On October 5th, 2018, the FDA approved the HPV vaccine for men and women between the ages of 27 and 45.
That is in addition to the already established population and youth and young adults between the ages of 9 and 26 regardless of gender.
But recently I came across THIS post on Instagram:
Before getting your daughter or son vaccinated, read this book [The HPV Vaccine on Trial: Seeking justice for a generation betrayed.] It’s a real page turner. This vaccine can severely disable young people and even result in infertility and death. Side effects are very under reported. I have been speaking out about this since the vaccine was fast tracked. Here’s the proof.
I was especially shocked that this post was written BY A GYNECOLOGIST!
The HPV vaccine should not be feared.
Rather it is many boys’ and girls’ first line of defense against a virus that is literally around practically every corner.
HPV, or human papillomavirus, is a sexually transmitted virus that can cause many types of cancer.
Yes, HPV is the cause of 75-95% of all cervical, vulvar and penile cancers. (Source: The CDC.) Not only is HPV the cause of most cervical cancers and GENITAL WARTS, but most people in their lifetime will also be exposed to HPV during sexual intercourse. Quoting a Pubmed article from the Journal, Sexually Transmitted Diseases from 2014:
We estimated the average lifetime probability of acquiring HPV among those with at least 1 opposite sex partner to be 84.6% (range, 53.6%-95.0%) for women and 91.3% (range, 69.5%-97.7%) for men. Under base case assumptions, more than 80% of women and men acquire HPV by age 45 years.
“More than 80% of woman and men acquire HPV by the age of 45.”
That. Is. A. Lot.
While that number seems high, many will never know they have the virus. Our immune system in many cases is strong enough to fight off the HPV virus.
Now, to be fair, vaccines work best before a person is exposed to whatever the vaccine is for. Like if you get the flu, the ACTUAL FLU, the flu vaccine afterward will likely do you no good. Likewise, if you have already been exposed to a strain of HPV, the vaccine won’t protect you against THAT strain. The current HPV vaccine, however, has 9, yes 9 strains of HPV in it. That means, if you haven’t yet been exposed to all 9 of those strains, you will still benefit from it.
Side effects can occur with ANY medication.
Many HPV vaccination nay-sayers quote adverse events that have occurred with the vaccine. Regarding the safety of the vaccine, the CDC says:
More than 80 million doses of HPV vaccine have been distributed since the vaccine was introduced in 2006.
The most common side effects associated with HPV vaccines are mild, and include pain, redness, or swelling in the arm where the shot was given.
All vaccines used in the United States, including HPV vaccines, are required to go through years of extensive safety testing before they are licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). During clinical trials conducted before they were licensed:
9-valent HPV vaccine was studied in more than 15,000 males and females
Quadrivalent HPV vaccine was studied in more than 29,000 males and females
Bivalent HPV vaccine was studied in more than 30,000 females
Each HPV vaccine was found to be safe and effective.
In 2014, CDC published a report analyzing health events reported to VAERS following Gardasil vaccination from June 2006 through March 2014. About 92% of the Gardasil reports were classified as non-serious. (Source: CDC.)
Here’s to those who saw this change coming before the benefit to people over the age of 26 was established. If I had a nickel for every time someone has asked me,
Doc, I know I am over the age to get the HPV vaccine, but should I get it anyway?
… I would have… maybe 50 cents. So, I guess people don’t ask me a lot about vaccines that they don’t qualify for, but the handful of times the subject has come up, I have always thought that it would be beneficial. At least in theory.
If I were you, I would give it a couple of months before asking your doctor for the vaccine. I only say that because sometimes it takes insurance companies some time to recognize guideline changes and to cover them. Also, check out this post I wrote about Abnormal Pap Tests and what they mean.
Thank you for reading.
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That’s What’s Pap-pening!
Dr. Wendy Goodall McDonald is a board certified OBGYN. She began practicing medicine in 2007 and now uses her extensive knowledge and growing following to increase health awareness in a fun and viral way. She is the founder of The Gyneco-blogic and an author of numerous books for adult and childhood health education and social growth. For more, check me, I mean her out at dreverywoman.com