(WYTV) – During this past year, childhood immunizations went down, putting kids at risk for diseases that we can prevent by vaccinations. But passing up routine shots isn’t good.
Doctors want this to be every parent’s routine: If you have a preteen, make sure he or she gets vaccinated for HPV, the human papillomavirus. We pass it back and force through sex, and it can also cause cancer.
“Thankfully, we have a great vaccine. The HPV vaccine can prevent 90% of cancers caused by HPV virus,” said Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, who specializes in pediatric infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic.
The vaccine is recommended for 11 and 12 year old boys and girls. Children can get it at any regular visit to the pediatrician, but the vaccine is no good if the child already has the virus. Although it’s meant for a narrow age group, the HPV vaccine can be given to those as young as nine years old and up to 45 years old.
Some parents are reluctant, thinking the vaccine gives their children permission for sexual activity. After all, they are protected from the disease, but that’s a conversation to have with your child and your pediatrician.