The HPV vaccine is a great way to limit a child’s chance of future cancer. That’s according to CDC Director of Immunization Services Dr. Melinda Wharton who says during the ages of 11 and 12, children should be receiving the two shot vaccine.
“The vaccine will prevent infection with a number of different types of HPV that cause cancers. It causes cervical cancer, it causes other genital cancers, it causes anal cancer.”
Wharton says the protection received from this vaccine is long lasting and will continue into adulthood. But she says nationally, only about 63-percent of girls have received at least one dose and that number is even lower for boys and the numbers for Louisiana children are similar.
“We need to convey that this is an expected, regular, normal part of appropriate clinical care at that that age. When clinicians present it that way, most parents say okay.”
Wharton advises parents to bring this up with your child’s pediatrician if it’s not already mentioned. She says when the vaccine was originally introduced, it was recommended that a child get three separate immunizations.
“We now recommend, for kids who start at the recommended ages, that they only need two doses. A first dose and a second dose 6 to 12 months later.”