The virus is very prevalent in adults with 14 million new cases each year. It can cause a number of different cancers, but it can be prevented with the vaccine and now, instead of three shots, teens only need two.
10-year-old Stella Sosnow is getting her first shot to prevent the Human papillomavirus, or HPV.
“I want to protect her against disease as much as I can,” said her mother Beth Sosnow.
The National Cancer Institute wants more parents to get their kids vaccinated to prevent HPV, which is sexually transmitted.
“Here you have a cancer preventing vaccine and yet only about 45 percent of girls get the vaccine according to the recommended schedule and only about 20 to 25 percent of boys get it,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine expert at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “That means therefore, that at least 2,000 children every year are going to grow up to get cancer from which they could die because we’re not vaccinating them now. I think it’s our biggest national embarrassment in terms of vaccines.”
CDC guidelines now recommend that girls and boys, starting at age 11, receive two doses of the new and improved HPV vaccines, at least six months apart instead of the previously recommended series of three shots.
Dr. Offit says that he hopes that will lead to the immunization rates increasing to where they should be.
Experts say vaccination rates are low because some doctors are not strongly recommending the vaccine to patients. “It protects against anal cancer, throat cancer, tongue cancer, penile cancer as well as cervical cancer so the vaccine is the only tool we have right now to prevent those cancers in our children,” said Dr. Monique Araya.
Doctors say the shot is more effective the earlier it’s given. “I’m happier to start early and only have to do two doses,” said Beth Sosnow.
HPV vaccines have been on the market for over 10 years and studies show they are safe and effective. For teens who’ve already received the vaccine, they will need a booster of the new formulation.
You need to be logged in to save this episode to a playlist.
You must be logged in to display playlists.