Employee & Community Health

Why the HPV vaccine is important

10/26/2017 by Dr. Robert M. Jacobson

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Six out of 10 U.S. parents are choosing to get the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine for their children, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Why are they making this choice to vaccinate?

HPV causes more than 30,000 cancers a year in the U.S., with about 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year. The CDC says its latest statistics show that HPV vaccination has led to significant drops in HPV infections. HPV-related cancers and genital warts have decreased by 71% among teen girls and 61% among young women.

This infection is everywhere throughout our lives. By the time we’re 50, 80% of us have been infected. That’s why health care providers are urging parents to get their children vaccinated. This really is a miracle vaccine; it’s nearly 100% effective without any significant side effects.

In October 2016, the CDC updated the HPV vaccine schedule to recommend that all adolescents and teens ages 9 through 14 receive two doses of HPV vaccine at least six months apart, rather than the previously recommended three-dose schedule. Teens and young adults who begin the vaccine series later, at ages 15 through 26, should continue to receive three doses of the vaccine. Remember, to fully protect your children, the vaccine series must be completed.

Dr. Robert M. Jacobson is a primary care pediatrician in Employee and Community Health's (ECH) Division of Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine and is the medical director of the ECH and Southeast Minnesota Immunization Programs.