Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Florida lagging on HPV vaccinations

When a vaccine for preventing the human papillomavirus debuted less than a decade ago, the thought of vaccinating children for a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cancer caused an uproar. But science has continued to win in this debate, and now a local education campaign of health professionals and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor aims to spread the word. Vaccinating both girls and boys, ideally when entering seventh grade, gives them the best long-term chance of warding off cervical, oral and other types of reproductive cancers.

The vaccine, which is administered in three doses over a six-month period, helps the body build immunity to HPV, which can lead to cancer. HPV is so common, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates nearly all sexually active men and women will be exposed to it in their lives. Introducing the vaccine at a young age gives the body the best chance to build immunity.

The CDC recommends the vaccine for those 11 to 26 years old, but it is most effective at ages 11 to 12. The vaccine was marketed to females, but now health professionals and the CDC recommend males receive it too.

Florida's track record so far, however, is the worst in the nation when it comes to giving its youth extra insurance against contracting cancer. Florida's estimated rate of female adolescents aged 13 to 17 who receive all three doses of the HPV vaccination is only 25.3 percent, compared to the national average rate of 33.4 percent.

The vaccine is expensive, upwards of $500 — but that's a pittance compared to the cost of treating cancer. And many insurance companies cover the preventive care. For the uninsured, HPV is included in the federal Vaccines for Children program, which covers the cost and can be accessed through local county health departments.

Doctors are becoming more informed and encouraging vaccinations, but this is also an opportunity for parents to teach their children that it's never too early for preventive health practices. This summer is the perfect time to start.

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Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
Editorial: Donít fall for Constitution Revision Commissionís tricks

Editorial: Donít fall for Constitution Revision Commissionís tricks

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission has wasted months as a politically motivated scam masquerading as a high-minded effort to ask voters to improve the stateís fundamental document. The commission on Monday added amendments to the November b...
Published: 04/16/18
Editorial: Rednerís court win on medical marijuana sends message

Editorial: Rednerís court win on medical marijuana sends message

Florida regulators have done far too little to make voter-approved medical marijuana widely available for patients suffering from chronic illnesses. A circuit court judge in Tallahassee ruled last week there is a price for that obstruction, finding t...
Published: 04/15/18
Updated: 04/16/18
Editorial: Hillsborough commission should quit expanding urban area

Editorial: Hillsborough commission should quit expanding urban area

Any movement on modernizing local transportation is welcome, even small steps like the million dollars the state recently approved to design a Tampa Bay regional transit plan.But the region wonít make any progress on transportation, its single most p...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Editorial: Fight harder on citrus greening

A new report by scientists advising the federal government finds no breakthrough discovery for managing citrus greening, a chronic disease killing Floridaís citrus industry. This should be a wake-up call to bring greater resources to the fight.The re...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18

Editorial: Floridians should focus more on health

A new snapshot of the nationís health shows a mixed picture for Florida and the challenges that residents and the health care community face in improving the quality of life.Americans are living longer, exercising more and doing better at managing th...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18
Editorial: 5 key issues where Scott, Nelson differ in Senate race

Editorial: 5 key issues where Scott, Nelson differ in Senate race

Gov. Rick Scott kicked off his U.S. Senate campaign last week by reciting tired lines about career politicians and mischaracterizing himself as an outsider. That pitch may have worked during the tea party wave eight years ago, but now the Republican ...
Published: 04/10/18
Updated: 04/13/18
Editorial: St. Petersburg should move carefully on banning straws

Editorial: St. Petersburg should move carefully on banning straws

St. Petersburg city officials are exploring how to cut down on single-use plastic straws, a commendable effort to make the city even more environmentally minded. But to succeed, City Council members should craft a modest, reasonable restriction that ...
Published: 04/10/18