MedShadow Weighs Pros and Cons of HPV Vaccine For Preteens

8 Questions Parents Should Ask Their Pediatrician

NEW YORK CITY, NY, November 19, 2014  – Why are parents still conflicted about giving their teens the HPV vaccine? MedShadow Foundation, an online advocacy resource that educates patients on side effects of prescription medications, today posted a report by Michelle Shapiro on the benefits and risks of inoculating preteens. HPV, the human papillomavirus, is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the US today, with approximately 79 million Americans affected, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Roughly 14 million become newly infected annually. While seemingly alarming, most people with HPV never develop symptoms, but some HPV infections can persist and lead to serious health issues including genital warts and cervical cancer among other cancers affecting the genitals and throat.  The CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine recommend the vaccine.

In the short time that the HPV vaccine has been available, a number of mild and more serious side effects have been reported, leaving parents wondering if they should or should not vaccinate their child.  Benefits include protection against precancerous cervical lesions and throat cancer, reduction in genital warts and importantly, long-lasting protection against HPV. For some, the vaccine also has a negative association because it is best given before sexual activity starts and most parents do not want to think of their preteen as being sexually active. “Although the science suggests that the HPV vaccine is safe, parents should still be proactive in educating themselves and discussing the subject with their pediatrician,” says Su Robotti, founder/president, MedShadow Foundation.

To help parents, the following questions are recommended:

  1. Do you recommend the HPV vaccine?
  2. What kind of side effects have you seen immediately after the shot?
  3. Based on how the vaccine works, do you think there will be long-term adverse effects?
  4. How long have you been giving this vaccine?
  5. Do you know of any adverse events among your patients or in this area?
  6. Would you give this to your child?
  7. If I get this vaccine for my child, what reactions should I be on the alert for?
  8. How long wills protection from the HPV vaccine last?

There are two vaccines – Gardisil and Cervarix – available for females which may be given from age 9-26. There is one vaccine available- Gardisil-for males up to age 21. Each vaccine is administered in a 3-part series.

Read more about the HPV vaccine here.

About MedShadow Foundation

Founded in 2012 by Su Robotti, MedShadow Foundation seeks to educate patients and encourage discussion between patient and health care provider about the short- and long-term side effects of medication. MedShadow Foundation uses its website and various social media platforms to gather and report news and resources related to the side effects of prescription medications. While recognizing the beneficial, often life-saving effects of drugs, we know that accurate and complete information on side effects is frequently lacking.  For more information, visit

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