The HPV vaccine decision

Years ago when my first was one it was an option to get the chicken pox vaccine.  It was a very new vaccine and there was lots of talk about whether or not it was the right thing to do.  Just like with anything else there were all sides to the issue. Some thinking, “I got chicken pox as a child…it is a normal childhood disease…why not just let them acquire the disease naturally”.  Others saying, “If I can avoid my child getting a disease that some doctors say could be deadly, than I will”.

My son got the vaccine.  I actually didn’t do much thinking about the issue. He was my first.  I was young.  The doctor was recommending it.  And, I did it.  I know many people who did not.

Funny thing is, not too many years later the vaccine was then required to start kindergarten.

So now here I am faced with another vaccine  dilemma.  This time it is my daughter.  And, this time it is not chicken pox but HPV.

My daughter is now at the age where a parent must make a decision to give or not to give Gardasil to their child.  Why does this decision seem so much more difficult?  Is it the disease the vaccine is dealing with?  Is it because I am a much more knowledgeable and aware mom now who questions things more than I did all those years ago?

Just as there was with the chicken pox vaccine 13 years ago, there are now many thoughts about the HPV vaccine.  Some people are worried that the vaccine will give their child permission to have unprotected sex.  This is not my issue.  I believe parental guidance, good old-fashioned talking, and aware parents are front and center when it comes to the subject of unprotected sex. For me, it is the question of the safety of the vaccine.  There are many stories about serious side effects from Gardasil.  Question is, is it hype?  Just as we faced a year ago with the H1N1 worrying?  Five years from now will the HPV vaccine be a requirement for all children entering middle school? At that point will I wish I had vaccinated my daughter at an earlier age?  Sometimes I wish the decisions were already made for me.

What are your thoughts on this?  Is this hype too?

{ 16 comments }

nikki cupcake October 11, 2010 at 6:59 am

i got the HPV vaccine the second it came out. now it is required for all females in my state (new jersey) attending ANY public school and if i’m not mistaken way before middle school too. i don’t remember the exact age. many state are looking at requiring it.

Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli October 11, 2010 at 7:20 am

My oldest had the chicken pox vaccine and got the worst case of chicken pox I’ve ever seen 2 years later. I don’t have much faith in that particular vaccine. There aren’t any vaccines required for us to start school.
As for HPV- I don’t know about the side effects, my girls are still young. But I had HPV. It was years of paps and treatments. It’s gone now. My cervix wouldn’t dilate during labour. My gut feeling blames the HPV.

Kelly October 11, 2010 at 9:19 am

I have a 13-year-old sister and our father (who works in a hospital) took her to get the vaccine as soon as it was available for her. I don’t know if I’ll do the same, but I grateful for the time I’ll get to see how things go. My daughter is 3 so we’ll have years of evidence to help guide us.

I do wonder about boys and the vaccine. Girls don’t transmit it to themselves. Is there protection for them? My son is 9 and I worry …

Dalia October 11, 2010 at 9:48 am

Kelly- They are now recommending that boys also get the vaccine. Another decision!

liz October 11, 2010 at 9:37 am

I remember being conflicted about this when I first heard about it, and Kate was just a baby. I don’t know what I’d do. It kind of bothers me, too.

I have chosen other “optional” vaccines like the flu, though feel like once both girls are a few years older, I won’t have them get the annual vaccine. The first time I ever had it was last year.

I still have time to decide regarding this one.
.-= liz´s last blog ..Hallelujah- She&8217s Legal! =-.

chele October 11, 2010 at 12:21 pm

When the HPV vaccine first hit the street, I was skeptical. And I still am. My sister is a nurse and I talked to her about it. Her take was that there were just too many “if-then” statements surrounding the vaccine, and the fact that it doesn’t protect against ALL types of HPV and the side effects are worrisome. I also spoke to my doctor and she didn’t seem pro-vaccine either. My daughter has not had the vaccine.

We don’t get flu shots either.
.-= chele´s last blog .. =-.

J is a Bird October 11, 2010 at 12:41 pm

My daughter is only 2 but unless there is some compelling evidence to the contrary she will get the shot.

Just like birth control, this is not a pass to have lots of sex with a lot of different partners. But being married and only having one partner in your whole life, does not protect you against disease unless HE has been as careful as you. All it takes is for your husband to have had unprotected sex once and he can pass whatever along to you.

That said, I must admit I’m very Pro-Vax.

Cheers!
J.
.-= J is a Bird´s last blog ..Dead Men Tell No Tales – Part II =-.

Kathy October 11, 2010 at 2:22 pm

It’s a tough call.

My eldest didn’t get the chicken pox vaccine until she was 4 – a few years after it had been available. Everyone in her preschool class either was immunized or came down with chicken pox. She couldn’t return to preschool until we showed proof of vaccination, since she didn’t come down with the illness. Like you, I worried about side effects and why is it needed, and I survived it, yada yada yada. Probably I said a lot of the things people did when the polio vaccine was brand new.

The HPV vaccine – I’ve read of a few cases, in magazine articls, about girls who were ill after getting the vaccine. Despite that, and my concerns about it, I am still having my eldest vaccinated. Kids start to experiment sexually at younger ages. I will hope that mine will wait until they’re older (more mature, ready and able to support a partner/child if/when, etc.) but I know that isn’t always realistic. HPV may protect against only *some* of the types of HPV, the same is true of flu vaccines: it only protects against certain strains.

I want my kids to be protected, as much as possible – but still, it’s a parent’s job to educate the kids about the various STDs that are out there – and to let the kids know that condoms and vaccines aren’t going to prevent the spread of all STDs.
.-= Kathy´s last blog ..Kids- Lifes Great Paradox =-.

parentingadabsurdum October 11, 2010 at 7:21 pm

I’ve recently heard that they are now suggesting vaccinating boys as well – this is a tough one – I never know what to do in the face of advocacy campaigns, because I don’t always believe they are coming from a non-invested place… if you know what I mean. However, I do trust my pediatrician and tend to follow her advice, so I will likely discuss it with her when the time comes, and do what she suggests.

Joey @ Big Teeth & Clouds October 11, 2010 at 8:52 pm

I vaccinate against everything there is a vaccine for. My decision is a few years off, so I’m sure the safety will be proven by then. These are tough decisions, but like the comment above points out, good docs should guide us down the right path.
.-= Joey @ Big Teeth & Clouds´s last blog ..Hearing loss cause- unknown =-.

Alexandra October 12, 2010 at 1:51 am

A physician told me, off the record, to wait at least 3 years before taking this vaccine. There are still some ondocumented and unproven possible side effects.

So, I’m going with that…but, yes, we do have to think about this. b/c HPV can cause cervical cancer.

Melissa (Confessions of a Dr.Mom) October 12, 2010 at 4:01 am

It really is a tough decision Dalia. In theory this is a great vaccine aimed at preventing HPV and thus potentially cervical cancer. However, like with most vaccines, not completely risk free. My current concern is the longevity of its effectiveness. If girls receive it too early, will it be effective when they need it?

I know these are tough decisions. Hopefully by weighing the pros and cons and discussing with your doctor, you will reach a decision that you are comfortable with. Good luck :)
.-= Melissa (Confessions of a Dr.Mom)´s last blog ..Our Family ManifestoKind of =-.

Ramblings Of A Stay At Home Mom October 12, 2010 at 9:48 am

I wont be getting my daughter this vaccine. I am glad we live in a country where we have a choice!

I included your blog in my pay it forward awards post! http://www.ramblingsofastayathomemom.com/2010/10/awards-and-pay-it-forward.html

Swati Bharteey October 12, 2010 at 5:32 pm

I think I will pursue it for my daughter just to know she won;t get cervical cancer from HPV – but I agree with you that the conversations are just as important!! I hadn’t thought about the link back to how vaccines evolve from ideas to options to recommendations by doctors – thanks for the viewpoint!
Swati

ZippyChix October 12, 2010 at 9:08 pm

My daughter had the vaccines over a year ago. I just googled some info on the vaccine and the info out now is different than it was then. It made me a little edgy to read about the potential deaths that have occured as a result. Even though they can not say the deaths are definitely linked, just the fact that families feel they are is upsetting. If I had to do it again, I would read the studies and talk with my doctor and chances are come up with the same decision. I always take my family in for flu vaccines.
.-= ZippyChix´s last blog ..Dear College Student =-.

debbie October 13, 2010 at 9:00 pm

I got it for my daughter as soon as I could. The risks of cervical cancer far outweigh any possible side effects of this vaccine – for me.
.-= debbie´s last blog ..Politics and Shirtless Men =-.

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