Posts Tagged ‘The Arizona Partnership for Immunization’

Do My Children Need the HPV Vaccine?

December 17, 2014 18 comments

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.IMG_7492

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?

Yes! The vaccine protects against cancer IMG_6743by training the body to find and destroy viruses before they have a chance to cause the infections that lead to 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…

New Arizona Law Sparks Battle on Vaccine Exemptions in Foster Care

This guest post has been written by Jessica Orwig, of Scientific Technologies Corporation, as a follow-up to a previous post entitled “Immunization Legislation May Impact Foster Care in Arizona” by Debbie McCune Davis, Executive Director of The Arizona Partnership for Immunization and an Arizona State Representative from District 30.

On May 2nd, Arizona Governor Janice Brewer signed into law Senate Bill 1108 that allows the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) to grant families, who choose not to fully vaccinate their biological or adopted children for medical, philosophical or religious reasons, a license to accommodate foster children. In her signing letter, Brewer stated that she hopes a result of this law will be more home opportunities for foster care kids.

Debbie McCune Davis, speaks out on this issue, as the Executive Director of The Arizona Partnership for Immunization and an Arizona State Representative from District 30

Debbie McCune Davis, speaks out on this issue as the Executive Director of The Arizona Partnership for Immunization and an Arizona State Representative from District 30.

The law, however, does not change the foster parents’ legal obligation to ensure that the foster child receives all of the necessary vaccines on time.

Democratic State Representative Debbie McCune Davis says she worries that the families who do not vaccinate their biological or adopted children, and then take in foster children now permissible under Senate Bill 1108, are therefore not experienced and might not know how to keep a child current on their vaccinations.

“We should help foster parents learn how to work with their pediatrician to keep foster kids up to date,” Davis says.

This task can be difficult because of the number of vaccines and the time frames in which children should receive them, says Andie Denious, MS, RN, a special projects liaison contractor for the Arizona Immunization Program Office and former Medical Services Manager for the Comprehensive Medical and Dental Program (CMDP), which provides health care to foster kids. Denious also expresses concern about the law, noting that it could put some foster children at higher risk for contracting a vaccine-preventable disease. Read more…

Immunization Legislation May Impact Foster Care in Arizona

February 12, 2013 457 comments

debbiemccunedavisThe following is a guest post from Debbie McCune Davis, based on her personal experience as the Executive Director of The Arizona Partnership for Immunization and an Arizona State Representative from District 30. 

In Arizona, two legislators have sponsored legislation to lower the standards for families to qualify as Foster Parents. Unfortunately, our Child Protective Services Program (CPS) is overloaded with a record number of children, limited placement choices for children in care, and low staffing levels. Sadly, just when state services are most needed, the agency’s budget was cut.

My legislative colleagues believe that if Arizona will allow parents who don’t immunize their children to become foster parents, than it will be easier for families to qualify to take in foster children.  They argue that any family setting is better than a shelter, and that by removing the requirement that foster families must immunize their children, the legislators believe more families will step forward to become foster care providers.

The solution they offer has sparked a debate and the discussion about immunization is being muted by the perception of a crisis. Sadly, the arguments about the safety and well-being of the foster child are lost.

Despite concerns about budget cuts, we must remember that vaccinating our children protects them from risks that are too prevalent in our communities. Are we in denial about the spread of pertussis or the current outbreak of seasonal influenza? Vaccines are essential in helping to protect children from these very same diseases.

Would we allow a family to foster a child that doesn’t believe in putting their kids in car seats? Or doesn’t have a fence around their pool? Vaccinating our children to build immunity against vaccine preventable diseases is our community standard – just like car seats or pool fences. Why would we lower those standards? Read more…