GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Now that kids between the ages of 12 and 15 can get the COVID vaccine, how does that effect other vaccines they might need, like HPV?
We spoke with the Mayo Clinic and American Cancer society.
“We are doing all we can to convince parents to come back and get the preventive care your children need now,” says Mayo Clinic Pediatrician Dr. Robert Jacobson.
We already know the pandemic put a pause on preventative care for all of us. And with the COVID vaccine now approved for some kids, the concern is that parents will chose one over the other.
“We want to make sure that now that parents are actively out scheduling COVID vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds, that they check with their pediatricians and see, are there other vaccines my child should get?" says Matt Flory with the American Cancer Society.
The American Cancer Society has a particular interest in the HPV vaccine. It's a two-dose regimen, given to children between the ages of 9 and 12, before they are sexually active. Human Papillomavirus causes infections that can later turn to cancer. The vaccine can prevent up to 90% of six different cancers.
“Five of these six cancers don't have a screening tests that find them early,” says Flory. “Prevention is better than treatment particularly for cancers that are going to be found in latter less treatable stages."
Dr. Robert Jacobson says both the COVID and HPV vaccines are important. One to end a pandemic, the other to end an endemic.
“We think of COVID 19 as this outrageous condition that we've got to control. Well, Human Papillomavirus causes cancers that are out of control,” he says.
"Nearly 80% of us have been infected by the time we are 50 years of age, and every year we have 34-thousand new cancers of the mouth and throat, and of the genitals, due to these infections years ago,” he says.
And now that the CDC says you don't have to wait between vaccines, the medical community hopes it will make it easier for parents to get it done.
“Not just think of this as an option, but think of this as a strong recommendation, they do this and do this now,” says Dr. Jacobson.
The American Cancer society says only about 27% of Minnesota kids have completed their HPV vaccine doses by age 13.