HPV Vaccine Proving Very Successful

The HPV vaccine is available at little to no cost at the Malheur County Health Department for ages 9-26 for both males and females. Call 541-889-7279 to make an appointment to protect you and those you love and care for.

The prevalence of cancer-causing HPV strains has dropped markedly in women who have been vaccinated.

The vaccine against HPV, introduced in 2006, appears to be very successful in preventing cancer in real-world circumstances.

HPV, or human papilloma virus, is a common sexually transmitted disease, and while most cases are harmless, some types of the virus can cause genital warts and cancer.

Researchers reviewed 40 studies of HPV infection in 14 high-income countries, with data from more than 60 million people followed for up to eight years after vaccination. The study is in The Lancet.

They found that the prevalence of HPV 16 and 18, which cause most cases of cervical cancer, decreased over the period by 83 percent among girls ages 13 to 19, and by 66 percent among women 20 to 24. Infection with three other high-risk types, 31, 33 and 45, decreased 54 percent among girls 13 to 19.

The prevalence of genital warts also decreased sharply in women and, thanks to herd immunity, in unvaccinated men. Cases of precancerous cervical lesions decreased by 51 percent among girls 15 to 19, and by 31 percent among women 20 to 24.

“HPV infections, the cause of cervical cancer and precancerous lesions, are significantly declining in countries with high vaccination coverage,” said the senior author, Marc Brisson, a professor of epidemiology at Laval University in Quebec City.

Adapted from an article in The New York Times.

Vaccine Safety

2017 World Immunization Week infographic #VaccinesWork

Due to the success of immunization, some diseases are no longer perceived as a threat. Certain groups have even questioned the utility of vaccination in spite of its proven success in controlling disease. In recent years, a number of web sites providing unbalanced, misleading and alarming vaccine safety information have been established, which can lead to undue fears, particularly among parents and patients. 

Vaccines are safe. Any licensed vaccine is rigorously tested across multiple phases of trials before it is approved for use, and regularly reassessed once it is on the market. Scientists are also constantly monitoring information from several sources for any sign that a vaccine may cause an adverse event. Most vaccine reactions are usually minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever. In the rare event a serious side effect is reported, it is immediately investigated.

It is far more likely to be seriously injured by a vaccine-preventable disease than by a vaccine. For example, in the case of polio, the disease can cause paralysis, measles can cause encephalitis and blindness, and some vaccine-preventable diseases can even result in death. While any serious injury or death caused by vaccines is one too many, the benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the risks, and many more illness and deaths would occur without vaccines.

Scientific evidence shows that giving several vaccines at the same time has no negative effect on a child’s immune system. Children are exposed to several hundred foreign substances that trigger an immune response every day. The simple act of eating food introduces new antigens into the body, and numerous bacteria live in the mouth and nose. A child is exposed to far more antigens from a common cold or sore throat than they are from vaccines.

The key advantage of having several vaccines at once is fewer clinic visits, which saves time and money. Also, when a combined vaccination is possible (e.g. for diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus), that will result in fewer injections and reduces discomfort for the child. A number of steps can also be taken to reduce pain at the time of vaccination.

Information adapted from the World Health Organization Vaccine Safety Net.

Recommended Immunization Schedules

Shingrix is preferred vaccine to prevent shingles

We recommend following these simple immunization schedules for people of all ages, from birth throughout adulthood. Visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Immunization Schedules for easy to use instructions to keep your whole family protected.

And download the Growing Up with Vaccines fact sheet on information about vaccines at every life stage.

Call the Malheur County Health Department at 541-889-7279 to schedule your vaccine appointment and to review your immunization record. Walk-ins are also welcomed.