The Fuss About A Vaccine?
When the CDC announced that it now recommends that girls as young as 11
or 12 be vaccinated against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), parents and clergy
alike combined to create a big hullabaloo. You might be wondering: What's all
the fuss about a vaccine?
Approval For Teenage Sexual Activity?
In a nutshell, HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The CDC
recommends the vaccine to girls as young as 11 and 12, knowing that American girls are
becoming sexually active just as they hit their early teens, and sometimes even
younger. In fact, the CDC says that girls as young as nine can be protected
with the vaccine depending on the need. Parents and clergy are concerned that
making the vaccine a standard part of the immunization regimen is giving tacit
approval to sexual activity in teenage and preteen girls.
Still, the fact is that some strains of HPV are preventable by vaccine.
So, do we deny our children the chance to avoid a disease that can have the
potential of causing a fatal disease or limiting their ability to have a normal
life? And should we not consider the fact that a brutal rape can also transmit
HPV to a blameless teen?
Better To Be Safe Than Sorry
Some parents feel that it's better to be safe than sorry. They hope that
their children will not be having sex before reaching adulthood, but they'd
rather give them protection against a disease that can have many emotional and
physical repercussions. These parents wonder where the morality is in leaving
one's child unprotected against a disease that can cause cancer. Even if their
daughters should wait for marriage to have sex, what if their spouse has HPV?
And this is the other side of the coin: it is not yet recommended that boys and
men have the vaccine, and this seems to some people as though the medical
profession is allowing men to evade responsibility for their share in the
spread of this disease.
It's true that not too many men with HPV are symptomatic, but this in
itself, doesn't seem reason for men to avoid responsibility for passing the
disease on to their girlfriends, spouses, and children. The medical professionals say
that they aren't sure the vaccine is safe or effective for men, but they
haven't offered any realistic explanation of why this should be true only of
the male population. Many are relieved that Merck, the manufacturers of the
Gardasil vaccine are finally conducting trials on the efficiency and safety of
the vaccine for men.