US parents concerned about side effects of HPV for cervical cancer

A rising percentage of parents say they won’t have their teen daughters vaccinated to protect against the human papilloma virus, even though physicians are increasingly recommending adolescent vaccinations. More than 2 in 5 parents surveyed believe the HPV vaccine is unnecessary, and a growing number worry about potential side effects.

In all, researchers looked at three vaccines routinely recommended for U.S. teens:
– a vaccine to protect against the sexually transmitted HPV;
– Tdap, for tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis;
– and the meningococcal conjugate vaccine, or MCV4 vaccine.

While the up-to-date immunization rates rose for all three vaccines, the proportion of girls fully immunized against HPV (three doses over six months) was substantially lower than the proportion for the other two vaccines.

Five years ago, 40 percent of parents surveyed said they wouldn’t vaccinate their girls against HPV. In 2009, that rose to 41 percent, and in 2010, to 44 percent.

“That’s the opposite direction that rate should be going,” says senior researcher Robert Jacobson, M.D., a pediatrician with the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center.

Parents concerned about HPV vaccine safety rose from 5 percent in 2008 to 16 percent in 2010, while less than 1 percent worried about the safety of the Tdap and MCV4 vaccines, the study found.

During the same years, more and more studies showed how safe and effective the HPV vaccine is in this age group, says Dr. Jacobson, who has taken part in the safety review committees for two such studies. The vaccine prevents cervical cancer and other genital cancers by preventing the HPV infections that lead to those cancers, he says.

Source: Mayo Clinic, USA

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US parents concerned about side effects of HPV for cervical cancer
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