Florida legislators are wrestling with the idea that school-aged children get the HPV vaccine before they are admitted into school.
HPV (human papillomavirus) is the virus responsible for causing cancer, and the CDC estimates that 79 million Americans have it but don’t realize it. The virus can go away on its but, but in cases that it doesn’t, it can lead to tonsil, throat and cervical cancer. The vaccine will not protect against every strain of HPV.
State lawmakers are suggesting that kids 11 and older, attending school, get the HPV vaccine. Although it would be mandatory, many parents are not happy with the idea.
Fort Myers’ resident Justin Govanus said none of his children are vaccinated.
He is just one of the many parents against the idea of vaccination. Govanus is so adamant about it that his kids do not go to public school.
According to Govanus, it’s the scientific studies that contradict the benefits of getting vaccinations that guide him to make that decision. He said he’s read a lot of material that shows that vaccinations are not healthy and can be problematic for small children.
Medical experts don’t agree with that.
Dr. Sue Hook said people are afraid of vaccines because of some fake information from the past. She has looked at both sides of the issue and says vaccines are safer than the disease they are meant to protect against.
Hook said healthcare providers want to keep people from getting an STD or being diagnosed with cancer than send them to get treatment after they’re diagnosed with the infection.
Dr. Thomas Schiller is a pediatrician who has urged parents to consider the vaccine. He advocates that kids as young as nine get it. Schiller said he’s glad to see the legislature siding with the health care providers on the recommendation.
The bill would require both boys and girls 11 and 12 years old to be vaccinated in order to remain in school. Hook said if the bill passes, lawmakers still won’t be the ones deciding who does or does not get the vaccine. She said parents will still be the ones deciding their child’s fate. The bill will let parents opt out of the requirement based on medical or religious reasons.
The average school-aged child is subjected to 33 vaccines by 16, including the flu vaccine.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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