A look at the misconceptions and facts about Gardasil
You won’t have to search social media websites long to find terrifying anecdotes about the sudden and tragic demise of innocent children who have just received X vaccine.
But just because a story is sensational and caters to parents’ natural desires to keep their children safe, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true — in fact, these stories influence many parents to avoid medical advances that could prevent serious illnesses that are really happening around them everyday.
The HPV vaccine, though shown to be quite safe, is one such medical advance that many people are unsure about because of these dramatic and unsubstantiated stories.
Ask a real doctor: The medical facts about the HPV vaccine
RGU’s own Dr. Saldivar is a speaker for Merck, the company that produces the HPV vaccine, Gardasil.
As a specialist in gynecologic oncology, Dr. Saldivar has extensive experience with the HPV vaccine and is a passionate proponent of its safety and efficacy in preventing HPV and several related types of cancer.
We asked him to shed some light on the real benefits and risks associated with the HPV vaccine so parents can make a decision based on the facts, not just on emotional anecdotes.
What are the benefits of the HPV vaccine?
The HPV vaccine was created to address a real health crisis: Human Papillomavirus.
The virus is so widespread that approximately 80 percent of sexually active people will contract at least one strain in their lifetime. It’s the most common sexually transmitted infection.
Among the 100 strains of HPV we know about, there is a vast range of discomfort and danger. Many infections will come and go without much notice, but there are several strains that can cause particularly unpleasant problems like genital warts.
The most serious complications, however, arise from the strains that can eventually develop into cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, anal, and oral cancers.
In fact, we estimate that 85-90% percent of all cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and ano-genital cancers come from the HPV strains that the vaccine protects against.
Essentially, it’s a vaccine that can prevent not only viruses, but even certain types of cancer in both women and men.
What are the real risks of the HPV vaccine?
A far cry from the dramatic claims of many vaccine-wary groups (you can read more here), the most common side actual effects of vaccination are:
- Pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site
- Fainting immediately after vaccination
Dr. Saldivar has personally found the vaccine to be well tolerated and without side effects.
The claims of sudden death due to blood clots, aneurism, and other shocking side effects, though alarming, are not substantiated.
You can read some of the latest findings about the safety of the HPV vaccine here.
The takeaway: It’s worth a shot
To put the risks and benefits of the HPV vaccine into perspective, children and adolescents are routinely and safely vaccinated against diseases that are either rare (in developing countries) or that the child will never be exposed to, such as diphtheria or polio.
Most children will, on the other hand, eventually be exposed to HPV.
When a virus is common enough to infect 80 percent of sexually active people, and the most serious strains can cause cancer, it makes a great deal of sense to give children the advantage of safe, researched protection with the HPV vaccine.
The most current data supports beginning HPV vaccination for males and females between the ages of 9 to 26 years of age. However, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) supports routine vaccination at ages 11-12yrs along with other recommended vaccinations.
Contact us today to learn more, or to schedule an HPV vaccination
Give us a call today at 915-225-2060 to set up an appointment.
RGU is a trusted partner in keeping you and your family safe and healthy, and we look forward to serving you.