This is a speech presented to a local parent group on the issue of disease prevention through childhood vaccination. The specified vaccine is Gardasil for prevention of HPV virus. The HPV virus has become the commonest STD responsible for cervical cancer and vaginal cancer. The key to public health is disease prevention. Vaccination helps to prevent the virus. The campaign for vaccination is a way of collaborating with parents to give the children safe future. The fight against epidemic disease is to be a collective effort. Society is not violating the right of parents, rather this campaign is aimed at striking a balance between an individual right and a societys right to prevent large-scale epidemics. This speech is made to bare the pros and cons of Gardasil vaccine in order to create the atmosphere of trust and acceptance among the parents.
Key words: HPV human papillomavirus
Ladies and gentlemen! I thank you for making out time to be here. I promise not to waste your time, as I would go straight to the point. Today, the menace of cancer in our societies cannot be undermined. The alarming rate of cancer-related deaths among the women calls for our immediate and collective effort towards its prevention. Medical experts have discovered human papillomavirus (HPV) as one of the STDs that lead to cervical cancer in women. There are 30-40 types of HPVs, types 16 and 18 cause 75% of cervical cancer cases and 70% of vaginal cancer cases. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are six million new cases of genital HPV infections every year in the United States, 74% of which occur in patients between 15-24 years old. This statistics presents high risk of cervical cancer in our children in their most vulnerable and active stage of life. However, the HPV virus is preventable through HPV vaccines.
The key to Public Health, according to CDC, is prevention of diseases. This argument is based on the controversy that erupted in the 90s linking autism to vaccination. A CDC representative has stated that there was no connection between the two. On March 29, 2013, the Director of the Immunization Safety Office, Dr. DeStefano, spoke to NBC NEWS Health on this issue. According to him, We did not find any relationship between the number of antigens and the risk of autism (NBC NEWS Health, 2013). In 2011, Harris Interactive at George Mason University conducted a survey on the topic of Public Attitude Towards Vaccines; the results show that 86% of people support the use of vaccines in disease prevention. According to Harris Interactive (2011), Immunization is one of the most effective tools ever discovered for preventing infectious diseases".
Gardasil is the only vaccine that helps to protect children from HPV, which causes cervical cancer. Cervical cancer affects only women. Gardasil reduces chances of suffering vaginal cancer in women up to 70%. Gardasil works better when it is given to a person before any contact with HPV. It might not be always possible to control sexual activities of children, but parents can help make their sexual life safer. Thus, the target groups for this vaccine are young boys and girls 9 years of age. The aim is to eliminate the virus by vaccinating the younger generation. The Gardasil vaccine is given by 3 consecutive injections over 6 months. Side effects of Gardasil include: fever, fainting, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, and headaches; therefore, the immune system of the target group is to be taken into consideration when carrying out the vaccination. Moreover, Gardasil should be discontinued where allergic reaction is recorded after the first dose. Gardasil should not be used on people with severe allergic reaction to yeast and pregnant women. Doctors and health professionals can only prescribe Gardasil vaccine.
One of psychosocial impacts of Gardasil is the fact that some people view cervical cancer as a girl thing. According to Genus (2010), since cervical cancer is a disease that can only exist in female bodies, a drug that prevents such a cancer could be assumed to be useful only for women. Gardasil is for prevention of HPV-related diseases, especially cervical cancer.
The HPV virus is a very common STD. It is very difficult to tell who may fall prey to HP0- related diseases as the virus may disappear on its own with time. But cervical cancer or vaginal cancer, caused by HPV infection, develops with time and appears later in life.
It is rare for an infected pregnant mother to pass the virus on to the unborn child. When comparing HIV to HPV, although both are sexually transmitted diseases, HIV can only be controlled in order to prolong life. HPV can be completely avoided before sexual life through childhood vaccination. The chain of infection can be broken when this fundamental approach to disease prevention is applied.
According to CDC, morbidity for vaccine-preventable diseases (e.g. polio and smallpox) for which until 1990 vaccination was universally recommended for use in all children has declined. Preventable diseases, like measles and mumps, can cause permanent disability or even death.
The society respects rights of individuals with regard to vaccination of children. Parents reserve the fundamental right to determine how to protect their children from diseases. However, the HPV is fast developing into an epidemic, which is confirmed by the statistics of the mentioned above public health sector of the society, which represents the government willing to collaborate in this case. Public health officials see disease prevention through vaccination as an obligation. The campaign for immunization is not stepping on the individuals rights; rather, it is supporting individual efforts towards better and safe future for children. The collaboration between parents and a society to fight HPV virus through vaccination is an instance of striking a balance between the rights of an individual and the rights of the society.
The society foresees happy and safe future for younger generation in the campaign for vaccination of children against diseases. I encourage you all to avail of this beautiful opportunity for your childrens safe future. Vaccination is the weapon for fighting epidemics. Posterity will judge us right based on our collective as well as individual efforts towards safe future.
The alarming rate of cancer related deaths among women calls for our immediate and collective effort towards their prevention.
Medical experts have discovered human papillomavirus (HPV) as one of the STDs that lead to cervical cancer in women.
Collaboration between the parents and the society to fight HPV through vaccination of children is an instance of striking a balance between rights of an individual and rights of the society.
The key to public health is prevention of diseases.
Vaccines prevent diseases among the recipients and those who come in contact with them.
Vaccination allows eliminating the disease; thus, the target groups for this vaccine are boys and girls of 9 years of age.
Declines in morbidity have been reported for vaccine-preventable diseases (e.g. polio and smallpox), for which vaccination was universally recommended for use in children up to 100% before 1990.
Gardasil is the only vaccine that helps to protect children from HPV that causes cervical cancer. Gardasil reduces up to 70% the chances of suffering vaginal cancer in women.
For further information on HPV virus, the Gardasil vaccine and childhood vaccination:
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
2. Center for Health and Risk Communication (www.cmpa.com)
3. GARDASIL (www.gardasil.com)
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