The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine prevents cancer against HPV infection. Certain types of HPV can lead to oral and genital cancers.
HPV vaccines are highly effective in preventing infection when given before initial exposure to the virus. Similar to the need to put a helmet on before a bicycle crash, the HPV vaccine needs to be given before individuals begin to engage in sexual activity.
Boys and girls who are 11 to 12 years of age should receive the HPV vaccine. However, boys and girls as young as 9 years old may receive the vaccine as well.
“The safety and effectiveness of the HPV vaccine has been well established with over a decade of usage throughout the world,” said Dr. Alan R. Barnette, neonatologist at Cape Neonatology Specialists. “Increasing acceptance of this vaccine has reduced HPV-related disease in Australia and parts of Europe. We hope that local immunization rates will improve to reduce the 37,000 cases of cancers and 5,000 deaths a year in America that are related to HPV.”
According to the National Cancer Institute, widespread HPV vaccination has the potential to reduce cervical cancer incidence around the world by as much as 90 percent.
Speak to your child’s pediatrician or primary care provider about receiving the HPV vaccine.