child at that appointment.

If your son or daughter is older than 12: if your teen or young adult has not started or finished the series of HPV vaccine shots, it's not too late! Make an appointment with their doctor as soon as possible to complete the series.

Protecting your son now gives him the best shot at preventing these cancers in his future!

Additional Information & Resources:

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP

​Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP, is a practicing pediatrician, author, and mom. Dr. Shu is co-author of Heading Home with Your Newborn and Food Fights. A frequent guest on national and local television, radio, and web-based programs, she is serves as medical editor for, is the Living Well health expert for, contributes medical information to BabyCenter and, and serves on the Parents magazine advisory board. ​

Last Updated
October 16, 2018
Category: Immunizations

Misinformation About the HPV Vaccine Keeps Vaccination Rates Low

The Overwhelming Safety of the HPV Vaccine

Paul A. Offit, MD

September 07, 2018

No vaccine has suffered more from misinformation and ill-founded concerns than the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Antivaccine activists have claimed that HPV vaccine causes chronic pain syndromes, chronic fatigue, sudden death, and a variety of autoimmune disorders. In addition, activists have gone so far as to claim that the HPV vaccine increases risky sexual behavior. These claims are often supported by the media as well as by substandard studies published in predatory journals. Indeed, on December 4, 2013, Katie Couric, in a segment titled "HPV Vaccine Controversy," interviewed two mothers: One claimed that the vaccine had caused her daughter to suffer chronic fatigue, the other that the vaccine had caused an otherwise unexplained death.

As a consequence of such fears, immunization rates for the HPV vaccine remain low. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 53% of girls and 44% of boys have received the recommended doses.[1] As currently constructed, the HPV vaccine—which contains the L1 surface protein from nine different strains—will prevent about 29,000 cases of HPV-associated cancers and 5000 deaths a year.[2] Unfortunately, because only about half of US adolescents have received this vaccine, every year about 15,000 people are destined to suffer and 2000 to die from a preventable cancer.

To the credit of the scientific and medical communities, millions of dollars have been spent on studies examining the safety of the HPV vaccine. Pre-licensure, about 30,000 people were studied for 7 years.[2] Post-licensure, more than 1 million people have been formally studied, examining all manner of chronic pain and fatigue syndromes as well as more than a dozen different rheumatologic diseases.[3,4,5,6] Not surprisingly, the HPV vaccine has not been found to cause any chronic or debilitating condition. Indeed, the HPV vaccine is probably the world's best-studied, modern-day vaccine.

Another Unwarranted Concern Debunked: Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

One concern recently raised by antivaccine activists is that the HPV vaccine causes primary ovarian insufficiency. How this concern was born remains a mystery. HPV doesn't infect the ovaries. And the HPV L1 surface protein doesn't mimic proteins on ovarian cells, which would at least make an autoimmune disease biologically plausible. Nonetheless, the fear persists. To address this concern, researchers at Kaiser Permanente Northwest examined a cohort of 199,078 female patients, finding 120 with a diagnosis of primary ovarian insufficiency.[7] The researchers found no statistically significant elevation of risk for ovarian failure following receipt of the HPV vaccine. They also didn't find an increased risk following receipt of the Tdap, MenACWY, or inactivated influenza vaccines.

The Kaiser Permanente study can now be added to the mountain of evidence that should reassure clinicians and parents that the HPV vaccine is safe. HPV, on the other hand, isn't safe. And until we dramatically increase immunization rates against this common, devastating infection, children will continue to suffer our ignorance.


Medscape Infectious Diseases © 2018 WebMD, LLC

January 20, 2015
Category: Immunizations
Tags: immunizations   Vaccines   HPV   Gardasil   Cancer   teens   tweens  

 These are the Key Facts about the Safety & Effectiveness of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine for Tweens & Teens

HPV vaccine is underutilized in our country, despite the overwhelming evidence of its safety and effectiveness. While vaccination rates continue to improve for the other adolescent vaccines, HPV vaccination rates have not. Data suggest that adolescents and young adults and their parents are not getting strong recommendations for HPV vaccine from their doctors when patients are 11 or 12 years old.

  • More than 175 million doses of HPV vaccine have been distributed worldwide and 57 million doses have been distributed in the United States.
  • More than 7 years of post-licensure vaccine safety monitoring in the United States provide continued evidence of the safety of HPV4. Data on safety are also available from post-licensure monitoring in other countries for both vaccines and provide continued evidence of the safety of HPV2 and HPV4.
  • Syncope can occur among adolescents who receive any vaccines, including HPV vaccine. ACIP recommends that clinicians consider observing patients for 15 minutes after vaccination.

Regardless of a safety profile that is similar to the other adolescent vaccines, parents cite safety concerns as one of the top five reasons they do not intend to vaccinate daughters against HPV.

Efficacy of HPV vaccines

  • Among women who have not been previously infected with a targeted HPV type, both vaccines have over 95% efficacy in preventing cervical precancers caused by HPV 16 or 18.
  • HPV4 also demonstrated nearly 100% vaccine efficacy in preventing vulvar and vaginal precancers, and genital warts in women caused by the vaccine types.
  • In males, HPV4 demonstrated 90% vaccine efficacy in preventing genital warts and 75% vaccine efficacy in preventing anal precancers caused by vaccine types.

Since the vaccine does not protect against all HPV types, it does not replace other prevention strategies, such as regular cervical cancer screening.

Prevention of HPV-associated disease by vaccination

  • Two vaccines (bivalent/HPV2 and quadrivalent/HPV4) are available to protect against HPV 16 and 18, the types that cause most cervical and other anogenital cancers, as well as some oropharyngeal cancers.
  • The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends routine vaccination of girls age 11 or 12 years with the 3-dose series of either HPV vaccine and routine vaccination of boys age 11 or 12 years with the 3-dose series of HPV4.
  • Vaccination is recommended for females through age 26 years and for males through age 21 years who were not vaccinated when they were younger.

The HPV vaccine prevents cancer_no small accomplishment! It is safe & effective. The younger a person is when first immunized_ages 11 & 12 years_the more effective the protection when the individual is older and mature and needs protection. This is not a new vaccine. It has been well tested.