Tuesday, December 12, 2017
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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Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

How much information about you is on your cellphone? Likely the most intimate details of your life: photographs, internet searches, text and email conversations with friends and colleagues. And though you might not know it, your phone is constantly c...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Confronted with documentation of sanctioned brutality and sexual abuse in Floridaís juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scottís administration was defensive and obtuse. So itís welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over stateís rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week wonít make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, itís obvious that Jeff Vinikís plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

It is dangerous and illegal to text while driving in Florida, and police should be able to pull over and ticket those lawbreakers without witnessing another violation first. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has lent his powerful voice to legislation th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Editorial: Outsourcing common sense on St. Petersburg Pier naming rights

St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Another voice: Trumpís risky move

President Donald Trumpís decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israelís capital has a certain amount of common sense on its side. As a practical matter, West Jerusalem has been the seat of Israeli government since 1949, and no conceivable formula for Pa...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

A tactical retreat and regrouping seems to be paying off for Hillsborough Countyís Museum of Science and Industry. After paring back its operations, the museum posted a small profit over the past year, enabling the attraction to keep its doors open a...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Voters in Temple Terrace, Plant City and Thonotosassa have an easy choice in the Dec. 19 special election to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson, who resigned for health reasons. Republican Lawrence McClure is the only credible candidate.McClure, 30, ow...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17