WHY DOES MY CHILD NEED THE HPV VACCINE?
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common virus that most people will get at some point in their life.
The HPV vaccine can protect your child against the HPV strains that may cause certain types of cancer or genital warts. It is recommended that both boys and girls receive the HPV vaccine.
HPV CAN CAUSE THE FOLLOWING CANCERS:
- Cervical cancer
- A type of head and neck cancer that can infect the back of the throat
- Anal cancer
- Vaginal and vulvar cancer
- Penile cancer
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD MY CHILD GET THE HPV VACCINE?
It is recommended that boys and girls get the vaccine at ages 11 or 12. The vaccine works very well at that age and it is also well before the child could be exposed to the virus.
If you child is older than 12 and hasn’t received the vaccine, it is not too late. The vaccine is approved for females up to age 26 and for males up to age 21 (some males are able to get the vaccine up until age 26 if they have sex with other men or if they have compromised immune systems).
IS THE VACCINE SAFE?
Yes. Many studies have been done, before and after the release of the vaccine, and none have shown any pattern of serious side effects. Here are the most common side effects which are no different than other adolescent vaccines:
- Pain, redness, or swelling in the arm where the shot was given
- Headache or feeling tired
- Muscle or joint pain
Some patients have fainted after receiving the vaccine (this is common among teens getting vaccines). Your child’s healthcare provider will have your child lie or sit down for 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine to prevent fainting.
WHERE CAN MY CHILD GET THE VACCINE?
Your child can get the vaccine at their pediatrician or family doctor. Please ask for it at your next appointment.
HOW MUCH DOES THE VACCINE COST?
Because of the Affordable Care Act, most private health insurance plans must cover the HPV vaccine at no out-of-pocket cost, meaning no co-pay or deductible. If your child is uninsured or underinsured, the vaccine (and other vaccines) may be covered under the Vaccines for Children program. To find out if your child qualifies, you can call 1 877 PA HEALTH (1 877 734 3258) for more information or click here.