Monday night’s Republican primary debate got very heated, with Michele Bachmann slamming Texas Governor Rick Perry for signing an executive order requiring all sixth-grade girls to receive the vaccine for HPV, the virus that can lead to cervical and other kinds of cancer, as well as genital warts. The CDC recommends the vaccine as well, although there is no federal mandate that it must be administered.
Plus: Everything Parents Need to Know about the HPV Vaccine
Bachmann called the vaccine “a very dangerous drug,” and recounted the story of a mother who said her daughter suffered mental retardation after getting immunized for HPV. The AAP soon released a statement refuting the science of that claim:
“The American Academy of Pediatrics would like to correct false statements made in the Republican presidential campaign that HPV vaccine is dangerous and can cause mental retardation. There is absolutely no scientific validity to this statement. Since the vaccine has been introduced, more than 35 million doses have been administered, and it has an excellent safety record. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Family Physicians all recommend that girls receive HPV vaccine around age 11 or 12. That’s because this is the age at which the vaccine produces the best immune response in the body, and because it’s important to protect girls well before the onset of sexual activity. In the U.S., about 6 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year, and 4,000 women die from cervical cancer. This is a life-saving vaccine that can protect girls from cervical cancer.”
It’s estimated by the CDC that at least 50 percent of sexually active men and women have been infected by the time they’re 50. While most infections will go away without treatment, some will lead to serious health problems, which the vaccine can protect against.
Plus: Study Says Circumcision Can Decrease HPV Transmission
Do you think girls should be required to get the vaccine? Do you think Bachmann is irresponsible for discouraging parents from choosing it? Did you get it for your daughter?