What are the Pros and Cons of HPV Vaccination?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2019
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Getting a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination is a highly debated subject primarily due to the core issue: teenage sexuality. This vaccination is approved for women aged nine to 26 years old, but generally recommended for those aged 11 to 13. Some pros of an HPV vaccination are that it guards against four strains of the sexually transmitted disease HPV, and it is highly recommended and considered safe among many national authorities, including the United States Federal Drug Administration and the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. The cons of this vaccine are primarily its potential side effects and the strong negative feelings some parents feel toward vaccinating their preteen and teenage daughters against a sexually transmitted disease. Some parents believe that vaccinating against such diseases encourages their daughters to be more sexually promiscuous.

An HPV vaccination has the potential to eventually prevent millions of new cases of infections and cancer. Since some women do not catch the cancer caused by an HPV virus in time, the vaccine can also prevent unnecessary deaths. In addition, the cases of genital warts and cervical cancers should drop in number due to HPV immunization. For many people, this pro alone outweighs the cons so much that the vaccine has become mandatory to attend school in some jurisdictions.


Monitoring agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administrations in the United States, have deemed the HPV vaccine safe. Possible side effects are generally considered safe, and the dangerous ones rare. The general medical consensus is that the vaccination has more of a positive impact than a negative one.

Some people object to HPV vaccination for reasons other than concerns about its efficacy. These people tend to believe that because the vaccine addresses a sexually transmitted virus, having it administered to a person is a form of admission to an ethical or moral failing. As this vaccine is typically administered to girls at a fairly young age, some parents are averse to the idea of protecting their child from a sexually transmitted health danger and worry that such a vaccination would encourage promiscuity.

Undergoing HPV vaccination does have some possible negative side effects. Pain at the injection site is the most common side effect, while redness and swelling is also very common. Fever, diarrhea, and headache may also occur. More serious possible side effects include the normal signs of allergic reactions, such as unusual skin issues and respiration issues, as well as severe fever and paralysis. Some rare possible side effects include blood clotting, general feelings of unwellness, and difficulty sleeping.


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The HPV vaccine schedule is three doses for adolescents ages 11-12. The series of three shots is given over six months and its important to have all three shots for complete protection against the human papillomavirus, which can lead to cancer. The shots are available to both males and females. No known cure to human papillomavirus exists so shots can be the best prevention. Human papillomavirus is very contagious and can be passed from person to person even when the infected person has no warts at all. The CDC says that all people will acquire human papillomavirus in their lifetime even if they have sex with just one person.

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