hero image

Scientists have developed a vaccine that could see the STI infection rate in the United States go down but there is only one problem, not everyone is for it. The most common STI in the US is the Human Papillomavirus, HPV. This is not just a sexually transmitted infection but it is also an infection related to cancer.

A study published in The Lancet Public Health revealed that over 4 million children have not been vaccinated against the HPV virus. 60 percent of the parents are also reluctant about having their children receive the vaccination. In some states, this percentage of parents who do not want their children vaccinated against HPV rose to 65. These states are Idaho, Utah, North Dakota, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Montana, and Oklahoma.

The first HPV vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, FDA in 2006. Most physicians believed that this was a step towards mitigating different forms of cancer but the opposite seemed to happen. The vaccines have not been well received leaving young sexually active teens exposed to cancer of the cervix, mouth, penis, mouth, and anus.

A thorough look into survey forms filled by parents and guardians revealed that about 35,000 teens had received zero vaccinations while 9,073 had only received the first dose of the vaccine. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention advices that the vaccine be administered in three doses. The vaccine is to be administered to persons below the age of 26.

In a press release that was published by the University of Sonowane, the reluctance of parents to get their children vaccinated is worrying since this is the only way other cancers can be curbed. But not all hope is lost, in the same press release, Kalyani Sonawane, PhD, has expressed that there is a silver lining due to the fact that the issues being raised by the parents can be addressed . Health care providers are now faced with the responsibility of educating the public and erasing the doubts and misinformation that the parents have been exposed to. The main topics to be handled are HPV vaccine safety and benefits while emphasizing on the need to complete the vaccine dosage.

According to a CDC report, there are 38,400 HPV related cancer cases annually in the US. The highest infection rate being in women. Experts say that a full HPV vaccination can protect everyone. There are several reasons that were attributed to the parent’s refusal namely safety concerns, lack of knowledge, others found the vaccine unnecessary, others were already upto date while the rest state that it was not recommended. These were the common reasons as stated by concerned parents but the major issue that stood out was safety. The vaccine is stated to be over 99 percent effective if given during the recommended period. The trend is becoming evenmore worrying since parents remain adamant even after receiving recomendation from their health care providers.