Vaccines Work Infographic: Why I will vaccinate my daughter AND my son against HPV

A striking illustration in just how successful we have been in decreasing instances of vaccine-preventable illnesses.

Source: IFLS

Source: IFLS

While the infographic is just raw numbers of cases, there is evidence that these reductions are due to vaccination and not better hygiene for instance (see here for data on measles).

When I saw it, I thought, “There’s no reason that pertussis circle can’t be as tiny as the others!” (except maybe Small Pox, which has been completely eradicated).  So, get your kids (and yourself) vaccinated.  If it’s been a while, get a DTap booster.

Vaccines work.

For example, just this week, did you see/hear the recent news about the dramatic drop in rates of HPV? That drop is also attributed to vaccination.  You can see the original peer-reviewed article from The Journal of Infectious Diseases here.

Human Papilloma Virus causes genital warts and can lead to cervical cancer in women and certain oral, anal, and throat cancers in both men and women.  The HPV vaccine (which is recommended for both girls AND boys) was introduced in 2006 to protect against the strains of the virus that are most associated with cervical cancer (although it now also protects against genital warts).  By 2010, HPV infection rates had dropped by FIFTY PERCENT!  That significant drop was achieved in only 4 years with only 30% of kids getting the vaccine.

Results. Among females aged 14–19 years, the vaccine-type HPV prevalence (HPV-6, -11, -16, or -18) decreased from 11.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 9.2–14.4) in 2003–2006 to 5.1% (95% CI, 3.8–6.6) in 2007–2010, a decline of 56% (95% CI, 38–69). Among other age groups, the prevalence did not differ significantly between the 2 time periods (P > .05). The vaccine effectiveness of at least 1 dose was 82% (95% CI, 53–93).

Conclusions. Within 4 years of vaccine introduction, the vaccine-type HPV prevalence decreased among females aged 14–19 years despite low vaccine uptake. The estimated vaccine effectiveness was high. (Source)

Could you imagine what could happen if our vaccination rates were higher?

Think how many of these children would have grown up to develop cancer?  Now, they will be protected.

There are about 12,000 cases of cervical cancer and 4,000 deaths a year in the United States. At current vaccination rates, the vaccine would prevent 45,000 cases of cervical cancer and 14,000 deaths among girls now age 13 and younger over the course of their lifetimes, according to C.D.C. estimates. Increasing the rate to 80 percent could prevent an additional 53,000 cancers and nearly 17,000 deaths. (Source)

45,000 women won’t have to face a cancer diagnosis because their parents chose to get them vaccinated against HPV.  That is astounding.

I’ve written before about the BS assertion that vaccinating kids against a sexually transmitted virus would make them promiscuous, here.  It’s not relevant, it’s not real, it doesn’t happen.  And let us not forget,  children don’t only participate in consensual sexual activity- how badly would it compound the victimization if a child were to contract HPV and later cancer, as the result of sexual abuse or assault?  Be real.

What is real is knowing my daughter won’t call me up on the phone one day, crying that she’s got cervical cancer.  What is real is knowing my son won’t face losing his voice because he needs surgery to remove throat cancer caused by HPV.

I can’t protect my kids from everything.  I can’t always keep them healthy and safe.  However, I can keep them from contracting a cancer-causing strain of HPV*.

Just like I do with all the other vaccines, I will be vaccinating both of them according to the CDC recommended schedule, including the HPV vaccine.


*Note:  As always, no vaccine is 100% effective (studies have shown between 93 and nearly 100% efficacy in preventing pre-cancers due to HPV).  The available HPV vaccines don’t protect every single person from every single strain of HPV.  Even if vaccinated, there will still be a minuscule, non-zero chance that my kids will still contract a cancer-causing strain of HPV.  You can read more about the efficacy of the vaccines here.

Also, I’m not a real doctor, just a PhD.  This isn’t medical advice.  It’s data and the story of how I made the decision to vaccinate my kids.  Talk to your real doctor.

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Filed under #scimom, Mother, Scientist

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