The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is the second vaccine that can prevent cancers in people (the first was the hepatitis B vaccine). However, the true potential of the HPV vaccine has not yet been realized — in part because of underutilization related to unfounded safety concerns. The fact is, the HPV vaccine is one of the most tested and safest vaccines available.
If given to all eligible 11- to 12-year-old boys and girls, the HPV-9 vaccine would prevent almost 30,000 cases of cancer and 5,000 deaths per year. While some consider this vaccine to only protect girls, the reality is that about one-third of all cancers caused by HPV occur in males. Therefore, both boys and girls should be vaccinated.
One area of concern about the safety of this vaccine relates to chronic conditions and whether there may be a causal association between receipt of the vaccine and development of such conditions. Watch as Dr. Paul Offit, Director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, explains why the HPV vaccine cannot cause chronic diseases.
View this video with a transcript