If you are a young woman or if you have preteen daughters, you are probably struggling about whether or not you should get the HPV Vaccine, commonly called Gardasil. Is it safe? Will your daughters turn into zombies? Does it cause arthritis, knobby knees, or zits?
We aren’t trying to be flip here, but it seems as if everyone on social media has something to say about this vaccine, most of it not good. Unfortunately, it appears that everything from pimples to funny looking knees gets blamed on this vaccine.
If someone told you that you could fight cancer, avoid sexually transmitted disease, and more, simply by getting a shot, wouldn’t you rush out to get it?
So why is Gardasil getting a bad rap?
Here are the 10 top facts you must know about this vaccine so that you can make an informed decision.
- What Is It?
In a nutshell, Gardasil is a vaccine designed to prevent all 4 strains of the human papillomavirus, or HPV ( known to you and I as herpes) which accounts for about 90 percent of all genital warts and anal cancer.
- Who Should Get It?
The FDA recommends that females between the ages of 9 and 26 should get this vaccine. If you are already infected, this vaccine will protect you from other types of HPV, but it will not be effective against the strain you are infected with. Since it’s been estimated that about 4 percent of girls have sex before they are 13, and almost 63 percent have sex by the time they are seniors in high school, this vaccine works best when given at a young age.
- How Long Is the Vaccine Effective?
Research suggests that it should work about 5 years, but might last longer.
- Will I get HPV from the Vaccine?
No. It is impossible to get HPV from the Gardasil vaccine because it contains a virus like particle, but not the real virus.
- Will My Daughter Die; Have an Allergic Reaction, Etc?
While there have been a few reports of women having typical allergic reactions, most people experience common symptoms such as slight swelling and redness at the injection site, some pain or discomfort in the arm for a day or two, and there are very, very few reports of real problems. Doctors are instructed to keep a patient for 15 or 20 minutes after the shot to watch for allergic reactions and fainting spells. However, there are plenty of reports from women who say that after the shot they experienced pain, paralysis, unrelenting fatigue, blindness, or even death. The problem is that researchers have been unable to link any of these issues to the Gardasil vaccine. With more than 86 million doses of Gardasil being given out between 2006 and 2015, with only 32,925 reports of problems being filed with the FDA. Remember, these problems may or may not have been caused by the vaccine. It’s also good to note that about 14 percent of these reports were reported because of things such as the vaccine being given to someone who should not have received it or improper storage of the vaccine.
- What is the Risk VS the Benefits?
The CDC has carefully studied the risks and benefits of the Gardasil vaccine and they recommend it. You have to admit, cancer prevention, herpes prevention, and STD protection is a pretty awesome benefit. HPV causes serious cancers in both males and females and if you can prevent it, why not?
- Who Should Not be Vaccinated?
The following is a list of persons who should not get the Gardasil vaccine:
- If you or your child has severe allergies, especially to yeast or latex
- Pregnant women
- If you or your child is sick or has a fever
- If you or your child has ever had an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Read the insert for a list of ingredients.
- Will the Vaccine Damage a Woman’s Ovaries?
Both the FDA and CDC have conducted studies regarding ovarian failure in women who have had this vaccine and determined that there were no cases linked to this vaccine. In the 80 million doses of Gardasil administered, there were 16 reports of premature ovarian failure. There were no patterns found, nor was there any evidence that the vaccine caused these problems. This vaccine was extensively studied in clinical trials for years before it was approved for use.
- Will the Vaccine Cause Guillain-Barre Syndrome?
Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) is a very rare disease where your immune system damages your own nerve cells, sometimes causing paralysis or muscle weakness. Most people will eventually recover from this disease, but a few people have been known to experience long term nerve damage. The CDC monitored GBS problems between 2006 and 2012 and found no cases of GBS among women who were given the vaccine. Not one.
- But What If I Have a Problem After Receiving the Vaccine??
A severe allergic reaction with swelling of the throat and face or difficulty breathing is a life threatening emergency. Call 911 immediately or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Other symptoms that might be of concern would be a high fever, a fast heartbeat, weakness, or dizziness. While most of these problems would occur within a few minutes, it is possible that allergic reactions can occur even a few hours after the vaccine has been given.
See your doctor or go to your local hospital if you have any concerns after receiving the vaccine. Your doctor will file a report with the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.
Keep in mind that most of the horror stories you read about on social media sites have no basis in fact. True, someone might have begun having headaches after receiving the vaccine, but this does not mean that the vaccine is the cause.