The human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine, is a vaccine that everyone should receive, according to health officials who say HPV can affect anyone, so everyone should be prepared to fight the virus by receiving an HPV vaccine.
“HPV is extremely common — 85% of people will be exposed to HPV in their lifetime,” said Mari Shay, manager for women’s imaging service at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital’s Sheila R. Veloz Breast Center.
Though it is common, those who are vaccinated are unlikely to suffer from the virus because their immune system will be able to fight off the virus, Shay says.
“The optimal age to get the HPV vaccine is at 11 or 12, but people can receive it as young as 9,” said Shay. “It is best to get the vaccine before your 15th birthday.”
Individuals can get the vaccine up into their 20’s, but their doses will be increased from two to three.
“In the United States, there have been over 100 million doses given, and of those given they are still monitored and are fine,” said Shay. “There is no risk.”
Preventing HPV with this vaccine will also lessen the risk of developing cervical and genital cancers, according to health officials.
“Almost all cervical cancer is caused by HPV,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website says. “It is only when HPV stays in the body for many years that it can cause these cancers.”
Vaccines would protect children before they are exposed to the disease. It is best to get it sooner, rather than later, the website says.
“This is a vaccine that can prevent cancer,” said Dr. Robyn Glezer, of the Department of Family Medicine at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clarita Medical Offices 1. “With so many resources in medicine, cancer is something we wish we had more information or cures to eradicate the disease from the world.”
“This vaccine is important for boys, girls, women and men because at times the symptoms are asymptomatic so they don’t know that they are spreading it,” Glezer adds.
For those under 15, the second dose should be administered six to 12 months after the first dose. For anyone who is not vaccinated and is over the age of 15, contact your medical provider and schedule to receive the vaccination as soon as possible, Glezer says.
“It is important for everyone to know that this vaccine has been well studied and is very safe,” said Shay. “The vaccine is very effective.”