We’re into the middle of September, and the kids have been back at school for a few weeks now. Over the last week or so this topic has been on my news feed on facebook a lot. Quite a few parents that have daughters just starting 1st Year in secondary school are questioning the safety of the HPV vaccine and whether or not to allow their daughters to have it.
I’ll admit i didn’t really know much about it, sure i had heard of it. I even thought great, what a break through, a vaccine that will product our daughters against a disease that kills so many women worldwide every year.
Now before i continue, let me just put it out there. I am NOT anti immunisation. All 5 of my children have had all their vaccinations that were recommended when they were babies. Except for the youngest one, who has yet to get his BCG, but that’s another story for another day. But, when i actually started researching the vaccine a bit more it led me to question. Would i be happy to let MY daughter have this vaccine?
For anyone who has never heard about it. The HPV vaccination is a vaccine to prevent infection by certain strains of HPV or Human Papilloma Virus. It has been offered to teenage girls in Ireland since May 2010 as part of the school vaccination programme to protect against a virus that can lead to cervical cancer, and is recommended by the World Health Organisation. It is considered to be safe and the side effects were usually mild and temporary reactions.
Upon further searching i then i discovered story after story of young girls who had been fit, healthy normal teenagers before recieving this vaccination now in chronic pain, having no energy and in some cases unable to attend school. Their lives essentially ruined. I was in shock, i couldn’t believe what i was seeing.
I now can see why so many parents have reservations about letting their daughters have this vaccine. There is so much conflicting information out there. It’s diffucult to know what would be the best thing to do.
Thankfully, as my daughter is only seven, i don’t have to make that decision for another 5 years at least. But it has got me thinking. Obviously i want to do everything in my power to protect my daughter. Would the health benefits of this vaccine ie. reducing the risk of cervical cancer outweigh the risk of those awful side effects? If this was available for me would i get it for myself? If the answer was no, then why would i give it to my daughter?
I have always believed that the age requirement for the cervical smear test should be lowered from 25 to 18 or 21 at the very least. I myself, had carried and given birth to 4 of my children before i qualified to avail of the cervical check, even when all the consultants in the maternity hospital i was attending were recommending that i have one performed around 6 weeks post partum.
I am more confused about this vaccine than i was before i started researching it. The answer to the above question, would i let my daughter have it? I still don’t know. I think a lot of parents are confused about making a decision. A few friends of mine have told me that the information pack they received with the permission slip for the vaccine did not contain a great deal of information.
What are your thoughts on the HPV vaccine? Has your daughter had the vaccine? If not are you going to allow her to get it?