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Should the HPV vaccine be included in the required inoculations for sixth-grade girls?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on January 26, 2007

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Photo of Mike Fonseca

“I would think so. Prevention is the key. I used to work for Medicare, and they’re finally starting to figure that out. In the long run, it saves lives and money.”

Photo of Dee Dee Runge

“I don’t think so. I think it should definitely be made available but not required.”

Photo of Tatyana Voronin

“I really think it should be up to the parents to decide.”

Photo of Connor Lyons

“No. I think it should be suggested or recommended, but not necessarily required.”


sgtwolverine 11 years, 2 months ago

I think this will lead teens to a more...

Oh, wait. Never mind.

I'm not a big fan of "required" inoculations. Strongly suggested, okay; required ... eh. I'm not sure about that.

jonas 11 years, 2 months ago

On a side note, I just found a pill on my floor. Should I take it?

jonas 11 years, 2 months ago

From reading the article (shock!) before posting this, I can't say that I would agree that this should be mandated. It seems, firstly, that most mandated vaccines for children are ones that prevent easily transferable diseases such as airborne pathogens etc. (yes, I'm just throwing terms around at random, I'm not a doctor)

As some parents have noted, this is recently to the market, and if there ends up being a damaging long term side effect, then forcing innoculation would be very, very bad. While it's certainly a good advancement in health care, and parents definately should get their daughters innoculated, whether it's an STD or not, it's a mistake to push for it to be required at this early juncture.

As a side note, anyone who would say that this will lead teens to a more promiscuous lifestyle and thus should not be used shoud be slapped around a little bit.

Kat Christian 11 years, 2 months ago

At first I was against it until I did a little more research on it. I think it is a good idea. There are no known serious side affects. I'm a little sketical about starting it a 12 years old - but then again I don't know the statistics of when children become sexually active these days. I hope it doesn't cause girls to think they can be more sexually active because they think they are safe from all diseases. So I hope informative education comes along with it.

sharron5rs 11 years, 2 months ago

I posted this under comments in the article and thought it needed to be here also.

"What they are proposing is vaccinating a bunch of healthy girls that are responsible and that do come from good homes for the benefit of irresponsible people," said Dawn Richardson, a co-founder of Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education.

As someone that worked in the health field. I can tell you that comming from "healthy girls that are responsible and that do come from good homes ",dosen't make a differince at all.

This disease dosent care where you come from.

You can have it for years no matter how carefull you are. It only takes one time without protection.

Having this vaccine is such a great advance against a potential dangerous disease.

If they had had it when my girls were in Jr. High they WOULD have had it whether they "needed it or not."

I have seen women from the BEST homes have this diaese. I KNOW they would rather have had the shot than to go through what they had to go through.

If you read thourghly about the diaese ypu would know that it can lay dormant for YEARS , and when you think you havent had any bad pap tests for years. Your are problem free. Wham , you have a"High Risk" result. Guess what. It's back! And you have the greater chance of having cancer than you did before.

I say YES make it a part of the requirement for young girls !!! Help save them from having to go through the PAIN and embarasment from having this terrible disease.

sharron5rs 11 years, 2 months ago

Also I have seen Children as young as 14 have this disease. The hormones are raging at this age no matter WHERE you come from.

lori 11 years, 2 months ago

Avoice's doc was not incorrect when he/she told her that if she was having "female troubles" cervical cancer was one of the least common causes. Few women present at a doctor's office with complaints of "female trouble" and end up with a diagnosis of cervical cancer. The vast majority of cervical cancers are diagnosed in women who have either never had a pap smear, or who have not had one in greater than 5 years. It is very rare for a woman to seek out routine health care and to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in her life. I've been working in a women's health clinic for about 6 years, and off the top of my head I can only think of one woman that we diagnosed with full blown cervical cancer. If someone is having symptoms of "female trouble" it is usually caused by a non-STD infection, a structural problem (a prolapse, for example), or a hormonal problem. Routine pap smears and annual exams remain the gold standard for preventing HPV infection; this vaccine won't change that. There are over 40 viral subtypes to the HPV virus that cause genital complications. This vaccine covers 4 of them. People (men and women) will still get HPV infections, and women will be diagnosed with HPV associated cervical lesions.

I am not against this vaccine; I am against it being mandated. I simply believe that parents, physicians and the girls themselves should be the ones involved in making the choice to get it.

And I don't think that anyone believes that getting the vaccine will make a girl promiscuous. That just doesn't make sense. I can respect alot of the arguments for the mandatory vaccination even if I don't agree with some of them; have a little respect for those of us who disagree with you.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 2 months ago

Okay, this quote really just makes me laugh:

"If you are against the HPV vaccine, it's kind of like being against mom and apple pie," Buck said.

KSChick1 11 years, 2 months ago

Jonas-I'll take it and tell you if it's any good!

Maybe I'll see a hallucination like Bush pulling troops out of Iraq

lori 11 years, 2 months ago

Sharon et al, I too work in the women's health care field, and I am against mandatory innoculation. Testing was not performed for years and years--merely a couple of years--and it was on college age girls, not preteens. It only covers four of the high risk viral subtypes, not all of them. The long-term efficacy (greater than 5 years) is unknown. Boys and men are the ones who actually spread the high risk strains, and RI is right, it causes complications in them, too, so why aren't they being innoculated?

Why not provide the funding for it, offer it cheap or free at all the clinics and offices that provide immunization, and let parents, docs and the girls make the decision? The mandatory dT booster is due around the same time, so just offer it then--it wouldn't be a convience issue involving another trip to the office, and the dT booster is required for school attendance anyhow, so all children would be offered it regardless of income or health care access.

Bone777 11 years, 2 months ago

If young girls are likely to be 'kissing' toads, give them the vaccine.

I think that is how you get warts, isn't it?

Ceallach 11 years, 2 months ago


I can't believe you said "slut" gene!!!!! A sexually active female is a slut? What counter-part to that gene do you designate for the male involved in her sluttery? I could give you a few options, but I'm sure David would delete me.

Ceallach 11 years, 2 months ago

Oh yeah, the question . . . I agree with RI and Lori.

Bone777 11 years, 2 months ago

Ceallach - that would be the male 'playa' gene.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 2 months ago

So, RI, when I take my girlies in to get the shots, will I see you in line with your boys???

To quote a wise man: "The apple does not fall far from the tree."

Mandatory: no. Strongly suggested: yeppers! funded: probably in some capacity even if not mandatory. If mandatory, then definitely.

Ceallach 11 years, 2 months ago

TOB, guess I missed the source you quoted when attributing the term "slut gene" to ultra-right wing nut jobs. As written it sounded more like a home grown, smarty pants, quip. You know, the kind guys say to other guys. Thank you for the clarification :)

LJW ask only about girls . . responses were only about girls . . it took RI and Lori to bring boys into the equation. I know the article focused on girls, but when has this board strictly adhered to the outline of any given article :) Pharmaceutical researchers are just looking for a larger test group, we should not let it be our young girls. So many drugs have been recalled in the last 5 years, after doing great harm to the patients. We cannot blindly believe that this drug has been proven safe for 10, 15 or 20 years out. They could not have been testing it that long.

jonas 11 years, 2 months ago

Well, it was red, and I took it. Now my eyes hurt, like I've never used them before.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 2 months ago

Ceal: "when has this board strictly adhered to the outline of any given article :)"

Wait, we're supposed to talk about something specific? Whoa. It's like a whole new world.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 2 months ago

RI, you could paint them up and put them in dresses.?. Then you could spend the next 10 years paying for their therapy. They'd laugh about it years later.."Remember the time dad dressed us up as girls and made us get those shots?"

Ceallach 11 years, 2 months ago

TOB, it takes a lot more than a little difference of opinion to get rid of me :P I am painfully aware of sluttery, I just believe he-sluts and she-sluts should be in one big slut category. As the mother of 3 girls, it's possible that I may be a bit on the "edgy" side when I think girls are still being singled out as the "bad" ones.

I'm still not persuaded that big business does not press new wonder drugs into distribution prematurely. But hey, we aren't all going to agree on every topic, well, not until we are in the Brave New World and agree on the value of Soma in our society :)

sunflower_sue 11 years, 2 months ago

"I can't wait till Sue's girlies corrupt R_Is fine upstanding young men." -TOB

He needn't worry (so much) since mine will be inoculated. We will just have to be extra careful not to let them have 30 seconds alone together. :$

sgtwolverine 11 years, 2 months ago

TOB, Hardees? We need to get you to a White Castle. Yikes.

jonas 11 years, 2 months ago

The new Zelda game has zombie pigs. COINCIDENCE?!

jonas 11 years, 2 months ago

"Posted by sharron5rs (anonymous) on January 26, 2007 at 7:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Also I have seen Children as young as 14 have this disease. The hormones are raging at this age no matter WHERE you come from."

Unless, of course, you come from somewhere that made you a eunich.

O-Bob: Who did the last minute spot surgery that saves someone's life? I would've liked to have been there for that.

That was a fun movie.

Ceallach 11 years, 2 months ago

RI, if they were it came from their father :P

Jackalope 11 years, 2 months ago

The Rubicon was a small river which was considered a boundary of Rome. Generals were not to bring their legions into Rome. Julius Caesar ignored the custom and brought his legions into Rome as a show of force for his enemies in Rome. He violated a long standing custom and crossed the line of propriety. Crossing the Rubican is doing the unthinkable in violation of custom and propriety.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 2 months ago

Py, as I'm sure you know, White Castle is thriving in Michigan (Ann Arbor has a location, though it's essentially Ypsilanti; Detroit has 11). We do still call them sliders, too. I can't explain why Michigan supports White Castles, but I'm not sure it makes it a better state.

I was amused to learn that while White Castle was founded in Kansas, the headquarters were moved to Columbus and there are no longer any locations in Kansas.

Emily Hadley 11 years, 2 months ago

"most mandated vaccines for children are ones that prevent easily transferable diseases such as airborne pathogens"

I checked some common school-required vaccines, and you are right on a few: Haemophilus influenzae type b -- through airborne mucus particles Dyphtheria -- through direct contact or airborne saliva/ mucus Pertussus -- through direct contact or airborne saliva/ mucus Rubella -- through saliva droplets Varicella -- generally through airborne mucus particles *Mumps -- through saliva droplets or items contaminated by saliva

but these are also common for school kids...

Tetanus -- through soil, dust and animal feces, transmitted through deep flesh wounds Polio -- "fecal-oral route" often through eating or drinking substances contaminated with fecal matter *Hepatitis B -- through bodily fluids-- sex, re-use of contaminated needles or syringes, from mother to child during childbirth

And as far as saliva/mucus transmissions, those are very often on bodily and non-bodily surfaces and passed directly rather than through the air. Ever loaned someone a pen/pencil at school and caught them putting it in their mouth?

(I'm not for or against, just looking for more info.)

awayinwashington 11 years, 2 months ago

I am unsure if it should be required, but to those that believe that this vaccine will promote promiscuity: That is ridiculous. Obvioiusly teens, young adults, and (shocker!) adults are having sex and passing this STD around. Getting the vaccine is highly unlikely to "encourage" teens to have more sex--they are already having sex, and this could make it safer and prevent a LOT of cancer. (come one, who doesn't want to prevent cancer?) : )

Few people realize the risks of HPV or understand it, and a lot of my peers don't even know it exists. Hopefully the availability of the vaccine will spread awareness.

Also, many of you might appreciate this button I received for Christmas, stating: "Condoms don't promote sex, they prevent mucus membranes from touching fluids. DUH!"

Ceallach 11 years, 2 months ago

RI, just looked up "slut" in the dictionary, didn't say nuthin bout no boots!!! Besides all that, he bought the boots :D

Ceallach 11 years, 2 months ago

I can't stand it! I just can't stand it!! I rest my case.

avoice 11 years, 2 months ago

The group of vaccines that are required for admittance to public school are in place because they help prevent the pandemic spread of volatile and easily transferred infections.

In the case of HPV, this is not an easily transferred infection, if I understand it correctly. Sexual contact is required (i.e., you can't get it from a towel at gym class). Also, as recently as a year ago when I was having "female" troubles and wondering what could be the cause, my ob/gyn informed me that cervical cancer is one of the least common.

Now, while I may feel quite compelled to make sure my own daughter receives this vaccine, I cannot support its inclusion as one that is required for admission to public school. The only scenario in which a widespread outbreak could occur (I believe) would be one in which large numbers of students were engaging in extremely loose sexual activity. If that's a real possibility, then I'd rather take my children out of public school in the first place, negating the debate over what vaccines they would need to have!

sunflower_sue 11 years, 2 months ago

No better marketing than selling a eensy weensy hamburger to the public and then plugging it full of holes, to boot!

Ceal, don't let RI get you riled...he's a word snob and someday, he'll have the T-shirt to prove it. (You would look fab in black stiletto boots, BTW! Maybe the X wasn't completely dumb...);)

JoRight 11 years, 2 months ago

TOB I cant believe I watched the whole slider video. And what is up with the grand prize of only $500? Fastest griddle should get more I would think.

Ceallach 11 years, 2 months ago

Attributed to one group yet applicable to many :)

Friday, Friday, Friday . . . payday, payday, payday . . . it's all good!!

All y'all have a great weekend!!

galfromku 11 years, 2 months ago

Thanks to Lori. She made the most sense of just about anyone. I only have a son. If I had a daughter, I'd probably have her get the shot (when WE decided to... not at the "magic" age of 12 along with her counterparts. Still others might not want their daughter to have it at all. The law should not regulate this sort of thing..... especially because it takes two to tango. Lets get a shot for the guys!

denak 11 years, 2 months ago

I am all for this vaccine being required.

First, the reason this vaccination is required at such a young age is that once a person gets the disease, the vaccination doesn't work. So, by the time the first pap comes back "abnormal" it is already to late.

The only reason people have a problem with this shot is because they are hung up on it being a "cervical" cancer vaccine. If this were a bladder cancer vaccine or a stomach cancer vaccine there wouldn't be this outcry. People need to get over thier erroneous notions of what "good girls" do and don't do. (And boys but we all know there is a double standard)

Also, HPV is one of the most common diseases in the U.S. According to the CDC, more than 80% of women will have HPV by the time they are 50. Over 20 million people have the disease and over 50% of sexually active individuals will acquire genital HPV sometime during their life. Each year, 6.2 million people get a new genital HPV infection.

However, for most women, HPV becomes undetectable within two years. However, a woman, during that time, is at an increase risk of developing pre-cancerous or cancerous cells.

WHY risk it. Get the shot. If people are soooooooo scared that getting one little shot is going to make people promiscious, (which is nonsense) why don't we just do away with the Pap smear. The HPV vaccine is nothing more or nothing less than a prevention tool. It does't mark a woman/girl as a "fallen woman" or anything else. If anything, it says that this woman cares enough about her life, and the life of her female child, that she is going to give that child this valuable tool.

I don't have a daughter but I have been a foster parent for almost 3 years. It would be "nice" if we all knew that children were going to grow up and stay "pure" until their wedding night, but that doesn't happen. Children aren't as innocent as we think and their childhoods certainly aren't as innocent/protected as we want them.

If, as a foster parent, I am allowed to give consent for any of my foster daughters to get the vaccine I would do it.

It doesn't mean that I don't trust them or that I think they aren't virgins(most physically aren't anyway) or that they will sleep around (some do), it means that I care enough about them and recognize that the reality is that this vacinne is needed, and that is why they should get it.

People don't know what goes on in other people's homes. (especially the so-called "good homes)

Sometimes even doctors don't know.

Making sure that all girls are protected, seems like a good enough price to pay for "government intrusion" in my life and their lives.


kg52 11 years, 2 months ago

I feel it is a good idea but I thought the "required" immunizations were for community acquired illness, not what you might get by performing a certain action. If I had a teenage daughter I cerainly would strongly consider it as a preventive measure but should it be required , no. Now a vaccine that would prevent all cancer, wouldn't that be lovely!

letsgetwise 11 years, 2 months ago

Just couldn't resist--Pywacket, your reply to avoice, "...I'm just pointing out we owe it to ourselves to educate ourselves and not take everything a practicing (rather than research) physician says as gospel."

So...because you believe whomever you are trusting to have studied whatever they studied and researched to be truthful and correct, your conclusion is correct. Because avoice chose to believe her physician knew what they were talking about (even though it didn't quite line up with your conclusion) it makes her wrong. So...what you're saying is we can only believe what the CDC and whoever else you believe is right?

I'm not saying the statistics the CDC have are incorrect, although they're only as accurate as the reporting is, but I am saying this vaccine should be at the family's discretion. You're right, I should study up on this, and make the decision for myself and my children.

sharron5rs 11 years, 2 months ago

Routine pap smears and annual exams remain the gold standard for preventing HPV infection;

Lori, Routine paps and annual exams do not prevent HPV infections. Not having sex or protection prevents getting HPV. Even condoms do not always protect against HPV, as this virus not only is carried in the vagina but on the surrounding skin. On males it is not only carried in the penis, but on the shaft as well as on the testicles. I do agrea that they do need a vaccine for the males. But as for now it is only for the feamale population.

As I said befire this virus may lay dormant for years before showing up again. It may Never show up, but once you have the virus YOU ALWAYS HAVE IT!

Until they get something for the males. We NEED to protect our children. We have the rescource for our daughters. I hope soon we will have it for our sons.

lori 11 years, 2 months ago

Alright, you are correct, I misspoke. Let me restate it absolutely correctly: Routine pap smears and annual exams remain the gold standard for preventing complications from the HPV virus.

Routine annual exams monitor any existing lesions; office visits are all that are required to remove most lesions that the body does not take care of on it's own. However, most lesions resolve on their own, even up to 30% of lesions from high-risk strains of HPV that are considered one stage removed from being a cancerous lesion.

Big deal if the virus stays in your system forever. Once your body has defeated it, that's that. It's like a cold virus--there are hundreds of them, too. You typically don't get sick with the same one twice. I'm not freaking about about any cold viruses, and I'm not going to freak out about HPV, either.

Look, all the information that you are stating is correct, and it is nothing new to me, or anyone who works in women's health. So you aren't telling me anything new, or making me feel like it is so urgent that we immediately mandate that all 11 year old girls can't go to school until they get the HPV vaccine, otherwise their lives and health are at risk. That last part simply isn't true.

My daughters are more likely to die from about a thousand other things than she is from an HPV infection. About 5000 women a year in the US die of cervical cancer. Most haven't had any health care or haven't had a pap in over 5 years. The current trend we are seeing in regards to women developing and dying from cervical cancer are immigrants and women over 40 who do not, for what ever reason, get routine paps. If these women aren't getting routine paps or health care, what makes you think they will get their routine HPV immunization? That shot that they get when they are 11 isn't necessarily going to provide them with ANY protection when they are middle aged, and certainly not against the many viruses that the current immunization doesn't cover.

lori 11 years, 2 months ago

I want to protect my children, too. I understand that you feel passionate about protecting children. But I also am a very cautious consumer in regards to health care. The first generation of this particular vaccine is not my first choice for protecting my daughters against HPV. I'd rather wait a couple of more years, have more info in regards to the efficacy and longer-term effects of this particular immunization, and what the virus' response to this is. How fast does this sucker mutate, for example? Is it similar to the flu virus, which mutates so quickly as to make vaccines obsolete withing 10 months? Or will research outpace the vaccine, with subsequent generation vaccines covering more viral subtypes? I am comfortable waiting a couple of years to see what develops in this area because I know the current offerings for HPV care and followup will protect my child from this cancer. She does not fall into the high risk categories at this time--no DES exposure, doesn't smoke, doesn't take hormones, doesn't have a family history of cervical cancer and isn't currently sexually active with a history of multiple partners.

I don't feel that mandating vaccination is the only way, or even the best way to protect our children. Offering the vaccine along with other routine vaccines, making the info readily available at routine office visits and health classes, funding the vaccine to make it more affordable, continuing to encourage research on HPV treatments and continuing to work to help women understand the importance of lifelong routine health care are in my opinion better ways of protecting our children.

sharron5rs 11 years, 2 months ago

Lori I dont agree that once your body has defeated it thats it. I do know people that had the virus as a teen. Was treated and never had another problem for 19 years. All paps were clear. Less than a year after the last pap had another pap, and is now had a High Risk. Pap positive HPV. I am glad you will have your daughters get inoculated. As I said before, If they had had this injection when my 3 daughters were teens They would had gotten it . My big thing on making it mandotary is the fact that kids are having relations earlier than even 20years ago. The age of kids having sex is now about 12-13 yrs. It is not only intercourse but alot of oral sex ,that they dont conceder to be sex at all. We all should know that the earlier that they start to experment, the earlier they will "go all the way". NO matter what kind of home they come from! Most kids Will try something good homes or not. If they get the injection with the rest of their regular injections what is the difference? I think I heard about a booster injection being devolped? I am not sure just what shot is mandatory now. Hep.B's are now aren't they? I didn't I read about any ruckus about it being mandatory? I know it is not the same kind of dieases but ... it is mandatory. I'm not worried about the responsible parents that would get their daughters inocualted. I am worried about all the self rightious people who KNOW THEIR KIDS WOULDN"T EVER DO SUCH A THING.

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