There has been a lot of controversy over the HPV vaccine which is also known as Gardasil and designed by Merck. Although it has been approved by the FDA and recommended by the CDC, its adoption for the general population has been slow. Only Virginia, Rhode Island and Washington D.C. have laws requiring children to have the HPV vaccine to attend school. I am sure the slow adoption of the vaccine is the wait and see approach states and organizations are taking.
What Is Gardasil?
The gardasil vaccine was designed to protect against 4 types of the human papillomavirus. There are more than 40 types of HPV viruses and most cause no physical symptoms. In children and young adults (ages 9 to 26), Gardasil helps protect against 4 types of HPV that cause 70% of cervical cancer cases, 70% of vaginal cancer cases, 50% of vulvar cancer cases, 80% of anal cancer cases and 90% of genital warts cases.
It turns out that HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection through vaginal and anal sex. Girls are the most affected but boys are not immune. At some point in everyone’s life, there is a good chance of infection especially if you are sexually active. In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. But when HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems like genital warts and cancer. There is no test to detect the HPV virus but a check for cervical cancer can confirm infection from the HPV virus.
Gardasil Side Effects
The side effects of Gardasil are similar to flu shot reactions which include pain, swelling, itching, bruising, and redness at the injection site. These symptoms are very familiar to the side effects of flu shot. Also on the list are headaches, fever, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and fainting.
Fainting can happen after getting Gardasil and was a source of panic in some countries. There were parents who rushed their children to the hospital after receiving the Gardasil thinking that their children were poisoned by the government. The main concern around people who faint is that they can fall and hurt themselves. For this reason, doctors and healthcare professionals may ask your child to sit or lie down for 15 minutes after he or she gets Gardasil. Some people who faint might shake or become stiff. This may require evaluation or treatment by your child’s health care professional.
Will you vaccinate your child with Gardasil?