Skip to content

HPV vaccine recommended for pre-teen girls

on October 1, 2008


While California state guidelines list required immunizations for school-aged children, there are also several optional vaccines available, such as the flu shot. The one making the biggest waves in medicine today, as much for its flashy advertisements as for its taboo nature, is a vaccine marketed widely as Gardasil, which protects girls and women from the types of human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease, that can cause cervical cancer.

For more information:

Official pleads for fall immunizations, despite “misinformation”

Vaccinations, as recommended by the CDC

In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began recommending that pre-teen girls be vaccinated. A recent report by the CDC, however, indicates that as of late last year, just one in five American girls under 18 had received the vaccine.

According to Renee Cheney-Cohen, coordinator for the Alameda County immunization program, there is reluctance among adults to encourage reproductive health.  “People get nervous around it because it has something to do with the vaginal area, a sexual area,” says Cheney-Cohen. “It isn’t any different than getting protected against chicken pox or meningitis. Why should it be?”

The CDC recommends the HPV vaccine for girls 11 to 12 years old; the Food and Drug Administration recommends it for children as young as 9, citing a better response at younger ages. The point of both recommendations is to reach girls before they become sexually active because the vaccine offers no protection at all once girls are exposed. The HPV vaccine is also available for girls and women above the age of 12, through age 26, who have not been exposed.

“The problem you run into,” says Dr. F. Ralph Berberich of Berkeley’s Pediatric Medical Group, “is the parent is convinced the child won’t be sexually active, but the child will tell me she’s considering becoming sexually active. I can’t break her confidence so I’ll speak obliquely of other kids in the practice who became sexually active without parental consent.”

The vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV, meaning that about 30 percent of cervical cancers will not be prevented. It is estimated that 80 percent of American women contract HPV by the time they are 50 years old. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 11,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year and nearly 4,000 women die from it annually. Half of cervical cancer cases occur in women between the ages of 35 and 55.

Cheney-Cohen says her daughter was vaccinated before going to college. “It’s kind of a cost-benefit analysis always. How much is this going to cost me versus how much am I going to gain from it? I think when you look at it this way, I’d say go get it.”

The retail price of the vaccine is $125 per dose with three doses required to complete the treatment. The vaccine is covered for low-income patients by the federal government’s Vaccines for Children program.

Links for more information:
– Alameda County Public Health Department
– American Academy of Pediatrics Childhood Immunization and Support Program
– National Vaccine Information Center
– U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
– Vaccines for Children×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg|×210.jpg


  1. […] California state law requires that all children entering school and childcare facilities be vaccinated. If guidelines are followed exactly, children will receive about 30 immunizations to protect against more than a dozen illnesses by the time they are 18. In addition to the bevy of required immunizations against diseases like mumps, whooping cough and chickenpox, health departments across the state recommend “optional” immunizations, such as vaccines against the flu and human papillomavirus, which causes certain types of cervical cancer. (See related article.) […]

  2. | body detox on August 2, 2009 at 2:10 am

    everyone should get an HPV Vaccine and always practice safe sex to avoid genital warts.

  3. | Acne Treatment on September 13, 2009 at 4:37 am

    the best defense against HPV is still abstinence and knowing your partner very well. There is already an HPV Vaccine so i guess it would help a lot in controlling this disease.

  4. ~ Melatonin Sleep Aid on September 27, 2009 at 2:26 am

    as always, safe sex and HPV Vaccine should work in reducing infections. the symptoms of HPV is kind of nasty.

  5. Kajol on May 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    really everyone should get an HPV Vaccine and always practice safe sex to avoid genital warts.

  6. Reema on May 9, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    very informatic topic and as always, safe sex and HPV Vaccine should work in reducing infections. the symptoms of HPV is kind of nasty.

  7. Cyru on July 2, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    very informatic topic, HPV vaccines work for reducing infections, safe sex.

Oakland North welcomes comments from our readers, but we ask users to keep all discussion civil and on-topic. Comments post automatically without review from our staff, but we reserve the right to delete material that is libelous, a personal attack, or spam. We request that commenters consistently use the same login name. Comments from the same user posted under multiple aliases may be deleted. Oakland North assumes no liability for comments posted to the site and no endorsement is implied; commenters are solely responsible for their own content.

Photo by Basil D Soufi
Oakland North

Oakland North is an online news service produced by students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and covering Oakland, California. Our goals are to improve local coverage, innovate with digital media, and listen to you–about the issues that concern you and the reporting you’d like to see in your community. Please send news tips to:

Latest Posts

Scroll To Top