1 In 4 Teen Girls Got Cervical Cancer Shot

1 In 4 Teen Girls Got Cervical Cancer ShotThis article from the Sun-Times newspaper addresses the amount of teenage girls, ages 13 to 17, who received the three series vaccination that attacks the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The study is the first to track the rate of the Gardasil vaccine. Out of the 3,000 teens that were studied about twenty five percent got at least one Gardasil shot. The researchers were hoping for a much higher rate.
Along with studying how many received the vaccination for HPV, the study also took a look at other teen vaccination rates. These vaccinations included meningitis; one shot that guarded against diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus; varicella, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, and rubella (“1 in 4 teen girls,” 2008). All of these vaccinations had an increase in their rates. These shots were recommended to take at 11 years old and that is when the Gardasil vaccine was also recommended.
Those who opted not to give their children the Gardasil vaccine expressed their fears of the safety of the new vaccine. Another reason some parents chose to wait was because it was expensive, the cost is $375. Many parents believed that it could wait a couple more years before their children were sexually active.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wanted to see higher rates for the Gardasil vaccine because it can dramatically reduce the amount of deaths that occur from cervical cancer, a complication of the human papillomavirus. There are currently about 3,000 deaths per year from cervical cancer. Since this is important in preventing deaths health officials are pushing for promotion of this vaccination.


Analysis of Health Problem
In analyzing this article the major stakeholders and losers are teenage girls who are not receiving the Gardasil vaccination. Advantages of receiving the Gardasil vaccination is that it is the only one that protects against 4 types of human papillomavirus. Two types of HPV that it guards against cause about 70% of cervical cancer cases. The other two types of HPV that Gardasil guards against cause about 90% of genital warts cases (Para. 1, “Important Information,” n.d.).
There are a few cons from receiving the Gardasil vaccine. As there are with any new vaccination, safety is always a great concern because there is no study of the long-term effects of the drug since it is new. Next, this vaccination costs $375 and some people may not be able to afford it if it is not paid for by their health insurance. There is also a gap of knowledge as far as the duration of protection, whether it has lifetime immunity with the three series of shots or if there will be a need for booster shots later in life. People have been reported to have gotten sick and there are some deaths that could possibly be linked to the vaccine. Finally, parents may fear that they would be promoting sexual behavior in their children.
In 2007 Gardasil was put on the “Recommended Immunization Schedule” issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Many state legislators have begun debating bills that will make this a state mandated vaccine. Some that are considered conservatives are against this because they believe that it is promoting sexual promiscuity and others argue that it is too early to mandate a new vaccine.

The Gardasil vaccine will help people of all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses. The human papillomavirus does not discriminate, anyone who is sexually active can contract it. This also means people of all ages. This vaccine can be given to both girls and boys between the ages of 9 and 26 years old.
Impact on Community
The Gardasil vaccination can make a great impact on the community. Parents can look at giving their children this vaccine as a time to talk about sexual activity and how to practice safe sex. This may open doors to those who would not normally talk about sex at the ages of 11 or 12, the recommended age of giving this vaccine. Even though parents want to believe that their children are not going to be having sex at an early age there is no for sure way to be certain. If the parent uses this time to talk to their children then maybe the children will feel more comfortable about talking to their parents when they do have questions.
Having open communication about sexuality, contraceptives, and risks of being sexually active is very important. Some schools, such as some Catholic schools, do not teach safe sex they merely address the topic by saying that one must abstain from it all together until marriage. These same children may not feel comfortable about talking with their parents about sex. Therefore, these kids are experimenting and going on hear-say when it comes to protecting themselves from sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy which are major problems in today’s society. Overall, this can decrease the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy because people will have the information and be able to make an informed decision on their sexual practices, thus enhancing health.



References
1 in 4 teen girls got cervical cancer shot. (2008). Retrieved October 10, 2008, from http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/health/1213711,CST-NWS-hpv10.article#
Important information for Gardasil. (n.d.). Retrieved December 1, 2008, from http://www.gardasil.com/

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