Four Seasons Pediatrics

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HPV Vaccine for Adolescents

 


This vaccine is for boys and girls.  We strongly recommend this vaccine during your 9 Year Check up.

What is the HPV vaccine?

The vaccine, Gardasil, is the first vaccine developed to prevent cervical cancer and oral cancers due to HPV.  The diseases listed above have many causes and Gardasil protects against diseases caused by certain kinds of HPV (7 anti-cancer strains are in the vaccine and account for 89-91% of the cancers).

Who should get the HPV vaccine?

Four Seasons Pediatrics recommends the HPV vaccine for all 9 year old boys and girls. Vaccination also is recommended for those up through 26 years who have not been previously vaccinated or who have not completed the full series of shots.

How and when is the vaccine delivered?

The vaccine is given in a series of three injections over a six-month period.  Because it works better the younger you start it, you will need only 2 vaccines if started at age 14 or younger.  If started later, the second and third doses should be given at two and six months (respectively) after the first dose. HPV vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.  Up to 80% of females will become infected with the HPV virus.  The vaccine is MOST effective when given PRIOR to exposure to the HPV virus.

Is the HPV vaccine effective?

The providers of Four Seasons Pediatrics feel this vaccine is highly effective in preventing the types of HPV in young women and young men who have not been previously exposed to HPV.  The vaccine will not treat existing HPV infections or their complications.

Is the HPV vaccine safe?

Four Seasons Pediatrics feels this vaccine is safe and effective. This vaccine has been tested in over 11,000 females (9 to 26 years of age) around the world. These studies have shown no serious side effects. The most common side effect is brief soreness at the injection site.

Does the vaccine contain thimerosal or mercury?

No, there is no thimerosal or mercury in the vaccine.

How long does vaccine protection last? Will a booster shot be needed?

So far, studies have found that vaccinated persons are protected and require no additional doses.  This vaccine was approved in 2006.  There is no evidence of immunity decreasing over that time period.  Studies show that antibody protection is higher for those vaccinated at a younger age.

Will you be protected against HPV and related diseases, even if you don’t get all three doses?

It is not yet known how much protection you would get from receiving only one or two doses of the vaccine. For this reason, it is very important that you get the appropriate number of doses of the vaccine..

Does the vaccine protect against cervical cancer?

Yes.  This new vaccine is highly effective in preventing HPV infection, the major cause of cervical cancer in women.

Will the girls/women who have been vaccinated still need cervical cancer screening?

Yes, they will still need to see their healthcare provider for cervical cancer screening. There are three reasons why women will still need regular cervical cancer screening. First, the vaccine will NOT provide protection against all types of HPV that cause cervical cancer, so women will still be at risk for some cancers. Second, some women may not get all required doses of the vaccine (or they may not get them at the right times), so they may not get the vaccine’s full benefits. Third, women may also not get the vaccine’s full benefits if they have already acquired a vaccine HPV type.

Why is the vaccine only recommended for girls/women ages 9 through 26?

The FDA has licensed the vaccine for males as well as females.

Why is HPV vaccine recommended for girls as early as 9 years of age?

It is important to get the HPV vaccine before exposure to the virus. The vaccine is most effective for those who get vaccinated before their first exposure. It does not work as well for those who were exposed to the virus before getting the vaccine. However, most will still benefit from getting the vaccine because they will be protected against other virus types contained in the vaccine.

Should pregnant women be vaccinated?

The vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women. So far, studies suggest that the vaccine has not caused health problems during pregnancy, nor has it caused health problems for the child. But more research is still needed. For now, pregnant women should wait to complete their pregnancy before getting the vaccine. If a women finds out she is pregnant after she has started getting the vaccine series, she should wait until after her pregnancy is completed to finish the three-dose series.

Each year the CDC publishes childhood and adolescent immunization schedules that provide recommended timelines for immunization of children and adolescents. The annual childhood and adolescent immunization schedules are a joint effort of the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). While these organizations have no regulatory authority over the immunization of children, the recommendations of the CDC, AAP, and AAFP are considered standards of medical practice and most physicians follow the recommendations.
Will the vaccine be covered by insurance plans?

Almost all insurance plans and managed care plans cover recommended vaccines.

How can I get the vaccine if I don’t have insurance?

The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program helps families of children who may not otherwise have access to vaccines by providing free vaccines to doctors who serve them. The VFC program provides free vaccines to children and adolescents younger than 19 years of age, who are either Medicaid-eligible, American Indian, or Alaska Native or uninsured.  Four Seasons Pediatrics participates with the VFC program.  For more information visit: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/

How common is HPV?

HPV is most common in young women and men who are in their late teens and early 20s.

Is HPV the same thing as HIV or herpes?

No, HPV is not the same as HIV or herpes virus (herpes simplex virus or HSV). While these are all viruses that can be sexually transmitted— HIV and HSV do not cause the same symptoms or health problems as HPV.

Can HPV be treated?

There is no cure for HPV. But there are treatments for the health problems that HPV can cause, such as genital warts, cervical cell changes, and cancers caused by HPV.

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