CHICAGO (CBS) — A government advisory panel has recommended that boys should now be given the controversial vaccine against HPV – a safeguard against cervical cancer that hasn’t been all that popular for girls.
The vaccine already is recommended for preteen girls to prevent cervical cancer and, as CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports, many parents are skeptical about getting the vaccine for preteen boys.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said the human papillomavirus vaccine should be given to boys to prevent the spread of the virus that causes most cases of cervical cancer in women.
The HPV vaccine has been recommended for girls for five years. Only 49 percent of adolescent girls have gotten at least the first of the three HPV shots. Only a third have gotten all three doses.
Parents of kids playing at Wicker Park on Tuesday said they won’t be getting the vaccination for their sons.
“I need more information before I say yes,” one father said.
“Our kids are not guinea pigs and I’m not going to let my child be anybody’s guinea pig,” Brian Ross said.
His son is 11-years-old, the right age to start the HPV vaccine according to the immunization committee for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Doctors have said the vaccine could protect boys against some kinds of cancers and genital warts and that 11- and 12-year-old boys should get vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus.
The shots were already recommended for girls and young women because the virus can increase their chances of getting cervical cancer.
“HPV can be transmitted from girls to boys and boys to girls very easily,” pediatrician Dr. Wesley Boodish said. “That’s led to the development of the new recommendation that the boys also receive the vaccination.”
Still, some parents are worried about side effects.
“We all know, sometimes they see one thing and they prescribe it and then they come back and they say, ‘Oh, no, it’s bad for you,” Ross said.
“It raises concern for me. It does,” one mother said.
But others, like Suzy Silva, said the decision to get her son vaccinated was simple.
“Making sure that he’s safe. Making sure that the women he’s with in the future are safe,” one mother said.
“I think it was the right decision,” her son added.
Doctors have said the idea is to vaccinate kids before they become sexually active.So today’s recommendation is for boys 11 to 21 to get the shots.
But the CDC committee said the vaccines could start even at age 9. Right now, we’re told insurance companies are not covering the vaccine for boys.