The HPV vaccine gives parents a chance to prevent their children from developing some types of cancer, and two new studies reaffirm what past research has found — the vaccine is safe.
The two studies included millions of doses of Gardasil 9 vaccine, the only vaccine currently used in the United States for the prevention of HPV-related cancers.
“The data from our study was very reassuring. We saw nothing unexpected or surprising. With Gardasil 9, we can now prevent a large portion of cervical, oropharyngeal [mouth, tongue and throat] and other cancers,” said one of the studies’ lead author, Dr. James Donahue. He’s an epidemiologist with the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Wisconsin.
The studies and an accompanying editorial were published Nov. 18 in the journal Pediatrics.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted virus. It’s estimated that 79 million people in the United States are already infected with HPV. Around 14 million new infections with HPV occur every year. About half of those are teens and young adults, according to the editorial. Sometimes these infections get better on their own, but many do not.
HPV is responsible for more than 33,000 cancers each year — 20,000 in women and 13,000 in men. Routine use of the Gardasil 9 vaccine could prevent about 90% of these cancers, the editorial said.