The benefits of vaccines cannot be overstated. They not only improve one’s quality of life, they improve the longevity of one’s life, and in short, they save lives. And while the great vaccine debate continues to rage on, new research from Kaiser Permanente is putting one very common argument to bed: the HPV vaccine — which provides protection from human papillomavirus — does not have a negative impact on its recipients’ future fertility.
The study, published in Pediatrics, found that girls (and women) who receive the vaccination for HPV do not have an increased risk for primary ovarian insufficiency, also known as premature menopause.
“Reports of premature menopause after HPV vaccination have received a lot of media attention, including on social media,” Dr. Allison Naleway, lead author and investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, said in a statement. “However, these reports were based on a small number of isolated cases and must be interpreted with caution. To bring clarity to this issue, we conducted a study of nearly 200,000 young women.”
That said, not all of the study participants received the HPV vaccine: 119,078 females received Tdap vaccines, 84,783 received flu vaccines, 58,871 received the HPV vaccine and 46,231 received meningococcal conjugate.
However, “of [the] 58,871 young women who received the HPV vaccine during the study period, we found only one case of an individual who possibly had symptoms of primary ovarian sufficiency after vaccination,” said Naleway. “If POI is triggered by the HPV vaccine or another recommended adolescent vaccine, we would have expected to see higher incidence in the younger women who were most likely to be vaccinated. But we found no elevated risk for these individuals.”
Of course, this is great news for parents and kids alike, as HPV is a virus (well, a group of viruses) which can lead to cancer in both women and men according to the CDC. And while the rates of HPV vaccination remain relatively low — due to uncertainty surrounding the immunization — this information should negate most parental safety concerns.