My 10-year-old daughter went for a medical checkup and update on her vaccines yesterday at her pediatrician. The choice was offered to give her the Gardasil vaccine, which is designed to counteract the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV can cause or contribute to cervical cancer and genital warts.
I chose not to have them vaccinate Katherine with Gardasil. I looked at the Gardasil website and was bemused to find this statement, under the FAQ "How Do People Get HPV?"
"Anyone who has any kind of sexual activity involving genital contact with an infected person can get HPV—-intercourse isn't necessary." "According to the CDC, the only way you can totally protect yourself against HPV is to avoid any sexual activity that involves genital contact."
So, like AIDS - absent certain circumstances such as rape - HPV is 100% preventable. My daughter is only 10. I feel I have time to continue working with her about making the right choices in her conduct without having to rush to have her vaccinated with something whose long-term effects remain unknown.
I do not take this lightly. My late mother-in-law, God rest her soul, died from cervical cancer and that is something that Kate has to worry about as a woman.
Has anyone else faced this decision - whether to give a vaccine to a child with an eye towards preventing the consequences of teenage or adult sex later on? My duaghter can make this decision when she comes of age, but for now, I say no.