HPV Vaccine Program in Australia Takes the Lead in Utilizing Herd Immunity

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Gardasil HPV VaccineThe HPV vaccine is a controversial vaccination. The human papillomavirus (HPV) is largely sexually transmitted virus that is one of the leading causes of cervical cancer among women. The virus has been linked to an increased risk for other less common cancers including cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, tongue, tonsils, and throat. Research has confirmed that the HPV vaccine is highly effective in protecting individuals who have been immunized against the virus. Other recent research has also concluded that the vaccine provides herd immunity, which means that individuals who are not vaccinated are given some protection by the members of the group, or herd, who are vaccinated. However, opponents of the vaccine argue that immunizing against the virus sends the wrong message precisely because HPV is a sexually transmitted disease. Opponents fear that the vaccine gives young people a license for promiscuity.

The country of Australia is ignoring the unfounded negative hype about the HPV vaccine. The country is instead launching a new National Immunization Program-sponsored school-based initiative that will provide the vaccination to boys between the ages of 12 and 13. Teenaged girls are already offered the vaccine. By offering the vaccine to boys, Australia is taking advantage of the herd immunity provided by the HPV vaccine. With this updated vaccination program, even more people in the country and around the world will be protected against the potentially deadly consequences of the human papillomavirus.

As a mother of a little girl, I fully intend to vaccinate my daughter against HPV when she is old enough to receive the immunizations. I myself have also received my three doses of the HPV vaccine. Although the virus is largely transmitted sexually, I do not believe that the vaccination gives anyone permission to be promiscuous. Vaccinating my daughter against the virus is just another way to keep her healthy. Vaccinating her is also a way to protect everyone else in our community. I hope that the United States will soon follow Australia’s example and begin offering the HPV vaccine to all young adults, boys and girls. The health of our youth is at stake.

Will you be vaccinating your children against HPV?

References

Australia adopts herd-immunity approach in fight against HPV: http://www.globaldata.com/ExpertsInsightDetails.aspx?PRID=253&companyID=jpr
HPV vaccine program in Australia to take herd-immunity approach: http://www.inquisitr.com/277624/hpv-vaccine-program-in-australia-to-take-herd-immunity-approach/

Image Credits

Gardasil HPV Vaccine: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gardasil_vaccine_and_box.jpg

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