Entries in Gardasil (3)


CDC Committee to Vote on HPV Vaccine Recommendation for Boys

iStockphoto/ThinkstockUPDATE: The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 13-0 on Tuesday to recommend that all boys get the HPV vaccine at ages 11 and 12.

(WASHINGTON) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) planned meeting Tuesday morning to decide whether the HPV vaccine should be recommended for all males ages 9 to 26 has created a firestorm among medical experts, most of whom seem to be rooting for the committee to recommend that all boys within the age group get the vaccine.

Still, some are shaking their heads at the lack of evidence to suggest that the vaccine even works for boys.

The HPV vaccines -- commonly known as Cervarix and Gardasil -- are currently recommended for girls ages 9 to 26.  Both vaccines have been shown to prevent cervical cancers, with Gardisil also preventing vaginal, vulva and anal cancers.  Some studies also suggest that the vaccine could protect against penis, head, neck and throat cancers.  Gardasil, shown to also protect against genital warts, is the only vaccine of the two that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for boys.
The strongest data of male HPV prevention is limited to men with compromised immunity and men who have sex with other men.  Some parents may argue that the vaccinating their sons would encourage promiscuous behavior.  But medical experts say that isolating the vaccine to just some segments of the population will only exacerbate that way of thinking.

“Research has shown that parents are more enthusiastic regarding universal recommendations rather than targeting "at risk" groups,” said Dr. Lawrence Stanberry, pediatrician-in-chief at New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.  “Recommending universal immunization for girls and making the recommendation for boys permissive sends parents mixed messages.”

According to William Muraskin, professor in the department of urban studies at Queens College, one of the challenges is identifying who may benefit from the vaccine. 

“The HPV vaccine if given before males become sexually active will also protect those who will become homosexual or bisexual,” said Muraskin.  "Routinely vaccinating the entire cohort of young males protects an important sub-group that otherwise will be at significant risk but cannot be identified until it is too late.”

But some experts say the data showing long-term benefit to both homosexual and heterosexual males is slim.

“It is misguided to think that all boys will gain any health benefit from HPV vaccination,” said Diane Harper, Director, Gynecologic Cancer Prevention Research Group at the University of Missouri.

Harper said the vaccine only provides absolute protection against cervical cancer and, “mass vaccination for the prevention of the other HPV associated cancers puts large numbers of people at risk for harms from vaccination compared to both the personal and public health risk of anal, penile, and oropharyngeal cancers.”

Studies have also only shown a nearly 3-year window of protection, Harper said.

“The benefit of HPV vaccination in preventing these cancers which develop much later in life and require vaccination efficacy to last much longer is not proven,” she said. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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California Girls to Get HPV Vaccine without Parental Consent

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- California girls as young as 12 can soon receive the human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine without the consent of their parents. Last Sunday Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2012.

“It’s always a close question as to what we might allow,” ABC News’ affiliate KABC-TV reported Brown as saying. “But we do that with other reproductive kinds of issues, and I felt this one was similar to what we’ve done before.”

The HPV vaccine, which includes the brands Gardasil and Ceravix, can be administered to girls as young as 9, and as old as 26. Each year, about 12,000 women get cervical cancer in the U.S., and almost all of these cancers are HPV-related, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The HPV vaccine can prevent several strains of the cancer.

The new law, sponsored by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and several other state health agencies, set off a flurry of protest from several conservative groups.

“Jerry Brown is deceptively telling preteen girls it will protect them from HPV, giving them a false sense of security that they can have the sexual activity they want without risking developing cervical cancer or a raft of other negative consequences,” Randy Thomasson, a spokesperson for, said in a statement.

Karen England of Capitol Resources Institute criticized the law because of what it might mean in taxpayer dollars.

“If her parents aren’t aware of it, she will be emancipated, and the state will be paying for every single minor that’s encouraged to go into a clinic and get these different boosters,” England told KABC-TV.

About 30 other states have enacted laws similar to California’s.

Dr. Mark Einstein, director of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Obstetrics at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, said that the HPV vaccine is recommended by all scientific stake-holding organizations as routine for all 11- and 12-year-olds in the U.S., but that less than half of vaccine-eligible girls are getting the vaccine. Far fewer get all three doses.

“One of these challenges is the need for parental consent,” said Einstein. “In the U.K., Australia and other countries, such a need for parental consent does not exist, and their vaccine rates exceed 80 percent of vaccine-eligible girls.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Debate over 'Forced' HPV Vaccination Re-Opened

Paul Tearle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Texas Governor Rick Perry got slammed at the GOP debate in Florida this week for signing an executive order in 2007 requiring all sixth-grade girls in Texas to get the HPV vaccine to protect against cervical cancer. But the Texas state legislature overturned the order before it went into effect.

Meanwhile, fellow GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann was met with criticism after stating that the vaccine causes mental retardation.

“I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Florida, after the debate,” Bachmann told NBC’s Today show Tuesday morning. “She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter.”

Pushback to Bachmann's claim came hard and fast. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement denouncing Bachmann’s suggestions.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics would like to correct false statements made in the Republican presidential campaign that HPV vaccine is dangerous and can cause mental retardation,” it said. “There is absolutely no scientific validity to this statement.”

Bioethicist Art Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania said he would donate $10,000 to the charity of Bachmann’s choice if she can produce a patient who was left mentally retarded by injections of the Gardasil vaccine.
Some 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year. One-third of them die.

Furthermore, the human papilloma virus is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States, and certain varieties of HPV cause most cervical cancers.

The medical community recommends parents protect their 11- and 12-year-old daughters with a life-saving HPV vaccine, Gardasil.
Gardasil has been proven to be safe, and 35 million doses have been given to girls across the country. And there is no data to link the HPV vaccine with mental retardation.
But the series of three shots must be given on schedule, over about six months starting at age 11 or 12. After that age, it's too late.
Like the flu shot, the HPV vaccine is strongly supported by medical evidence and experts.
Still, it remains a matter of personal choice, better left to the family than the politicians.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio