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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

HPV vaccine now recommended for boys, too



needle.jpgIn a new immunization schedule published last week in The Annals of Internal Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the first time recommended HPV vaccinations for boys age 11 to 12 and catch-up vaccinations for those age 13 to 21. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the country, but this vaccine has been mired in controversy since it was first recommended for girls in 2006.

There's already a growing number of parents who skip childhood vaccines altogether. The numbers are small, but health officials are nervously watching the trend for fear that opt-outs could lead to outbreaks.

That could be part of the reason the fear of this vaccine has taken hold. Being new makes people skeptical. As my pediatrician explained, the reaction rate for this is no different than any other vaccine. There have been some 40 million doses administered and there have been no signs of anything unusual compared to other vaccines. And then there's HPV, the most common of all sexually transmitted diseases. It can cause genital warts and cancer. Researchers say at least one-half of the people who have ever had sex will have HPV at some time in their life.

So what's the real reason that the rates are low for this vaccine, far below what doctors recommend?

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 9:27am]


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