This guest post was written by Denise Olson, a mother of four who connected with The Arizona Partnership for Immunization (TAPI) in her efforts to learn more about the HPV vaccination.
Like all good moms, I want my kids to grow up safe and healthy. I want to make decisions that will benefit them right now, but I also need to think about things that could help them in the future. I feel like it’s a big job and a lot is depending on me. That is why I wanted to learn more about the HPV vaccine before my children were old enough to get it. I wanted to make an informed choice, and I had all kinds of questions.
What is HPV, anyway? Could a vaccine actually protect my children from cancer? Are there side effects? What about the scary rumors I heard on the internet? Why is the vaccine given at age 11? Are my kids really at risk for HPV, or is this unnecessary medicine?
I wrote this article to share the answers I found to my questions, and to hopefully convince other parents to think about how they can protect their own children, not only now, but in the future.
What is HPV anyway?
HPV stands for human papilloma virus. HPV lives on soft mucous membranes and skin. Usually, it can be found on the genitals of an infected person, but it can also infect the anus, mouth and throat.
Some strains of HPV viruses cause genital warts, while others can cause tumors or cancers to grow. While there are many different types of HPV, there are several different HPV vaccines licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The bivalent HPV vaccine (Cervarix) prevents the two HPV types, 16 and 18, which cause 70% of cervical cancers. There is also a quadrivalent HPV vaccine (Gardasil) which prevents against four HPV types: HPV 16 and 18, as well as HPV 6 and 11, which cause 90% of genital warts. The quadrivalent vaccine has also been shown to protect against cancers of the anus, vagina and vulva and is the only HPV vaccine licensed for use in males. And just last week, the FDA approved a new HPV vaccine (Gardasil 9) which will protect against nine different strains has the potential to prevent approximately 90 percent of cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers.
Can the HPV vaccine actually protect my child from cancer?
The primary cancer the HPV vaccine is designed to protect against is cervical cancer, the same cancer that is checked for when women go in for a pap smear. However, because the vaccine stops dangerous HPV viruses anywhere in the body, it may help protect against some cancers of the penis, throat, mouth, and anus. This is one reason it is recommended for boys as well as for girls. (The other reason is to protect future partners from cervical cancer.) Read more…
By Joe Lastinger, Board Member, Families Fighting Flu
My daughter, Emily, should have started high school this year full of excitement and potential. Her teachers would ask her, “Are you Chris’s little sister?” or “Are you Andrew’s little sister?” In my head I imagine her earning high marks in advanced classes, joining student council, playing volleyball and basketball and having a great group of close friends. Now I realize that it might not have turned out that way. It’s quite possible that Emily would have entered high school at the peak of her teenage rebellion and might not even be on speaking terms with her mom and me. We will never know, because she died suddenly and tragically from influenza when she was only 3½-years-old.
Emily died from influenza in 2004. She died in our bed, in her pajamas, watching cartoons – just hours before we were scheduled to take her back to her pediatrician to have her looked at again. Doctors have terms to describe how children like Emily can be so sick and not necessarily appear so…it’s called “compensation”. Children, we learned, can sometimes compensate for illness…until they can’t anymore.
If I had to describe how my wife and I thought about influenza – “the flu” – before Emily died from it, I would compare it to lice. I know that seems like a silly comparison, but chances are most parents at one time or another have had the unpleasant experience of dealing with lice. It’s a nuisance, cleaning hair, searching for nits, laundering, etc. You hope that the rest of the family doesn’t get it. You are kind of mad that it happened at all. It messes up your family’s busy schedule. You worry that other parents aren’t being diligent and will end up re-infecting your kids (well, at least we did). Maybe you wonder who started this whole mess to begin with.
But, we couldn’t have been more wrong. Influenza kills tens of thousands of people in the U.S. every year. You don’t have to be old, sick or immune compromised. Influenza kills healthy adults and children (like Emily) every year. We’ve spent the last decade working to reduce the number of kids that die every year from the flu. Much of this work has been through Families Fighting Flu, a non-profit advocacy organization we played a small role in getting started, and some of it has been on our own through state and regional efforts in Texas.
The year 2015 will mark a decade that my wife and I have been working to reduce (eliminate, really) the number of childhood deaths attributed to influenza. Ten years without Emily in our lives. Ten years working to make sure that what happened to us doesn’t happen to other parents. There have been successes (universal vaccine recommendations) and failures along the way (people still aren’t taking advantage of vaccinations that are widely available). Recently, I’ve been reflecting on what I have learned over that time and thought I would share a few insights. Read more…
This guest post has been written by Dr. Dorit Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, CA. Dr. Reiss contributes to various articles, blogs and law journals, utilizing her legal expertise to examine the social policies of immunization. This particular post is a continuation of her analysis of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
Government Accountability Office Report: “VACCINE INJURY COMPENSATION: Most Claims Took Multiple Years and Many Were Settled through Negotiation” November, 2014 GAO-15-142
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is a Congressional agency that investigates the actions of other agencies, with a special emphasis on use of funds (though that is not the only thing they look at).
Sometime in late 2013 or 2014, Congressman Darrell Issa, Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in the House of Representatives, asked the GAO to examine the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). In November 2014, the GAO issued its report, GAO-15-142 (hereinafter “the report”).
As explained in the opening letter to Chairman Issa:
This report examines (1) how long it has taken to adjudicate VICP claims and how claims have been adjudicated, (2) the changes to the vaccine injury table and in the types of claims filed, (3) how the balance of and spending from the trust fund have changed, and (4) available information on petitioner experience with VICP and how HHS has informed the public of the availability of VICP.
The first section of the report describes the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Under the Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1986, individuals seeking compensation for vaccine injuries need to first file claim with the program (42 U.S.C. § 300aa-11). Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, 131 S.Ct. 1068, 1072 (2011) further clarified that design defect claims – but not manufacturing or warning defects – are preempted by the program and that individuals cannot bring suit in state courts at all, even after going through the program. Claims must be filed within a certain time period (three years for most claims, 42 U.S.C. § 300aa-16) and need to demonstrate the injury was related to the vaccine. Causation can be shown by demonstrating the injury is one of those mentioned in the table of injuries within the time frame indicated, which then creates a presumption according to the three-prong test set out in Althen v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, 418 F.3d 1274, 1278 (2005) The report describes the process, and the possible ways compensation can be awarded: by concession, where the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finds petitioner is entitled to compensation, by settlement (which is not an admission the vaccine caused the injury), or by a contested decision in favor of petitioner (the report, p. 7).
The law requires HHS to include information about the program in the Vaccine Information Sheet given to parents before vaccinating and “to undertake reasonable efforts to inform the public of the availability of the program” (the report, p. 9).
Findings: Lengths of Claims and Types of Decisions Read more…
As we countdown to National Influenza Vaccination Week (Dec 7-13) here on Shot of Prevention, we’re participating in a special blog relay with other Flu Vaccination Digital Ambassadors. Each day a different blogger will post about the importance of flu vaccination as it relates to various populations such as parents, children, healthcare workers, the elderly, and people with chronic conditions. Your invited to join us in conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #NIVW2014, or by commenting on the posts that will appear on the following sites: A Place for Mom (12/1), Nurses Who Vaccinate (12/2), Voices for Vaccines (12/3), Healtheo360(12/5), HealthCentral (12/6), and About.com Cold & Flu (12/7).
The decision to vaccinate our children is based on our overwhelming desire to protect them. While it’s estimated that as many as 93% of children between the ages of 19-35 months were vaccinated in the United States in 2013 in an effort to prevent as many as 16 different diseases, only 58.9% of children 6 months to 17 years, and 52.2% of expectant mothers, were vaccinated against influenza last season.
While we may never know how many of those unvaccinated children were lucky enough to avoid the flu, we do know that each year an average of 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized because of influenza complications, and that during the 2013-2014 influenza season as many as 109 children died.
The question is, how many more will suffer or die this season?
Despite the fact that childhood influenza vaccination rates have been slowly, but steadily, increasing each year since the universal flu recommendation was announced in 2010, last season’s statistics prove that we can do better.
As we prepare for National Influenza Vaccination Week next week (Dec 7th – 13th), it’s my hope that more parents and expectant mothers will realize how dangerous the flu can be – even to healthy children – because the unfortunate reality is that today’s children may be tomorrow’s statistic and they really don’t have a choice in the matter.
As immunization advocates, we owe it to the children to ensure their parents get the information they need to make an intelligent and informed decision. For instance, a recent study showed that flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission by 74% during flu seasons from 2010-2012. That’s a pretty convincing statistic in favor of childhood flu vaccination.
And then there is research that illustrates the benefits of flu vaccination among pregnant women. For instance, studies show that giving flu vaccine to pregnant women has been 92% effective in preventing hospitalization of infants for flu. That’s because when women get vaccinated during pregnancy they are not only protecting themselves, but they also transfer antibodies to their unborn baby through the placenta, which helps provide their newborn with protection until they can get their own flu vaccine beginning at six months of age. Read more…
After a day of giving thanks and two days for getting big shopping deals, we have arrived at #GivingTuesday. So what is #GivingTuesday, and what is all the buzz about?
#GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back.
It’s an opportunity for everyone around the world to come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.
It’s a simple idea, and it’s simple to participate.
Just think about how you spend your days.
What are your grateful for? What are you passionate about?
What is the change you want to see in this world?
Now think about how you good it would feel if you could somehow make a difference for those causes that are so dear to your heart.
If saving children from vaccine preventable diseases is important to you, please consider these simple ways to show your support to Every Child By Two on #GivingTuesday:
- Give a buck…or ten or twenty. Your donation, however big or small, will help us immensely. And it will count twice as much today!
Every Child By Two Board Member, Dr. Paul Offit, has offered to match any #GivingTuesday donation we receive.
- Give the gift of information. The sharing of evidence based immunization information is like treasured currency in our efforts to educate people about the value of vaccines.
- Give your voice to the cause. There is nothing more generous than a supportive sentiment and the sharing of positive immunization messages.
We all have personal experiences that relate to diseases and vaccines. Some of us have witnessed the horrors of watching a loved one suffer at the hands of a vaccine preventable disease. Others are forever grateful that vaccines protect us from such pain and suffering. As you participate in – and even initiate – immunization conversations both online and in your local community, make sure your voice lends value to the cause.
Whether it’s by commenting on a news article, Facebook page or blog, joining in a candid discussion at your child’s school, the local playgroup or doctor’s office, or sharing your story in a guest post here on Shot of Prevention, we hope you will serve as an informational messenger to others who are not as confident or knowledgable about the benefits of vaccines.
If you would like to make a contribution to support the critical work of Every Child By Two there are many ways to do so:
Shop on Amazon
Make a Donation through Crowdrise
A grassroots effort has been initiated by Stephan N., of “Shill Army” and the We Love GMO’s and Vaccines Facebook page, to help raise money to support Every Child By Two (ECBT). The campaign is being facilitated through Crowdrise via the social media group dubbed “Shill Army,” whose mission it is to “take on pseudoscience fear-mongerers via social media”. Please be assured that any donation given to ECBT via Crowdrise will be directly credited to ECBT’s account.
Donate by Credit Card or PayPal
Click here to make a secured contribution to ECBT by either credit card or your personal PayPal account.
Donate by Check
By following this link you can download and print out our contribution form, which you can then mail to us with your check.
Designate Every Child By Two on Your United Way Contribution Form
Participate in Your Employer’s Matching Gift Program
Your employer may be willing to match your gift to Every Child By Two if you simply ask. This usually requires that you request, complete and submit a matching gift form from your employer’s human resources department. Many companies will make a 1 to 1 gift match, doubling your donation to Every Child By Two.
Include Every Child By Two in Your Estate Planning
Together WE can make a difference and YOU can help save lives!
What if the money you spent on gifts this holiday season could help protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases?
Well, now it can! Throughout the holiday season and beyond, you can show your support for Every Child By Two just by shopping online. Just make your purchases through AmazonSmile, and Every Child By Two will receive 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases as a charitable donation.
AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you may already know with the same products, the same prices and the same service. The only difference is that when you use AmazonSmile, you can feel good knowing that you’re supporting Every Child By Two and our mission to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Simply visit AmazonSmile, make a few clicks to designate Every Child By Two as your charitable organization of choice and the donations will be made automatically, at no added cost to you! From that point on, every purchase you make through AmazonSmile – whether it’s holiday gifts, household necessities, or those special little luxuries – will help our mission.
For nearly 25 years, Every Child by Two has been a credible resource for science-based information about vaccines. Together – along with our co-founders, advocates and supporters – we have accomplished so much, but there is still much to be done.
Visit the Every Child By Two website to learn more about about how your donations will support our continued efforts to protect children and their families from deadly vaccine-preventable diseases.