Marty's Journey

Why Get the HPV Vaccine? Experts Weigh In

Allegheny County Health Department director Karen Hacker explains why many families are suspicious about the HPV vaccine, and why they should ultimately get the vaccine for their children.

A lot of parents are hesitant to get their children vaccinated against the Human Papillomavirus, or HPV. Allegheny County Health Department director Dr. Karen Hacker isn't surprised, even though doctors now know that vaccination at an early age can prevent girls and boys from getting certain cancers as adults.

Hacker admits there's still a lot of suspicion about the vaccine even though it's been around for over a decade, and has been proven safe and effective. She says there's still a lot of concern among parents about side effects, and acknowledges the fact that HPV is a sexually transmitted disease makes parents uncomfortable. Still she told us, the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh any concerns:

Hacker says parents should research the issue with reputable sources, listen to their doctor's advice, and ultimately get the vaccine for their children if they feel comfortable. She also told Sparkt some good news: the vaccine series has become easier with only two shots needed for those patients who are 14 and under. Those who wait until after age 14 will still need the three-shot course.

"All the studies have shown this is one of the safest vaccines that we have." Dr. Karen Hacker, Director, Allegheny County Health Department
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