The old adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” could be changed to “A vaccine TODAY, can help keep cancer away” when it comes to new findings about the effectiveness of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
A study in Pediatrics released online today found the HPV vaccine reduced strains of the virus and prevented its spread over a 10 year period. Young women 13 to 26 years of age were recruited from hospital-based and community health clinics for four studies, 1580 participants in total, from 2006 to 2017.
The promising results indicated that since the introduction of the HPV 4-valent and HPV 9-valent vaccines (4-types and 9-types of HPV respectively), there has been a significant decrease in the various covered strains infection rates. Also, prevalence of these same types of HPV have also decreased in women who were not vaccinated. More specifically, the HPV-4 vaccine showed a decrease of 80 percent in various strains for the vaccinated, and prevalence of these same types of HPV also decreased by 40 percent in women who were not vaccinated—implying a herd immunity.
In other words, as others are becoming vaccinated, the amount of circulating disease decreases, allowing non-vaccinated people to have a lower chance of being exposed to the disease. Estimated HPV-4 vaccine effectiveness was 90 percent the third study from 2013-2014 and 80 percent in the fourth study from 2016-2017. Researchers said further study is needed on the HPV 9-valent vaccine once there are higher rates of vaccination.
So why should we care?
Therefore, if you receive the vaccine, which has been shown to decrease infection rates, you are improving your chances of not becoming infected. In turn, decreasing your chance of developing the genital warts or cancers associated with it!
With all this in mind, some may ask “Should my child receive this vaccine?” The short answer is YES. However, it is natural to have a few questions and concerns about any type of vaccine. Below are a few common questions and answers to help explain the need for this vaccine: