What Do Women Need To Know About The HPV Vaccines?

What vaccines are available to treat HPV?, How does the HPV vaccine work?, Do they contain the HPV Virus?, When is the ideal age for vaccination?, Should boys also be vaccinated?, I’m pregnant. Is the HPV vaccine safe for me?, I got pregnant before I finished taking the full doses of the vaccine. Should I still continue?

What vaccines are available to treat HPV?

In 2006, Gardasil, the first, commercially available vaccine for HPV arrived on the market. It was a quadrivalent vaccine because it protected against 4 types of HPV: Types 16 & 18, which are responsible for 70% of cervical cancer cases as well as types 6 & 11, which commonly caused 90% of genital warts.

The following year, Cervarix, a bivalent vaccine, arrived. It targeted HPV types 16 & 18 only.

In 201, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Gardasil 9. That vaccine targets the 7 most common cancer-causing subtypes (16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58) which account for more than 90% of HPV-related cancers as well as types 6 & 11. In addition to protecting against 90% of all cervical cancers, Gardasil 9 protects against 95% of anal cancers as well as 85% of vaginal and vulvar cancers. It can significantly reduce the risk of HPV-related cancers in children who are vaccinated.

How does the HPV vaccine work? Do they contain the HPV Virus?

Firstly, it needs to be made clear that vaccines do not contain the HPV DNA . The vaccine contains virus-like particles, VLPs, made from laboratory manufactured proteins that simulate the protein shell of HPV. They stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies against the types of HPV for which the vaccine was designed. For example, Gardasil 9 helps the body to produce antibodies against 9 types of virus. The antibodies created from this vaccine do not allow the real HPV to cause infection.

When is the ideal age for vaccination?

The ideal ages are between 11-26 years of age. Ideally, ages 11-12 offer the best time for vaccination because they typically have not yet started to become sexually active. Additionally, the production of antibodies is much higher at this early age.

Should boys also be vaccinated?

Yes. HPV can cause premalignant lesions on the anus and penis so it is highly advisable that boys and young men between 11-26 get vaccinated. Immunization of boys and girls reduce the risk of future HPV infection and related cancers.

I’m pregnant. Is the HPV vaccine safe for me?

Despite the fact that some isolated cases show no risk to mother or fetus, the HPV vaccine is not recommended during pregnancy because there have been no studies on the safety of pregnant women and the vaccines.

I got pregnant before I finished taking the full doses of the vaccine. Should I still continue?

It’s recommended that you finish taking the doses after your pregnancy as the vaccines have not shown any negative effects on mothers or breastfeeding newborns.