Author: Rebecca Turco
Despite studies from the CDC showing the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine at preventing certain types of cancer, some parents are still hesitant to get their children vaccinated.
- 92% of almost 35,000 cancers could be prevented by vaccine
- Doctor: Some parents may think vaccine promotes sexual behavior
- County Health Departments offer HPV vaccine for free
Dr. Raul Pino, the interim administrator of the Orange County Health Department, wants to change that.
Among the estimated 34,800 cancers probably caused by the human papilloma virus between 2012 and 2016, an estimated 92% could be prevented by the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We have a vaccine that prevents some type of cancers, and now we’re questioning if we should take the vaccine,” he said. “It will not only prevent penile cancer or vaginal cancer or cervical cancer, but also oral, esophagus and tonsils.
“So what are we waiting for?”
Pino thinks some parents might be hesitant because of the widely spread, but disproven, belief that vaccines are linked to autism. Then, there are other parents who think giving their child the vaccine is promoting sexual behavior. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection.
“The reality is, I think what the parents have to present to themselves in this debate, is what is the paramount objective here?” Pino said. “Is the paramount objective to offer protection to the individual, or is the paramount objective to prevent the behavior?”
Officials recommended that children receive the multi-dose HPV vaccine years before becoming sexually active, anywhere from 9 to 12 years old. A little more than half of teens, 51 percent, received all recommended doses of the vaccine last year, according to the CDC.
The HPV vaccine is not a required immunization for students in Florida. County health departments offer the vaccine for free.