(WYTV) – If you’re taking your preteen to the doctor for a back to school checkup, pediatricians say to put the HPV vaccine on your to-do list.
The vaccine protects against Human Papillomavirus, the virus known to cause most cervical cancers, as well as other cancers.
Experts recommend children begin the HPV vaccine series as young as age 11. A recent study shows most get the vaccine later than recommended.
Dr. Kimberly Giuliano of the Cleveland Clinic says it’s worrisome that a lot of preteens are not getting vaccinated.
“It is a completely safe vaccine, it’s just as safe as any other vaccine that we give, and it has the potential to save lives. It’s our very first vaccine against cancer. It’s pretty impressive that we have a cancer vaccine, and really concerning that not everybody is on board with getting it.”
Giuliano says the vaccine is more effective the younger a child is when he or she receives it.
She says some parents are leery of the vaccine and worried about potential side effects or that it will encourage teenagers into risky behavior.
She stressed that if there’s ever a chance of exposure to the virus, you want your child protected.