Author: Mackenzie Heidkamp
The United States Centers for Disease Control stated that, “Every year in the U.S. about 10,000 women get cervical cancer, and 3,700 die from it”. Scientists and Doctors have discovered that HPV, the most common STD, can cause cervical cancer along with other types of cancer such as oral, anal, vaginal, and penile. That is why Jian Zhou invented the Gardasil 9 vaccination in 1982 which provides a recipient of the vaccine protection against certain strains of HPV that can lead to cancer.
Due to the deadly effects of HPV, many parents across the country want to make sure their children receive the vaccination. However, some others believe the cons greatly outweigh the pros of the Gardasil 9 vaccine. One large con that sways a lot of parents into deciding against the vaccination is the incentive for teens to no longer remain abstinent or practice safe sex. This is the same argument that parents make when they fight against sex education in schools. But, there is one fatal flaw in this argument which is the idea that teens will remain abstinent without this vaccination. With or without the vaccine, the teens of society are bound to make mistakes or do rebellious things in order to spite their parents or explore their youthfulness. That is why, parents should not make the mistake of not protecting their children of deadly cancers just in order to prevent teens from believing they can have unsafe sex, when in reality this behavior goes on no matter what. If parents are genuinely concerned about their teen engaging in unsafe sex, they should educate them about safe practices.
Another reason why parents avoid the HPV vaccine is their fear of harmful side-effects. On the news or online, people hear horror stories of people being hospitalized due to the strength of the vaccine. While it is true that there were 25,176 reports of adverse cases out of 67 million doses given out from 2006 to 2014, that number should not be feared. First of all, the percentage of people feeling an abnormal side-effect was not even one percent. Secondly, of all the people who experienced a symptom, 92.4 percent were not serious. It is common that patients with symptoms only experience fainting, headache, nausea, dizziness, or irritation from the site of injection. It should also be noted that patients who did experience very serious symptoms had pre-existing conditions, so if a parent is concerned, they should have a serious conversation with their child’s primary physician.
The HPV shot should be administered to a vast majority of the population in order to lower the death rate of people dying from certain types of cancer. Parents should look into the vaccine early on because children can receive it from the age of 9 years old, and as children age, they have to receive more doses in order to insure maximum immunity (ex: after age 15, teens need 3 doses of the vaccine). Parents with concerns should do some extensive research and talk with a physician because HPV is a serious virus with irreversible effects.