Cheryl Asaro December 1, 2013
Should vaccination for HPV be mandated for teenage girls?
Joseph E. Balog believes the HPV vaccination should be mandated for teenage girls. He believes it to
be justified on moral, scientific and public health records. The HPV or Human Papillomavirus is the
most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S.. Over 6.2 million females are newly infected
each year. HPV is linked to cancer of the cervix. This is the most common cancer among women
around the world. This has lead to 3,700 deaths in developing countries. In the U.S. the risk of death
is lower because of the Pap (papanicolar) test which is the test that detects cervical cancer.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved the HPV vaccine in June of 2006 against
four strains of HPV. The vaccine protects against 70% of cervical cancers that are linked to HPV, it
does not protect against all cancer causing types of HPV though. This vaccination is called Gardasil
it is marketed by Merck for females ages 9-26. This is a three dose vaccination that is given over 6
months of time and is one of the most expensive vaccinations.
Vaccinations are used to reduce disease, there are many mandatory vaccinations, measles and
polio are two of those. The HPV vaccine is recommended to prevent cancer and genital warts, youth
who face this threat are in as much need as the youth who faced the threat of polio in the 1950’s.
Gail Javitt, Deena Berkowitz and Lawrence O. Gostin believes the mandate of HPV would be
premature. HPV is different than most vaccinations because kids do not just go to school and get HPV,
they can get polio from another sick child. Children bring home the chicken pox virus from a child
who has not even been diagnosed with chicken pox. Children get tetanus from a scrape or a cut. All
school aged children are exposed to some kind of disease or virus at school, these vaccines are for
those instances. Because HPV does not present a public health necessity than many people believe it
should not be mandated. So it is to be said that because this is not a condition you can just get by
attending school there is no reason to receive it. Also, those that are not sexually active are not at risk
for transmitting or contracting HPV. The only problem with that is even if you only have one partner
as a married adult does not mean you will not contract HPV and it is a vaccine you need to get at a
young age. State mandated vaccinations always receive vocal anti vaccination movements, although
95 percent of the children in the US are vaccinated. Since this is a expensive vaccination it may be
unreasonable to enforce it as well. The current scientific evidence provided is that vaccinating girls
against the HPV before they are sexually active seems to provide significant protection against cervical
cancer. Though this information is provided it is believed that it would be premature and ill-advised.
This vaccine is new and long term effects are unknown. It is believed that before a mandate is imposed
the vaccine should be followed for several years first.
There was a poll, 61 percent of parents with daughters under the age of 18 prefered the
vaccination, 72 percent supported that health classes should provide information about it and 45
percent agreed that the vaccine should be included in regular vaccinations for children and teenagers.
Every vaccination has an opt-out provision for religious or philosophical beliefs, though some parents
may feel their 11 year old daughter does not need it because they are not at risk, later they may be.
I have my own personal beliefs and feelings on the HPV vaccination. My daughters became
sexually active at a very young age, as I spoke with their pediatirician about birth control options she
also told me about the vaccine, Gardasil. She spoke very highly of the vaccination. After explaining
that the vaccine prevented most common types of HPV that cause cervical cancer and genital warts I
chose to have my daughters vaccinated.
There are now two types of vaccines one is Gardasil and the other is Cervarix, they both protect
against cervical cancers. Gardasil also protects against genital warts, cancer of the anus, vagina and
vulva. Gadasil is also used for males. It is recommended that boys and girls between the age of 11 and
12 years receive this, that way they will develop an immune response before becoming sexually active.
The vaccine is recommended for boys until the age of 21 and girls until the age of 26. HPV is a
common virus and most sexually active people get it in their lifetime, most never know they have it.
The HPV is most common in teens and people in their early 20’s. There are over 40 types of
HPV that effect men and women in their genital area, most do not cause any symptoms and go away
on their own. Some types cause cancer of the cervix, vagina, anus, penis and oropharnyx ( the base of
the throat and tonsils). Their are types of HPV that only cause genital warts, this is not life threatening
but does cause stress and the treatment is is uncomfortable.
I never wanted my children to go through any of this so I decided this would be appropriate.
Since then I have met many young women who are my childrens age that have been diagnosed with
HPV. They were advised by their doctors that if they had been vaccinated for HPV they may have had
different results. Many of these girls were not sexually active until they were older and not at all
promiscuous. Some were very young and promiscuous, so the outcome can be the same despite how
sexually active you may be. The sad part is because of this virus many girls as adults cannot concieve
or are prone to miscarriages. I felt my daughters should be protected from those possiblities and had
the vaccine given to them. My son has also received this vaccination and I feel very strongly that it
will protect my children. I have met parents that have told me that it is silly to do that because I am
condoning them to be sexually active. I did not tell my children that I was doing this for them to have
sex safely, I explained that it would help prevent illness as an adult. Some parents have told me just to
explain what can happen if they have sex then they won’t. I was a teenager once and that is the last
thing a child is going to believe. Also just because you tell your child that drugs can kill you, does that
stop them? No, because it does not kill everyone the first time or the last time, it is usually caused by
In my opinion it should be mandated to protect those women and men that may have the HPV
virus that causes cancer. If it is given with the DTP, Chicken Pox or other vaccines no child will no the
difference. Then when your child is older you can tell them you had them vaccinated for this to protect
Prafulla Garg, M.D.
Pamphlet from the CDC
American Journal of Public Health (April 2009)
The Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics (Summer 2008)