I feel kind of the same way about Gardasil tbh. I am glad my girl is still so young and there will be more data available by the time she is old enough. Varicella vax has been out for almost 20 years now so I feel a lot better about that one. (I remember exactly when it came out, because I had just been exposed to chicken pox when we found out about it... fun.)
Hello Vaccinating Parents! - Page 2
As a midwife I see the consequences of HPV allll the time, and this is actually one of the vaccines I'm most eager to give my kid. I have a son but 1)it's good to decrease the number of HPV+ people out there and 2)it's not just cervical cancer HPV causes but throat, anal, penile, and probably others as well. I want to know how long protection lasts but if it gets people through the years when they are more likely to have multiple partners, even if serially monogamous, then I'll be happy. I plan to start the series when he's 11.
I'm excited too, to be able to give it to my son; but like erigeron, I'm also glad it will have a longer track record by the time he gets it.
From what I've seen so far however, it seems on par with the safety of other vaccines.
Rotavirus was not yet introduced when my daughter was born in 2002, so we did not do it. I had similar concerns about varicella but eventually decided it was worth it. I'll probably decide in the end that HPV is worth it as well. My main concern is that it still feels new to me.
Can I say how happy I am to be able to discuss this with other people whose default is to vax, instead of the opposite?
Yay!!!!! Feeling the love here at Vaccinating on Schedule!!!
I'm interested that several of you are planning to give the HPV to your sons. Could you tell me a bit more about this? I'm in the UK where its routine for girls but not for boys. I'm assuming we'd have to pay privately for it, but that's ok-I assume it is available privately. Could anyone tell me a bit more about the reason for giving it to boys? And I assume it is at the same age-here 14 seems to be the default?
I'd love to! It is something I looked into.
The reason why they give it to girls is because HPV can cause cervical warts that can develop into cancer. There are two reasons why to give it to young boys:
1) It's a herd immunity issue. The reason why we all want to avoid rubella, for instance, is because rubella can be really dangerous for fetuses. That means the people who have to avoid getting rubella are women. In Canada and Britain, they used to give the rubella vaccine to women only for that reason. But doing it that way failed spectacularly. To protect individual people from a disease, you need to reduce its prevalence in a population, and that means routine vaccination of everyone. Once we switched to giving rubella to all infants, it started to make a difference. It will work the same for HPV. Everyone needs to get it to prevent its spread--that's how vaccines work.
2) It affects men, too. Men can get HPV warts on their throats, causing cancer. We don't like to discuss about how HPV can be transmitted through oral sex (both on women and men). This is something your son needs protection from as much as your daughter. Here's Dan Savage talking about that. Why did I link to him? Because of the love.
Gay/bisexual men can also get anal cancer from HPV.
One aspect I like of vaccinating both sexes is more philosophical. Vaccinating only girls makes it out like HPV is a women's problem and men don't need to worry about it. If it is recommended for everyone, that means everyone is being made aware of the disease and how it is spread and their role in it. I would want my son (if I should have one) to grow up to take responsibility for his own sexual health and that of any partner(s) he may have, rather than thinking "Oh, dealing with x isn't my job." It's similar to men being taught to wear condoms rather than assume birth control is a woman's problem.
thanks both, that makes sense actually. I've never really looked into HPV and in the UK afaik only girls are offered the vaccine so that helps a lot. You are both absolutely right about the transmission vector thing, I'd never thought of it in those terms. And I know from personal experience that it can be an issue in the LGBT community also, and I make no assumptions about what my kids might or might not choose or prefer in their sexual futures. Its a vaccine that's hardly impacted on my radar because its a vaccine that is routinely given in school in the UK and my kids are homeschooled. The vaccine has a fairly low profile as a result though many of my friends have opted out for their girls. OTOH I do accept that the NHS can be quite awful if you want information about things, it can look like a cover up is going on when what's really happening (IMHO) is high volume of patients and high confidence in the vaccine, and it being quite unusual to refuse. My perception is that selective or deliberately delayed vaccination is fairly rare here-I think there are other UK posters on here and I'd be interested in that perspective?
Does anyone know what the recommended age is for the vaccine for boys? Round here, girls its 14.
Thanks prosciencemum. Wondering why its not routinely offered to boys, tbh, in the way rubella is to girls.
Cost seems unlikely because even aside from the fact this is the NHS and doesn't run on cost so much, compared to the cost of the vaccine treating the listed cancers in men is going to be far more expensive, I think. I really, really hope its not some kind of moral majority thing, that we're only prepared to have the necessary arguments to vaccinate kids for the kind of cancers you can contract from the (heterosexual) missionary position. Hmm.
My son is 10 so it makes sense to keep this on my radar. This will be something like the third time I've been into my surgery to try to get them to give my kids extra vaccines. Its not what they expect from a stripy homeschooler/Waldorf parent IME but hey.
I think that's exactly what it is. Men don't have ORAL sex. That would be dirty. Also, men couldn't possibly gay. That's also dirty.
Hi! I have 4 sons, ranging in age from 18 to 5 - all vaccinated.
I have second thoughts about the chicken pox vaccine. Everyone was getting it when the 18-y-os (twins) were little, and they were born extremely premature and had fragile health, so I had it given to them. When they were teens, it was reported that this vaccine isn't necessarily effective past about 10 years and if men, especially, get chicken pox after puberty, there can be much worse effects than if they'd just had it during childhood. I started to hear about chicken pox parties and thought I might take my youngest to one - maybe in kindergarten - instead of getting him vaccinated. Then, of course, he'd expose his teenage brothers just as they might be susceptible to catching it... So, he's vaccinated, too.
Incidentally, my twins are Autistic. But I am 100% clear that their neurological/developmental "uniqueness" predated their vaccines and is almost certainly genetic, on their father's side.
"I think that's exactly what it is. Men don't have ORAL sex. That would be dirty. Also, men couldn't possibly gay. That's also dirty."
Yes. I didn't want to go on too long about it (I'm capable of that! )
Basically, I've concluded that since chicken pox isn't quite polio, perhaps being the proverbial guinea pig wasn't any wiser than it is, with any new technology. I was originally told the vaccine would keep my older kids from ever getting chicken pox (and that getting it might be worse for them, than for the avg. kid). But they turned out to have been much healthier than their doctors expected, so chicken pox probably would've been fine. And now we know that the longevity of that vaccine - and when/how often one should get boosters - is a far less exact science than originally stated.
I wasn't in charge of early-childhood vaccinations for my middle (step-)son, who only began living with us when he was 8. But when my youngest was offered his first chicken pox vaccine, I was torn. I would've liked to just let him get it naturally, as I wish I could go back and do with the older two. BUT, since vaccinating for CP had become so prevalent, there was no certainty (like there was when I was young) that he'd be exposed naturally before adolescence. Although I'd heard of chicken pox parties (on Mothering), where I live they appeared to be pretty rare. And my older two were still young enough that their doctor wasn't recommending CP boosters for them yet (although I suppose another doctor might have. The idea of having to repeat the CP vaccine was kind of new). The middle son definitely wasn't old enough for a booster then, but would be entering adolescence soon. So there was a chance the youngest would catch it - and be contagious - while his older brothers had waning immunity, and were old enough that CP could lead to sterility, etc. So I just followed the herd and had the little one vaccinated, too. But I wish, in retrospect, that his older brothers had simply contracted it when they were his age and been done with it.
Vocal Minority-can I ask. I'm confused and we don't have the chickenpox vaccine here so my knowledge of it is not great.
Are you saying that the chickenpox vaccine only confers 10 years of immunity but immunity from actually catching the disease is lifetime? Is that a quirk of the vaccine, or is it more that because kids are presumably not exposed to chickenpox, their immune systems don't get that regular reminder? (which I think is partly the function of boosters).
My kids have all had chickenpox and I have to say it was mild and uneventful. I also seem to have immunity despite not having had the jab, so presumably at some time I had it very, very mildly. I'd need to look at the figures before vaccinating for chickenpox, tbh. I probably would, in the same way I often have a flu jab-I don't especially want to be sick, I'd rather spend my free time doing something a bit more fun. Like I say, I'd need to look at the stats. I do think vaccines are fundamentally safe by the time they are given to us, and my hunch is that a kid who reacts to a vaccine would tend also to react to the disease. Because I did react to measles as a child-I developed meningitis-I am very on the ball about my kids getting vaccinated for it. I'd assume that they were more likely to have a reaction to the disease than other kids.
Yes! In rare cases, a person might contract chicken pox twice, although one of the two cases will usually be extremely mild. But as a rule, it's "one and done".
Contracting chicken pox makes you susceptible to shingles, as you age. I think there's a shingles "vaccine" that basically helps keep the virus dormant. (Otherwise those "Ask your doctor about the risk of shingles!" commercials would exist simply to give the elderly anxiety attacks, because there's nothing they can do to avoid it.) I don't know how vaccinating for chicken pox affects your risk of shingles.
But yes, vaccinating for something that's usually pretty minor seems rather silly, when catching the illness gives you better future immunity than the vaccine. In contrast, when I hear people talking about how a "healthy immune system" should protect their children against things like polio, I think that's naivete, bred from the luxury of an entire generation never having witnessed polio, thanks to the vaccine.
Edited by VocalMinority - 9/24/13 at 6:41am
"But yes, vaccinating for something that's usually pretty minor seems rather silly, when catching the illness gives you better future immunity than the vaccine...."
In some ways I agree, I think that there's an issue with the way some vaccines are marketed. The trouble is, to my generation that grew up with measles and chickenpox, these just aren't super-scary diseases. It feels a bit like vaccinating against the common cold, to give another example of a basically low-risk disease with occasional complictions. You can't really use the same argument for measles as diptheria or polio, not when you're marketing to parents who themselves had measles entirely routinely and don't know anyone it went wrong for.
The main argument to me for the MMR is herd immunity and protecting those who can't. And that's just not how the vaccines are marketed, at least in the UK. Rather than see it as a civic duty, we're told its extremely dangerous, public enemy #1 and so it keys into selfish interest. To tell the vast majority of us who had the MMR illnesses without incident that these are killer diseases just doesn't work because it doesn't tally with our experience.I mean I'm one of the statistics-I had serious complications of measles-but even I think that's rare.
I think it makes it a whole lot easier to discredit all vaccines and does not help in the wake of Andrew Wakefield. For these illnesses I feel the argument needs to be more respectful of people's actual experience. At the end of the day I don't really give my kids the MMR for their benefit but as a social responsibility because they live in society. As a pro-vaxxer, this "measles is a killer disease" malarky definitely muddies the water and makes the discussion a whole lot harder. Making people fall off their chair with laughter will do that. There are good, serious, public health reasons to vaccinate, and we need to get directly to them. Claiming measles to be a routinely killer disease just makes us seem not too credible,
What I'd be interested in though is from where the information comes that catching the illness gives you better future immunity than the vaccine. Are we comparing like with like? Are we considering the need for boosters? Are we considering how the disease is actually transmitted and whether in order to eradicate it we actually need more than 10 years immunity? I'd be very interested in seeing research to back up the claim that the chickenpox vaccine, administered correctly and with appropriate boosters, lasts only 10 years.
Edited by Fillyjonk - 9/24/13 at 12:05pm
Lord, if there was a vaccine against the common cold I would take it IN AN INSTANT.
So much misery. Ugh. Plus I work with vulnerable populations and want to protect them. Used to work in hospice where a cold really could finish someone off. We were understaffed, often, though, and so the decision to come into work or not to come in was always really hard.