By now most of us have seen the television commercials with girls of every race playing together, smiling and chanting, “I’m not going to be the one. I’m not going to be the one.” This is the commercial that Merck pharmaceuticals used to launch Gardasil, the new Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine. The ad implies that they will not be the ones who will contract the HPV virus because they are vaccinated and therefore protected. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Gardasil vaccine for all females from the age of 9 to 25 years old. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends targeting all 11 and 12-year-old girls before they are sexually active.
Many of my patients are confused about whether or not to vaccinate their children. The pressure from doctors and school nurses is powerful, but is this vaccination a wise choice? I have come to the conclusion that the data supporting the vaccination program is highly questionable and I do not recommend the vaccination. While the CDC claims that it is highly effective, the long-term risks and benefits are unknown. It is important to fully understand HPV before vaccinating your children or yourself.