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Health Science: HPV Vaccine - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: HPV VACCINE Introduction The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the world. The infection is asymptomatic meaning people infected with it do not usually know they have it, making it easy to spread…
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Download file to see previous pages More than 40 strains of HPV affect at least fifty percent of sexually active people in their lifetime. It is with this in mind that the state of Connecticut had a debate to know whether it will make it a requirement to vaccinate girls against HPV. This resulted when the national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended having girls between 11 and 12 years of age receive routine vaccination. Even though ACIP passed the recommendations, state legislatures are the ones who decide on the requirements for school vaccination. In a January 2007 session, the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut raised a bill that wanted to have guidelines concerning prevention strategies for diseases caused by HPV. The bill necessitates the vaccination of children with human papilloma virus vaccine before admission into sixth grade, in consistence with the National Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (Connecticut General Assembly, web). In some states, the legislature grants regulatory bodies such as the Health Department the power to require vaccines. However, funding has to come from the legislature. The availability of the vaccine has received support, but it is the mandate that schoolchildren should receive it that voices some concern. Issues have been raised about the cost of the drug, its safety, parents’ rights to refuse as well as the vaccine playing a part in sexual activities, in adolescents. As of 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two HPV vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, in the market. Merck manufactures Gardasil, which protects against HPV strains 6, 11, 16 and 18, and GlaxoSmithKline manufactures Cervarix, which protects against HPV strains 16 and 18. An article in the Christian Science Monitor (print) notes the fact that a vaccine against HPV is beneficial in regards to reducing cervical cancer and deaths caused as a result, but the mandate to make it compulsory, for school-aged girls is inappropriate. The main concern is on the safety and the efficacy of the vaccine. It also violates the right of a parent to decide on what is right for their daughters. The long-term effects on pre-teens is unknown since during the initial testing of Gardasil only five percent of the patients who took part in the study were below the age of twelve (Christian Science Monitor, print). It has been argued that the HPV vaccine can prevent seventy percent of growths that will lead to cervical cancer. Another rising controversy is the fact that giving adolescents the vaccine that in essence protects against a disease resulting due to sexual activity may send a message that sex is permissible (Weekly Standard, print). Although this argument has been mocked, the fact remains that there is an urge to engage in sexual activity that begins when we reach puberty. However, if looked into objectively, cervical cancer could be forgotten by the time the current pre-teens reach middle age. Advocates for the vaccine claim it is more effective in people who have not engaged in sexual activity; eleven or twelve years of age and in some states as early as nine years of age. Girls and women between the ages of thirteen to twenty six are recommended to have a “catch up” vaccination. For women who are sexually active, it should be noted that the vaccine is not a cure and, therefore, does not treat existing infections of HPV. However, vaccination ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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