This week there is good news for all parents regarding the safety of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine, as reported from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). This vaccine is given to girls between ages nine and 13 to prevent cancers of the cervix (a part of the uterus) caused by the virus.
A huge study was published that was done in two Scandinavian countries, and which followed almost 4 million females who received the vaccine between 2006 and 2013. The researchers were trying to determine if there was any change in the rate of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other demyelinating nerve diseases in girls who received the vaccine compared to those who did not. The study results showed there was no increase in MS or other demyelinating diseases. This further establishes the safety of this widely used vaccine.
The HPV vaccine was developed after the rate of HPV infections skyrocketed in our population, and it was discovered that HPV infection caused almost all cancers of the cervix in women. Therefore, prevention of the infection is effective in preventing cancers of the cervix, vulva and mouth in girls who had receive the vaccine prior to being exposed to the virus.
However, HPV vaccination is not just for girls and women. In October of 2011, guidelines were released recommending HPV vaccination for boys in the age range of nine to 21. This has been shown effective in preventing penile, anal and oral cancers which were also found to be caused by HPV infection.
What does this mean to us as parents? We have the power to help our children avoid cancer later in life by getting them vaccinated against HPV.
If your child has not been immunized against HPV, you should discuss HPV vaccination for your child with their pediatrician or family physician. With this new study, we can be confident the vaccine is safe for your family.
For more information on HPV and the vaccine, here are some additional sources:
American College of Pediatricians: http://www2.aap.org/immunization/illnesses/hpv/hpv.html