MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Parents are weighing in this week over a controversial STD vaccine that’s now being recommended for boys.
The HPV vaccine was originally intended for young girls to prevent cervical cancer later in life. Now, the Center for Disease Control said boys should get it too, starting when they’re 11 years old.
“Everybody’s growing up so fast,” Dave Lambert, a local father, said. “Things go a lot quicker than they used to. I think knowledge is power and it’s smart to be aware of everything.”
Pediatrician Abraham Jacob said he plans to recommend the vaccine for his own sons and hopes other parents follow his lead.
“It’s the first vaccine in history that’s a cancer preventer,” said Jacob. “And this is something we’ve dreamed about for decades.”
The human papillomavirus is most widely known for causing cervical cancer in women. Jacob said thousands of male cancers could also be prevented.
“For boys, the main lowering risk is penal cancer, anal cancer and throat cancers,” said Jacob.
He said only a third of girls have gotten the three rounds of shots to be fully protected. Another reason vaccinating 11 to 12-year-old boys could help prevent the spread of the disease to female partners later in life.
Controversy surrounding the vaccine recently heated up the presidential race. Republican Gov. Rick Perry was criticized for mandating the shots in girls in Texas.
Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman said the shots were dangerous. Dr. Jacob said the vaccines are safe. Most side effects include sore arms, fevers and headaches.