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…
Every Child By Two (ECBT) is thrilled to announce that a grassroots effort was recently launched to raise $10,000 in support of our ambitious mission to save the lives of children from vaccine-preventable diseases. Stephan N. of the We Love GMOs and Vaccines Facebook page created this Crowdrise fundraiser to help continue our critical work of sharing scientifically accurate information on the safety and necessity of life-saving vaccines with the public.
Please visit Crowdrise today to make a tax-deductible donation directly to Every Child By Two. All donations made by December 31st will be DOUBLED by Every Child By Two Board Member Dr. Paul Offit (up to $10,000)!
Since Every Child By Two’s arrival on the social media scene back in 2008, we have been working to raise awareness of the need for timely immunizations through our Shot of Prevention blog, Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page, and @ShotofPrev and @EveryChildByTwo Twitter feeds. ECBT continues to lead the way as one of the largest online sources of pro-vaccine information with nearly seven million Facebook and Shot of Prevention blog views each year.
The successes we’ve seen are not just in the numbers of followers we have, but also in what our work has done to inspire others. There are now dozens of pro-vaccine groups in existence throughout the world who share in our mission. Our organization devotes a great deal of time sharing evidence-based vaccine information with our social media networks, which is used to educate individuals worldwide. We hope that you will consider making a donation today to allow us to continue these efforts.
Beyond our social media endeavors, Every Child By Two has played an integral role over the past several decades in helping to set the standards for childhood immunization in America. Our organization was founded by Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Former First Lady of Arkansas Betty Bumpers in 1991 as a response to a U.S. measles epidemic, which hospitalized and claimed the lives of many children. Through nearly 25 years of service, Every Child By Two staff and cofounders have:
- Visited every state in the U.S. to raise awareness about the critical importance of timely vaccinations; alert governors, mayors and community leaders about barriers to immunizations; and develop local and state immunization coalitions which continue to thrive today.
- Helped to set and implement state and federal immunization policies that have had lasting impact on the health of our nation’s children.
- Fought to establish the passage of laws mandating school-age vaccination requirements in nearly every state during the Carter Administration.
- Helped implement and support the regular screening of vaccine records for the 50% of U.S. children and pregnant women served by USDA’s WIC program.
- Served as a critical resource to local and national media reporting on vaccine-related issues, which has resulted in the proliferation of pro-science stories in both print and television.
- Developed a number of public education campaigns including the Vaccinate Your Baby (VYB) initiative and the Immunize On Time, Every Time program.
- Educated healthcare providers and vaccine advocates about best practices and shared valuable resources for local dissemination.
- Conducted regular briefings for federal legislators to ensure that public health policies and laws are based on sound scientific evidence and that the CDC and health departments are properly funded each year.
Every Child by Two has developed many successful strategies to ensure that every child in our nation is protected from vaccine-preventable diseases; however, there is still much to be done. As long as a single person continues to fall victim to a vaccine-preventable disease, our work is not complete.
Visit the Every Child By Two website to learn more about our work. Please know that your donation will support our continued efforts to protect children and their families from deadly vaccine-preventable diseases.
This guest post has been written by Dr. Lara Zibners, in response to comments we’ve received on our Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page.
“How can I trust the vaccine recommendations that I get from my doctor? After all, isn’t she the one making money off all of these shots?”
Have you ever heard this concern or something like it? How many parents do you know who are leery of a doctor’s vaccine recommendations because they think the doctor is simply motivated by profits?
The idea that pediatricians are colluding in some giant immunization scam that is designed to fund their fancy vacation homes and expensive watches is a concern for some. But could it be true? Does your pediatrician look at your child, pinch those pudgy thighs and inject vaccines against life-threatening illnesses while dreaming of a new car? It’s a pretty disgusting thought, isn’t it? The idea that your child’s doctor could have a financial incentive to encourage vaccination is an upsetting one. One that would understandably get your panties in a twist, right?
Well, my friends, relax. You can unwind your knickers because it’s simply not true.
Now, let me start by telling you that this is not a discussion of physician salaries as a whole. (Although I will point out that pediatricians are the 2nd lowest ranking physicians by salary in the United States.) Or whether they deserve a salary that averages in the low six figures. (Even though that’s after the usual investment of 40,000 hours of training and $300,000 in expenses). We’re not going into those topics today but instead we’re going to focus on one specific question: do pediatricians make money from immunizations?
And the answer is “No.” Despite what some people think, vaccines aren’t the cash cow everyone seems to think they are.
It’s estimated that it takes 35 office visits and costs around $2500 to fully vaccinate a child through age 18. But providing immunizations goes beyond just providing the vaccine. There are plenty of additional costs. These include direct costs such as vaccine purchase, storage, staff time to handle, oversee and administer the vaccine, as well as indirect costs such as insurance against vaccine loss. Read more…
Yesterday was the day I had been anxiously anticipating for well over a month. I took my kids to the local senior center to get our flu shots at the county flu vaccination clinic.
While most Americans are worrying themselves sick over Ebola, I’m more concerned about the greater risk of influenza. See, I’m no stranger to the fact that thousands of people die from influenza each year. In fact, I’ve already read about several flu deaths being reported this season, to include a person from South Carolina and a child from North Carolina in just the past week though these deaths won’t get the media attention Ebola does. And while the flu may not be widespread in my local area at this particular moment, it’s just a matter of time. The flu arrives every year like a tornado on the midwestern plains. Sometimes you get a little bit of a warning, but regardless of whether you see it coming, it inevitably hits towns, schools and workplaces, hurting and even in some cases killing those who are not protected from its wrath.
Unfortunately, because I’ve had a child diagnosed with H1N1, met parents who have lost their children, know friends who have lost their neighbors, and have personally known a previously healthy individual who succumbed to influenza in his early 30s, I have a healthy fear of the flu (no pun intended). Yet, it never ceases to amaze me that reasonable and otherwise intelligent people continue to reject flu vaccinations because they are swayed by unfounded myths or the sting of a needle.
Yesterday I realized that while my children understand the importance of flu vaccination, many adults around them still do not.
Here are a few of the surprising things I heard in just one hour of the day: Read more…
After viewing the PBS NOVA film “Vaccines – Calling the Shots”, I began wondering what the film’s impact would be. I’ll admit that the film was very ambitious. It addressed the science behind vaccines, why they work, how they work & even touched upon how people assess risk and decide whether to vaccinate or not. All this in less than an hour.
Of course, no one should expect this film to be the one defining piece that will convince people to vaccinate. Certainly it may reinforce the decision of those who already choose to vaccinate. And it may give pause to those who would otherwise refrain from vaccinating. But most importantly, this film is a valuable tool to help educate people about the science behind vaccines, inform the public about the importance of herd immunity and the dangers of not vaccinating, and open the door for civil dialogue about common vaccine safety concerns.
Looking back on the tweets I sent during the premiere, I realized that the film touched upon some of the most important immunization related issues I hear from parents day after day. My goal now is to encourage as many people as possible to see this film (available online) and to use it as a way to encourage further conversation.
Of course, the film began with the usual caveats:
In the US more than 90% of parents vaccinate & most follow the recommended schedule.
Vaccine history may repeat itself. @PaulOffit explains “If you start to decrease vaccination rates you start to see the diseases reemerge.”
In order to appreciate the value of vaccines, the film began by addressing the recent resurgence of diseases like pertussis (whooping cough) and measles. It explained the infectious nature of these diseases, illustrated how epidemics are tracked and spread, and allowed viewers to see a tearful mother watching her infant child laying in a hospital bed and battling violent coughing fits brought on by an incurable disease known as pertussis. Read more…
Another great vaccine documentary is set to air this month. That’s right! Mark your calendars and set your DVRs!
Vaccines – Calling the Shots will premiere on PBS NOVA on Wednesday, September 10th. Due to anticipated coverage of President Obama’s address to the nation at 9pm (EST) and 8pm (CT), the film will air immediately following coverage of the President at approximately 9:20pm (EST) and 8:20 pm (CT).
“Vaccines – Calling the Shots” is a special production which examines the science behind vaccinations and takes viewers around the world to track epidemics. The film explains why diseases, which were largely eradicated a generation ago, are returning to the United States. It also explores the risks and consequences of opting out of vaccines, and identifies parents who are wrestling with vaccine-related questions.
This brief preview provides a glimpse of what this new documentary is all about:
Help Generate Awareness About this New Documentary
Vaccine hesitancy and refusal is often rooted in the proliferation of immunization misinformation. However, educational films like “Vaccines- Calling the Shots” can help separate facts from fears. Therefore, we ask for your support and participation in getting the word out about this film. Not only will you be helping to combat misinformation, but you will help others to understand and appreciate the science behind immunizations.
Alert your friends, family and colleagues about the date and time of the upcoming premiere via social media.
Share this blog post, the 3-minute preview seen above, or the direct link to the PBS NOVA page to encourage others to discuss the value of vaccines and the science of immunization. Ask them to mark their calendars for the preview and to participate in the conversations surrounding the premiere.
Follow live tweets during the broadcast on September 10th and retweet them to your followers.
Featured experts from the film will be live tweeting. These include:
- Infectious disease expert, Dr. Paul Offit (@DrPaulOffit), leading pediatrician and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
- Alison Singer (@AlisonSinger), Co-Founder and President of the Autism Science Foundation( @AutismSciFounda), member of the national Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), chair of the International Society for Autism Research public relations committee, and mother of a child with autism
- Writer, director, producer & co-executive producer, Sonya Pemberton (@pembertonfilms) who, as the Creative Director of Genepool Productions of Melbourne and Sydney, Australia spent four years researching and producing an Australian version and now the American version of this film
- NOVA series executive producer, Paula Apsell (@mamaNOVA)
In addition to these experts, everyone who has an interest in preventable diseases is invited to add to the commentary by live tweeting during the premier and including the hashtag #vaccinesNOVA. We would even like to encourage people to promote the preview ahead of time via Twitter with these sample Tweets: