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Should the HPV Vaccine Become Mandatory? Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 338

Essay

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a family of viruses that can infect the human body in multiple ways and at a variety of levels of severity.  These viruses can be sexually transmitted, passed from mother to infant during pregnancy, and passed in other ways.  Although the risk of developing cancer from HPV infection is uncommon, it is still a risk-factor.  Of a more severe concern is the risk of developing cervical cancer from exposure to the HPV virus. The HPV vaccine presents a low-risk way to protect the populace from risk of infection. This vaccine is currently approved for use for males and females between the ages of 10 and 26 (Public Health Canada, 2011).  Parents may resist giving their children permission to receive the HPV vaccine due to its relationship to sexually-transmitted diseases, believing that since their children aren’t yet sexually active, they are not at risk. However, this preventative measure  presents a substantial opportunity to protect young people from four types of HPV, including the type that is most commonly associated with cancers (Public Health Canada, 2011).  Mandatory vaccinations of children can be an inflammatory issue that may result in increased resistance to the vaccine when parents refuse to have their children vaccinated on principle, rather than because of health or safety issues.

Although the vaccine has been extensively tested and is considered extremely safe for humans, it is a fairly new preventative health strategy. As such, it will take time for people to accept the HPV vaccine as a safe and effective way to ensure the long-term health of their children.  Doctors, nurses, teacher, and public health officials can help to facilitate public acceptance of this vaccine by providing information about its efficacy and the positive implications of its use.  Such an approach will hopefully circumvent the need to make the HPV vaccine mandatory, thereby avoiding the legal, moral, and ethical pitfalls of mandatory vaccinations.

References

Public Health Agency of Canada. (2011, Mar. 31). Human papillomavirus (HPV) prevention and           HPV vaccines: Questions and answers. Retrieved from http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/std-mts/hpv-vph/hpv-vph-vaccine-eng.php

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