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The Informed Parent

Gardasil Vaccine For The Girls And The Guys

by Shanna R. Cox, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Published on Feb. 27, 2012

The Gardasil vaccine, also known as HPV4, for the four strains of human papilloma virus it prevents against (HPV 6, 11, 16, and 18), is now being officially recommended for administration to boys. In the newsletter for the American Academy of Pediatrics, “AAP News,” a highlight article on the front page of the January 2012 issue confirms that the Centers for Disease Control has endorsed Gardasil vaccine dosing for boys with much the same guidelines as have existed for girls for many years now. The Centers for Disease Control’s official statement comes after review and recommendation by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The guidelines are as follows:

  • Males are included in the Gardasil schedule from age nine to 21 years of age for routine vaccination with a 3 dose series, with a start dose and 2 subsequent doses two and six months from the first dose.
  • High-risk males ages 22 to 26 years who have not been previously vaccinated may be vaccinated during this later age range.
  • Individuals with anaphylactic latex or yeast allergies are advised not to receive the Gardasil vaccine.    
  • Pregnant women are advised not to receive the Gardasil vaccine.
  • Gardasil does not contain thimerosol, a mercury preservative.

Gardasil will not treat a current or known HPV infection, nor will it prevent against all HPV serotypes. It is important to remember the vaccine is purposefully specific to the four serotypes mentioned above that have been shown to have the most harmful effects in these age groups. Gardasil is not protective against other types of sexually transmitted diseases.

Gardasil for males has both direct and indirect health benefits. Directly, it is a protectant against some HPV associated pre-cancers and most genital warts. A male receiving the Gardasil vaccine also benefits any future partner by not transmitting HPV, thereby protecting the individual from cervical, vaginal, anal, and vulvar cancers. Optimally, the vaccine should be administered prior to any HPV exposure.

It is expected that the national organization for children, the American Academy of Pediatrics, will endorse these guidelines as well within the next few months. SO, get educated now, and ask your pediatrician what the vaccine schedule to consider for your child should be. Also remember, it’s yet another opportunity to really talk to your kids, find out what they know, what they think, and how they view their health. 

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