On Your Health

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An INTEGRIS Physician Provides More Information on HPV Vaccine for Preteens

Last week we published a post on the HPV vaccine for preteens. Some of our readers expressed concern about the science behind the vaccine and its safety and side effects.

Dr. Julie Hansen, an INTEGRIS gynecologist who was quoted in the original blog post, has written today's post, responding to those concerns.

The identification of HPV as the infectious agent responsible for cervical cancer was discovered over 30 years ago, by Harald Zur Hausen and his colleagues at the German Cancer Research Center. The discovery was hailed as a major advancement in cancer research and Dr. Zur Hausen subsequently won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 2008.

Scientists followed this discovery with years of vaccine research, which resulted in both the development of an effective vaccine for preventing infection and disease caused by HPV, and new approaches for cervical cancer screening based on HPV detection.

HPV vaccines are used worldwide. HPV vaccines have been approved by the European Medicines Agency and the U.S. FDA, as well as the regulatory bodies of many other countries.

The FDA approved the vaccine for use in 2006, after several Phase II and III trials. Prior to the FDA's approval, HPV vaccines were studied in thousands of people in many countries around the world. These studies showed no serious safety concerns and found that the HPV vaccine was safe. Common, mild adverse events reported during these studies include pain where the shot was given, fever, dizziness, and nausea. The vaccine's efficacy was extended to males for prevention of genital warts, anal dysplasia (precancerous cells) and anal cancer in 2011.

The Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend HPV vaccination of both girls and boys at ages 11 or 12 years and suggest that clinicians strongly recommend HPV vaccination for preteens and teens who have not yet been fully vaccinated.

Approximately 79 million doses of HPV vaccines have been distributed for use in the U.S. and no links between HPV vaccines and atypical or unusual pain syndromes, autonomic dysfunction or autoimmune disorders have been identified in either pre-licensure clinical trials or post-licensure safety monitoring conducted by the CDCMany other published studies available for review on the internet support the statement that the HPV vaccine is safe.

However, one can find alternative information on the internet that refutes these claims, so parents should make the decision they feel best meets their child’s needs. Both of my children are vaccinated.

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