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HPV Vaccine: Why is it important?

Here at Main Street Pediatrics, we feel strongly about the benefits of the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine for your child. Evidence has shown that the younger you are when you are vaccinated, the more protected you are from getting infected. The vaccine has been shown to be safe, effective and is FDA approved starting at 9 years of age. Therefore, we will start recommending the HPV vaccine at 9 years of age.

Risks of HPV:

  • 20 million people in the US currently have HPV and 6 million are infected each year. Half of those new infections occur between ages 15-26
  • HPV is initially asymptomatic and most people do not know that they are infected
  • HPV is the cause of:
    • Genital warts
    • Abnormal Pap smears (cervical dysplasia)
    • Cervical, head, neck, anal and penile cancers

Benefits of vaccination:

  • The HPV vaccine prevents cancer
  • HPV vaccines are close to 100% effective for the prevention of HPV infection and cervical pre-cancerous lesions in young women

Benefits of early vaccination:

  • Studies have shown that the immune response after the vaccine is two times higher in those 9-15 years of age compared to those 16-26 years of age
  • For this reason, if your child gets the vaccine before they turn 15 years of age, they only need 2 shots. If they are older, they will need 3 shots
  • Your child will be protected before the potential for exposure is possible

Risks of vaccination:

  • The most common side effects include:
    • Pain, redness and tenderness at the injection site
    • Low-grade fever
    • Passing out (This is due to the stress response of getting a shot and can happen with any vaccine. We will monitor your child for 15 min before they leave the office)
    • Allergic reaction (readily treatable)
  • Studies have not shown any long-term risks from the HPV vaccine
    • The HPV vaccine has been around since 2006 and there is substantial data supporting that it is a safe and effective vaccine