Wednesday’s Ask Dr. Walt — HPV Vaccine

Dear Dr. Walt,

I have respected and enjoyed hearing you from Focus on the Family and other resources. I would like to know what your view is on Immunizations for children. In addition the one in particular HPV Gardasil. Thank You.

—Vaccine Curious in Virginia

Dear Immunization Inquirer,

I have written extensively about vaccination in this blog. Just enter “immunization” or “vaccin” (to capture all blogs on “vaccination” or “vaccine”) in the search box in the upper right corner of the blog, and you’ll find many.

You may also be interested in my blog from Monday: It’s past time for personal belief vaccine exemptions to be banned. In addition, here is a list of my most popular and read blogs on vaccines that you might find useful:

As to HPV vaccine, here’s a piece I just wrote for my “Vaccine News You Can Use” column in the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians Journal.

Rate of HPV vaccination among teen boys at nearly 50 percent, but FPs could do better

In “To Your Health,” the Washington Post reports that “the rate of HPV vaccination among teen boys in the United States surged” last year, “suggesting that more parents and physicians are embracing the message that it’s as important for boys to be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus as it is for girls.” The CDC “reported … that 49.8 percent of boys ages 13 to 17 had gotten at least one of the recommended three doses as of 2015, up 8 percentage points from 2014.” Meanwhile, “the rate for teen girls rose more slowly: Almost 63 percent had gotten at least one dose, compared to 60 percent in 2014.”

In addition, a recent study showed HPV vaccine is even more effective than thought. “After eight years of vaccination, the reduction in the incidence of cervical neoplasia, including pre-cancers, have been reduced approximately 50 percent. This is greater than what was expected—that’s pretty exciting,” said lead researcher Cosette Wheeler. The study also showed that the protection appears to occur even when only one or two of the recommended doses of the vaccine are given. “Right now, the recommendation is three doses for girls and boys before the 13th birthday, so that you are protected before you become exposed,” Wheeler explained.

Added to this is a just-published simple way FPs could do even better. According to the research, to convince parents to get their kids vaccinated against HPV, tell them “I strongly believe in the importance of this cancer-preventing vaccine for [their child’s name].” Sixty-five percent of parents agreed it was a persuasive argument. Surprisingly, even “parents disinclined to vaccinate were most receptive to messages about HPV infection being common, cancers caused by HPV, and HPV vaccine effectiveness.”

So, what’s my bottom line on the HPV vaccine. I’m for it.

 Dr. Walt

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2 Responses to Wednesday’s Ask Dr. Walt — HPV Vaccine

  1. Joanna Stacey says:

    As a Christian ob/gyn mother of 4 girls, ny daughters get vaccinated for everything (despite a vaccination reaction in one of the kids), including HPV. Although I would love to believe my children will be abstinent until marriage, we live in a fallen world. Even if they are abstinent I cannot guarantee their future spouses will be. In the past, I have taken care of a sweet woman dying of cervical cancer, whose husband’s first wife also died of cervical cancer. I hope to never tell my daughter who has cervical cancer that I could have prevented it and I chose not to. Thanks.

  2. Dr. Stacey,

    Great comments and observations. Thanks for posting.


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