ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A recent story on News10’s website and Facebook page about a bill proposed in the senate that would mandate HPV vaccines for students has generated a lot of discussion, and some confusion among viewers. Some wonder why it’s recommended that children as young as 11 get the HPV vaccine.
Despite the proposed bill, which was introduced in January 2019, doctors have already recommended that starting at age 11, all kids get the HPV vaccine.
Some parents may think that’s too young, because their child may not yet be sexually active. But Dr. Danielle Wales, Attending Physician at Albany Medical Center, says sexual activity doesn’t necessarily matter.
“We have had patients who have never had sexual contact,” Dr. Wales told News10, “who have been positive for HPV before.”
Dr. Wales says the vaccine isn’t about sex, it’s about preventing cancer.
“The viruses that are covered by the HPV vaccine actually cause cervical cancer, other genital cancers in men and women, and have also been implicated in oral cancers, as well,” Dr. Wales told News10.
According to the CDC, about 14 million Americans, including teens, get infected every year. Most infections will go away on their own, but thousands of women and men will get cancer as a result.
Dr. Wales says the only people who shouldn’t get the vaccine are people who are allergic, or who have had adverse reactions to the vaccine in the past.
The American Cancer Society says the most common reactions to the vaccine are mild, such as a sore arm from the injection.
For those who have concerns about long term negative effects, Dr. Wales says the vaccine is very safe, and can’t cause an infection because it’s inactivated.
You can get the vaccine as young as 9 years old. Doctors say age 11 is right on time. They say it’s critical to have it by age 14, and your last chance is age 26.
The proposed bill that would require children born after January 1, 2008 to receive the HPV vaccine to attend public school or daycare is currently under consideration by the health committee.