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Teen Girls' Health

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HPV Vaccine Not Linked to Promiscuity in Girls

Obstacles to Immunization

Although the number of girls getting the HPV vaccine has been rising, it’s still not as high as that of other vaccines recommended for teens, Bednarczyk and his collaborators write.

Besides parents' worry that vaccinating their young daughters could lead to promiscuity, obstacles also include the fact that the vaccine is a three-shot series given over six months, there are concerns about its safety, and there is the fear of needles, the researchers say.

In a previous study, Bednarczyk says, he had surveyed college-aged women about the vaccine. About 1 in 10 of those who hadn’t been immunized said their parents wouldn’t let them get the vaccine, he says.

Earlier this month, another study, published online in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, found no serious health problems linked to Gardasil in the 60 days after immunization.

The study focused on nearly 200,000 girls and young women who got their initial Gardasil shot during the vaccine’s first 20 months on the market. Immunization was linked only with fainting on the day of the shot and skin infections in the two weeks afterward.

“There have been a number of safety studies, and all of them have been very consistent,” says researcher Nicola Klein, MD, PhD, co-director of the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center in Oakland, Calif.

Fainting probably had more to do with getting a shot than with Gardasil in particular, Klein says. It’s not clear whether the skin infections were due to the injection itself or to the vaccine, she says.

“I think these studies [Bednarczyk’s and hers] in total are very reassuring,” Klein says.

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