HPV Herd Immunity: Provide It Free or Mandate It

In Australia, 70% of girls turning 15 have received all three doses of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. In the United States, 38% of girls 13 to 17 have received all three doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Seven years ago in 2007, Australia began providing the HPV vaccine FREE to girls 12 to 18 in a school-based program. Histologically, researchers have confirmed high-grade cervical abnormalities and high-grade cytology were significantly lower for vaccinated women within five years of implementation, with the greatest vaccine effectiveness observed for the youngest women.

In general, increased immunization rates result in significantly decreased risk for disease. When a community has a high level of vaccination, an individual might decide to not be vaccinated to avoid the small risk for adverse events while benefitting from the vaccination of others. If a sufficient number of individuals make this decision, the protection levels in the community decline, the herd immunity effect is lost, and the risk of transmission rises. For the Gardasil vaccine to be effective and get HPV herd immunity, the government has to step in. Provide it free or mandate it.

The first school vaccination require­ment was enacted in the 1850s in Massachusetts to prevent smallpox transmis­sion in schools. By the beginning of the twentieth century, nearly half of the states had requirements for children to be vaccinated before they entered school. Onset of the last naturally occurring case was in 1977. Smallpox has been eradicated from the world and vaccination against smallpox stopped. As of 2000, the CDC purchased over half the childhood vaccine administered in the United States through two federally overseen, state-administered programs.

Do you think our government should provide the vaccine for free to boys and girls in the US or do you think it should be mandated?

 

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