Protecting your daughters: The pros and cons of the HPV vaccines
There has been plenty of debate over whether parents should have their daughters vaccinated against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Health Canada approved the HPV vaccine, Gardasil, in 2006, but parents are still unsure if the vaccine is necessary or safe. Below are the pros and cons you should consider before you decide whether the HPV vaccine is for your daughter.
- The vaccine could help prevent cervical cancer.
- The vaccine guards against four strains of HPV, two of which cause 70 per cent of cervical cancer cases, while the other two cause 90 per cent of genital warts cases.
- The vaccine lasts a lifetime. Your daughter won't have to get another dose once she is immunized.
- The vaccine was approved and is recommended by Health Canada.
- Cervical cancer cases have been declining and it appears there's no HPV epidemic, especially because HPV can be detected through a Pap test.
- The Gardasil vaccine doesn't guard against all strains of HPV, so it doesn't really offer full protection.
- The vaccine is still new. This means the full side effects and long-term consequences aren't known for certain.
- The vaccine will provide a false sense of security. Some parents worry their daughters may be less responsible when engaging in sexual activities, thinking they are protected against all potential diseases.
- The vaccine raises sexual stereotypes. Because the vaccine is for females, some may argue this implies sexual safety is solely a women's responsibility. Though men cannot get cervical cancer, they are still not immune for HPV-related problems and have a part in the virus' transmission.
Consider the above benefits and consequences when you speak to your health-care professional and daughter about Gardasil. It is imporarnt that you make the decision based on facts and what you feel is best for your daughter.