Understanding the HPV Vaccine in Chicago
Many parents have heard of HPV and have seen the television commercials for the vaccine but aren’t quite sure what it’s all about. Alzein Pediatrics is here to explain what parents should know about the HPV vaccine.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of more than 150 related viruses that infect both females and males. These common viruses infect about 13 million people each year, including teens. It is typically transmitted during intimate contact.
Some HPV infections can lead to certain types of cancer. In fact, HPV is estimated to cause nearly 36,500 cases of cancer every year in the United States. The virus is so common, about 8 out of 10 people will get it at some point in their lives. Most infected people don’t know when they’re infected and fortunately, most HPV infections go away on their own without creating lasting health problems.
However, we don’t know which infections will turn into cancer. HPV infections can’t be treated, but a vaccine can help prevent infection. The HPV vaccination can prevent 33,700 of these cancers by preventing the infections that cause them.
The HPV vaccine can help protect children against many types of cancer that develop later in life:
- For females: cancers of the cervix, throat, vagina, vulva, and anus
- For males: cancers of the throat, penis, and anus
What Parents Should Know About the HPV Vaccine
It is normal for many parents to be worried when they hear that their children have developed HPV. It can seem scary and difficult to work with. Here is what parents should know about the HPV vaccine to help prevent this disease in their child.
How is the Vaccine Administered and When?
Most children need two doses of HPV vaccine when vaccinated before the age of 15. The vaccines should be given after age 11, with about six months between the two injections. When your child is older than 15 years, they should receive three shots.
You can take advantage of nearly any visit to Alzein Pediatrics to get recommended vaccines for your child including:
- Annual checkups
- Sports physicals
- Annual flu shot or other vaccine visits
The vaccine is not recognized as effective if not administered by age 26.
Is the Vaccine Safe?
Yes, the HPV vaccine is safe. It prevents cancer and there is no evidence that getting the HPV vaccine affects reproductive health. In fact, because the vaccine prevents many cancers of reproductive organs, it could be considered to help people retain reproductive health.
The most common side effects from HPV vaccination are mild and might include: fever, headache, and pain and redness in the arm where the shot was given. Talk to Alzein Pediatrics if your child has an allergy to yeast or to any other component of the vaccine.
Success Rate of Vaccine
HPV infections, genital warts, and cervical pre-cancers (abnormal cells on the cervix that can lead to cancer) have dropped dramatically since the vaccine has been in use in the United States.
- Infections with HPV types that cause most HPV cancers and genital warts have dropped 88% among teen girls and 81% among young adult women.
- Among vaccinated women, the percentage of cervical precancers caused by the HPV types most often linked to cervical cancer have dropped by 40 percent.
The evidence is clear. The HPV vaccine is safe and effective. People who received HPV vaccines have been followed for at least 12 years, and protection against HPV the vaccine provides has remained high, with no evidence of decreasing over time.
If your child is entering their teen years, or is over the age of 10, make an appointment to begin the HPV vaccine series. You’ll be protecting your child against deadly and debilitating cancers.