While parents normally should just vaccinate their kids, the HPV vaccine has created a legitimate debate worth considering.
It is no secret that I am one of the greatest proponents of vaccinating children against disease. If you need a quick briefing as to my feelings regarding this topic feel free to click here and read up. It throws me into a damn rage listening to people discuss the “evils” of science and the “intelligence” and “expertise” of non-vaxxers. People such as Jenny McCarthy, Kristin Cavelleri, Toni Braxton and yes President Donald Trump leave my mouth agape in wonder at how ignorant and emboldened people have become in regards to scientifically backed, medical procedures. They seriously make my blood boil with their malarkey. Regardless of the outspoken celebs spewing ridiculousness, there is some good news regarding thoughts and feelings pertaining to childhood vaccines. A recent survey done by the Pew Research Center found that the overwhelming majority of Americans do in fact support suggested childhood vaccines. According to the survey, 88% of Americans feel that the vaccine benefits outweigh the possible risks. Whew! Thank goodness for rational, educated humans. With those percentages I should be able to sleep soundly tonight.
So yeah! Vaccine supporters exist here in America and they exist in large numbers. Not all is lost after all! But wait…what about this HPV vaccination? Hmmmmm. The vaxxy-proponent that I am wants to automatically support this series of shots meant to safeguard your pre-teen against certain cancers. Who wouldn’t want to protect their offspring from cancers of the cervix, vagina, penis, throat and mouth? At first this vaccine seems like a bit of a no brainer, but there is some discussion to be had in regards to this particular vaccination. If anyone is going to be putting some thought into this it would be me. I have four young ladies to think about, four little lady parts to safeguards as best as I can. I better make damn sure that I am doing what is best for them and their little vaginas!
The HPV vaccination is a series of 2-3 shots, (depending on where you get your information and how old your little tween is,) designed to combat certain strains of the HPV virus…which is a sexually transmitted disease! I just cringed at the mere thought of my precious angels ever becoming unhinged and engaging in questionable behaviors that could lead to contracting this virus. As unreal as it seems right now, I am no dumb ass and I know that at some point their little angel wings will fall off only to be replaced by devil’s horns and debauchery. Do I want to protect them against any impending idiocy that they may engage in as they enter adulthood?
I don’t know. I really don’t! That is hard for a staunch vaccine supporter to even admit.
There are many who argue that this relatively new vaccine, roughly only ten years old, hasn’t been around long enough to truly be deemed safe. Because this is a newer vaccine, it is hard to deny that some long term effects may in fact linger there. Japan withdrew their recommendation for this vaccination in 2013 following startling reports that vaccinated girls were suffering from elevated heart rate and chronic limb pain. Do you take a chance on your own child? Ohhhhh, that is dicey. Other parents hear the term “sexually transmitted disease” and immediately stick their heads right in the sand. Not my sweet baby, they think to themselves, she still sleeps with her blankie! I get that. My oldest daughter is approaching age ten, leaving me with a few precious years to figure out if these shots are worth their salt.
So yes, there are some very valid concerns regarding this particular series of shots and proponents of this vaccination have quite a bit to say as well. Many supporters of the HPV vaccination series argue that this isn’t a safeguard against a sexually transmitted disease nor is this a “free pass” for promiscuity. Many supporters firmly believe that this is a safeguard against cancer. There are currently some 40-50 different strains of HPV, none of which include glaring symptoms and if left untreated the high risk strains of HPV can indeed lead to cancers of the delicates years down the road. This is scary for sure! Thankfully the majority of HPV strains are low risk and will never lead to cancer of the vagina, cervix or penis. There is a very good chance that even if your baby goes all wild-child during her college years catching HPV, her immune system will knock the virus out within a matter of one or two years and all will be right in the universe again. There are also these really important little exams that women get called Pap Smears.
Ahhhhh, the annual Pap. There is nothing fun about this magical half an hour each year where you sit in a paper gown, feet in stirrups while the doctor cranks your lady parts open with a metal speculum swabbing and scraping your sensitive parts. It is not the funnest thing you will ever do, but it is uber important. Pap smears remain the number one method for early cancer detection of the cervix. They identify abnormal cell growth, allowing millions of women to nip pre-cancerous conditions in the bud. Case and point: When I was pregnant with my second daughter my cervix went rogue and my pap came back signaling a precancerous condition, (cue complete hormonal, irrational meltdown.) Scary as it was, there is a very solid chance that the annual Pap Smear saved my cervix, and my pregnancy. Offending cells were destroyed and all was righted in my world. I haven’t had a problem since. So is the HPV vaccination really necessary if you remain diligent with your annual exams, (and I highly suggest that you do.)
This is certainly a debatable vaccine and I surprised myself by even questioning the medical community. Yet here I sit, on the fence with this one. What to do….
First we educated our kids regarding sexual activity. Use a condom, don’t whore around, choose partners wisely. Second we openly scare the daylights out of them. Show your teen a picture of the Herp- there is something to be said for instilling a bit of fear in the youth. Lastly we parents read, research, discuss, think, and listen to all perspectives regarding this vaccine. With this arsenal of information we then attempt to make the most educated decision for our children that we can, hoping that we don’t royally screw up their lives.