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  • HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
  • Vaccine Recommendations

Some parents resist HPV vaccination of their 11- and 12-year-olds because they are not sexually active. How should I counter this position?

Explain to the parent that vaccination starting at 11 or 12 years will provide the best protection possible long before the start of any kind of sexual activity. It is standard practice to vaccinate people before they are exposed to an infection, as is the case with measles and the other recommended childhood vaccines. Similarly, we want to vaccinate children before they get exposed to HPV. Studies of HPV vaccine indicate that younger adolescents respond better to the vaccine than older adolescents and young adults. Healthy children vaccinated at this age will need only 2 doses of vaccine rather than 3 doses if vaccinated at an older age. Finally, numerous research studies have shown that getting the HPV vaccine does not make kids more likely to be sexually active or start having sex at a younger age.

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