Let’s Send Our Kids Back to School Prepared – Get Them Vaccinated!
These days, thanks to the Internet, our children are exposed to more—good and bad—than we ever were at their age. Therefore, it was reassuring to learn from a survey conducted for Power to Decide, that our children are still going to their parents for advice and information regarding sex. Given our children’s confidence in us, we owe them answers based on facts and access to information that will help them live their best life on their own terms.
As parents, we are also responsible for making decisions regarding our children’s mental and physical wellbeing. I feel it’s incumbent on me as a parent to seek the advice of medical experts when making these decisions. As a medical professional, I rely on the facts and the science to make informed decisions regarding my children.
While we can’t protect our children from everything, there are some measures we can take to protect them against certain infections. The Human Papillomavirus (HPV), for example, is a very common sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical, vulvar, vaginal, penile, anal, mouth and throat cancers. Nearly 14 million new HPV infections are reported in people, including teens, each year. In fact, the prevalence of HPV infection in the United States is about 80 million people who currently are infected with the virus. Further, each year about 42,700 new cases of cancer are found in parts of the body where HPV is often found and HPV causes about 33,700 of these cancers.
Because HPV is most common among teenagers and people in their early 20s, doctors recommend that preteens get the HPV vaccine to protect them from the HPV infection that causes cancer. In fact, the same experts advise that teens and young adults should finish the series of vaccines and give their bodies time to develop an immunity before they begin sexual activity.
As parents, we are always cognizant of what, and whom our children are exposed to and we take measures to limit the negative exposure the best we can. However, in the era of fake news, we must be mindful of who and where we go to for information regarding our children’s well-being. We must rely on evidence-based, reliable information which is supported by data and facts.
On any given day, every parent asks themselves, “Did I do enough for my child today?” Particularly, when it comes to their health, I cannot think of anything more common sense than to follow the advice of medical experts who overwhelmingly advise parents to get their child vaccinated. In fact, if given an alternative, why would any parent unnecessarily expose their child to the risk of getting any form of cancer, much less one that could be prevented with a vaccine?
Every parent approaches parenting with their own set of ideas for how they want to raise their children. While we should respect and support the decisions we make for our children, we must do more to make sure parents understand that the pros for getting your child vaccinated far outweigh the cons. At the end of the day, we must do everything we can to make sure we are sending our kids into the world ready for whatever comes their way.