We’ve all seen the commercials, right? The ones that say, “I want to be one less”, the girls who don’t want to become a statistic, to get cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine prevents a few varieties of the virus that causes cervical cancer, so while it isn’t a cure, it could be a step in the right direction.
Well, Maya is 12 now, and not really acting interested in boys. We’ve been deciding whether to vaccinate her now or later. It’s not a matter of whether to vaccinate her or not…if we can protect her from the possibility of dying from cancer, wouldn’t we want to do so? And HPV is SO prevalent in Humans, your best chance of preventing it is to vaccinate before your child becomes sexually active. So they recommend vaccination between the ages of 10 and 12, to cover the ‘early bloomers’ in the crowd. The only problem is, for us, that the vaccination is so new. We want to wait a few years, just to make sure it’s safe. We did the same thing with chicken pox. We waited. One thing I like about Maya’s pediatrician is that she has a daughter about 9 months older than Maya. So when we were trying to decide if we wanted to vaccinate against chicken pox, we asked her, and she said, “The Jury’s still out in our household”. Meaning, she was for it, her husband wasn’t yet comfortable, and she waited until he was. Once they were comfortable vaccinating their daughter, we felt safer about giving that same shot to Maya. It’s the same now. So this year, when I talked to her pediatrician, she said, “It’s whether your daughter is 12 going on 30, or 12 going on 13. If she’s trying really hard to be grown up, really interested in boys, etc., you might not feel safe waiting. And if she’s not in a hurry, you can feel safe waiting a bit longer.” Her daughter just turned 13, and they’re waiting until she’s 14. That made me feel better. More like I didn’t have to decide TODAY. (Sometimes I wish we had waited maybe 5 more years to have Maya, so she wouldn’t always be on the front end of these vaccinations.)
ANYWAY, my whole point here was to talk to you parents of boys. Did you know that the vaccination is effective in boys as well? Why, you might ask, would I need to subject my son to a vaccination that won’t help him? Think of it this way. If it can prevent him from passing on a disease to a woman he loves, isn’t that a good thing? If your son can not watch his wife or lover die or suffer from a horrible disease, wouldn’t that be worthwhile? Are you going to bet some girl’s life on your son being a virgin until he marries, and her being a virgin as well, and them staying together forever? That’s a mighty risky gamble, and if it worked, people wouldn’t die from this disease now. I am not so sure that it’s available for boys yet, though. Maya’s doctor told me it’s effective for boys, but the article I linked to, above, suggests that it isn’t even available for them yet. Why?Â Very strange, in my book.
My further 2 cents. People who say that giving your child this vaccination encourages promiscuity are delusional. Maya has had a ton of shots throughout the years, and she NEVER asks what they’re for. She just hates having them, and is glad when they’re over. So if I’m not comfortable talking to her about it YET, I don’t have to. I can indeed talk to her about it in a few years, and tell her what it protects against, and what it doesn’t protect against, and why she should still be mighty careful, if she doesn’t want to end up like Jamie Lynn Spears or Bristol Palin. And one mighty good option is to wait. Some kids do. But I wouldn’t risk her life on it.