The HPV vaccine controversy

Among the many public health issues, the occurrence of cervical cancer is on the rise. According to recent studies by National Cancer Institute the incidence rates of cervical cancer increased. It is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) and there are two HPV vaccines available on the market which are: Gardasil and Cervarix. The research on the development of Gardasil vaccine started in the 1980’s and has been in use since 2006. The vaccine is said to work for both boys and girls especially from the girls’ age group of 13 to 26. So, given the efficacy of these vaccines, why there is still prevalence of the cervical cancer?

Not all cancers are treatable with vaccination. The National Cancer Institute said that a few women and men are getting vaccinated. The vaccination rates for men who can spread the virus are much more lower. Part of the reason remains if the vaccine is safe enough. There have been many cases with adverse effects. Some cases reported included pulmonary embolism cases and were fatal. Some other cases reported were hypersensitivity reactions to the vaccine. Nevertheless, according to the U.S Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found no connection with the vaccine. Besides, a small number of cases with Guillain-Barre Syndrome were revealed following Gardasil vaccination although no affirmation was made.

Companies are heavily promoting the safety and cost-effectiveness of the vaccines. Furthermore, the vaccines can minimize the need of medical care and medical tests such as the follow-up procedures from abnormal test results. On the other hand, while the HPV vaccination typically requires three shots – and no one likes shots- but it also comes costly running over $400 and it’s not covered by health insurance.

It remains unclear if the vaccinations will have a long-term impact. The morality of this is that it fails to provide any solution to the rise of the cervical cancer caused by human papillomavirus among young men and women creating a controversy of HPV vaccination.

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