HPV Vaccine: Would You Give Your Kids Gardasil and Cervarix Vaccines?

The Huffington Post

Martha Rosenberg
Posted: December 22, 2010 07:57 AM

Even though Merck’s Gardasil and GSK’s Cervarix are highly advertised to doctors and patients, many women are just saying no to the vaccines, according to research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research in Philadelphia last month.

The vaccines protect against the Human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus which causes cervical cancer.

In 2007, 12,280 women in the U.S. were diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,021 died.

Fewer than one-third of 9,658 teenagers and young women who were eligible for the vaccine actually began the three-injection series between 2006 and 2010, according to data analyzed at the University of Maryland. Others started the regimen but didn’t get their second or third injection.

Of course there are many reasons women may veto the vaccine for themselves or their children. Even though the vaccine is nearly 100 percent effective in preventing precancerous cervical lesions and protects against the two HPV strains that cause 70 percent of cervical cancers and 90 percent of genital warts, it isn’t effective against all HPV strains. It is also not more effective against cervical cancer than a Pap smear and even when it does work, requires a booster. Nor do researchers know how long protection lasts.

The HPV vaccine is also the most expensive of all recommended vaccines at $359.25 for all three doses says Pew Research.

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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.