Should your daughter get Gardasil, the vaccine against HPV?

CNN

August 13, 2009

By Elizabeth Cohen
CNN Senior Medical Correspondent

When Raffi Darrow brought in her two daughters, Wendy and Alice, for their annual back-to-school checkups this week, for the first time in her career as a mom, Darrow decided to be a rebel.

Even though every federal health authority says her girls, ages 11 and 12, should get Gardasil, the vaccine that helps protect against cervical cancer and genital warts caused by the human papillomavirus, Darrow instructed the pediatrician not to give it to them.

“Up until now my children have had every vaccine doctors have recommended,” says Darrow, a graphic designer in St. Petersburg, Florida. “But most friends, like me, fear the safety of something new.”

Even though Gardasil is on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine schedule for 11- and 12-year-old girls, and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, many parents interviewed by CNN say they’re not getting it right now for their daughters out of concern for side effects.

“I’m not saying I’ll never do it. I just don’t want to do it when they’re 11 or 12,” says Darrow, who debated for a year about whether to get the shots for her daughters.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.