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Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
September 2019

HPV vaccine safely prevents cancer. Here’s how we know.


HPV vaccine US and Australia Sept 2019 Parents PACK newsletterSince its release, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has been embroiled in controversy. Many people with concerns question its safety; others question the need for it. Regardless, the end result is the same — young people who could be protected against some forms of cancer later in life are passing up the opportunity, either directly or as the result of a decision made by their parents.

From a public health perspective, this is like watching an unnecessary tragedy develop in slow motion. In the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), released in August 2019, about 2 of every 3 teens between 13 and 17 years of age had received at least one dose of HPV vaccine, but only about half of them had completed the recommended number of doses. In contrast, in late 2018, Australia celebrated being on track to eliminate HPV as a public health problem within the next two decades. In 2016, the latest data available, about 3 of every 4 boys and 4 of every 5 girls in Australia had completed the HPV vaccine series by the age of 15 years. Australia used the quadrivalent HPV vaccine (HPV-4, Gardasil®) and switched to the nine-valent HPV vaccine in 2018. 

Find out more about the studies evaluating HPV vaccine safety, particularly concerns about chronic or autoimmune diseases, and see five reasons the adage by Ben Franklin, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today,” applies to HPV vaccine.

News & Notes

Pontifical Academy for Life clarifies position and stresses importance of vaccines

In 2005, the Pontifical Academy for Life published their position that vaccines made using cell lines obtained from aborted fetuses could still be morally used by practitioners of the Catholic faith. In light of ongoing concerns related to this matter and declining immunization rates, the Academy revisited the issue and again reached the same conclusion. However, their more recent statement contained even stronger language related to lack of immorality and the importance of protecting one’s fellow community members, stating in part, “the moral obligation to guarantee the vaccination coverage necessary for the safety of others is no less urgent ...” 

Pinterest monitors vaccine information

The social media forum popular for DIY projects and creative ideas recently announced a bold move when it comes to vaccine information. Pinterest banned results for common vaccine-related search terms because of the prevalence of misinformation that was spreading in their online community. Before making this decision, when someone searched “vaccines” on Pinterest, anti-vaccine results were returned 75% of the time. After halting the ability to search for vaccine-related information, the company went a step further. They are now providing results from specific, credible public health organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the Vaccine Safety Net, a program of the WHO.

The Vaccine Education Center (VEC) has had Pinterest boards as part of the Parents PACK program for several years. And although the VEC is a member of the Vaccine Safety Net program and you may see some of our pins there, our boards can also be accessed directly at pinterest.com/VEC_CHOP/.

Just the Vax Trivia Corner

What vaccine leads to a stronger immune response than what would occur after natural infection?  

  1. HPV vaccine
  2. Hepatitis B vaccine
  3. Rotavirus vaccine
  4. Chickenpox vaccine
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