HPV Vaccine

The vaccine that is suggested for the prevention of the most cancerous strain of HPV is known as Gardasil. Since the introduction of the vaccine in June of 2006 there have been at least 36 million doses distributed globally. The vaccine works against 2 types of HPV strains(strain types 16 and 18) (remember there are hundreds of strains) that cause about 75% of cervical cancer cases and 2 more types (strains 6 and 11) the cause 90% of genital wart cases. It also treats precancerous or dysplastic lesions caused by HPV types 6,11,16 and 18. In boys aged 9 to 26, Gardasil has protected against 90% of genital warts cases. In girls and young women ages 9 to 26, gardasil helps protect between 70% of vaginal cancer cases and up to 50% of vulvar cancer causes. Since gardasil does not protect against all types of cervical cancer it is important for women to continue routine cervical cancer screenings. Gardasil in itself is not a treatment for someone currently infected with cancer or genital warts, it is a preventive measure. The treatment occurs in a series of shots, three injections over 6 months. The price per injection is steep at about $165.00. The clinics next to the pharmacies at Walgreens offer the injections.

Upon FDA approval in 2006, the FDA Advisory Committe on Immunization Practices recommended the vaccine for use in girls and women between the ages of 9 and 26. The intelligence behind the development and generation of the Gardasil goes out to Dr. Kathrin Jansen, Eliav Barr and Barry Buckland from Merck research laboratories. While they have won awards for their work they have not received a noble prize.

Issues about Gardasil’s safety has triggered a lot of controversy. There are many U.S. physicians that would not recommend the vaccine to anyone. Some horror stories involve young children with bright futures losing everything in the wake of a recent vaccination from gardasil; however, the FDA has decided that all reported injuries and deaths shortly after Gardasil vaccination are due only to coincidence. Some doctors believe that the vaccination is unnecessary considering the fact that 90% of all cases of HPV are cleared by the hosts immune system. In addition, profits upwards of one to two billion dollars a year for Merck are believed to be motivating Merck to advocate for vaccination despite the surrounding concerns and controversy. Furthermore, in this recent post Spain’s authorities decided to stop administration of gardasil from a batch of nearly 76,000 doses after two young women became seriously ill. On the other hand, the country of Sweden stated it is giving the vaccines free of charge to primary school girls (before their first sexual encounter) free of charge as of 2010. Recent evidence is showing that those who got the HPV vaccine are benefiting from it via less warts and cervical cancer diagnosis.

(Back to HPV from HPV vaccination)