HPV vaccination succeeds in Australia – why not in the USA?

The American government’s goal of vaccinating young girls against the human papillomavirus has been disappointing, with less than a third of teenagers having completed a full course of HPV vaccine. But now the United States can look to Australia, which six years into a successful nationwide HPV vaccination campaign has experienced a sharp decline in the number of new cases of genital warts among young men and women.

The country, one of the first to establish a nationally financed HPV vaccination program for girls and young women, has also seen a decrease in the number of cases of cervical abnormalities, a precursor to cervical cancer.

Australia’s program, which started in 2007, offers free HPV vaccination to girls who are 12 and 13 years old, and catch-up programs for girls and women under 26. The vaccine protects against genital warts as well as cancers of the cervix, head and neck…

The findings suggest that Australia’s program, which has experienced little of the resistance that has stymied vaccination efforts in the United States, has been an overwhelming success, said Basil Donovan, an author of the study and a professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney…

Australia’s vaccination campaign sharply contrasts with the program in the United States where, studies show, parents often opt out of HPV vaccination for their children, calling the vaccine unnecessary, citing concerns about its safety or saying they have difficulty explaining to their teenagers what the shots are for. Some parents have also hesitated over fears that HPV vaccination might give their teenagers license to have sex, even though studies have countered the notion that the vaccine alters sexual behavior.

“There was little resistance to the HPV vaccine in Australia, just the usual anti-vaccination people and a few religious groups,” Dr. Donovan said. “But even the religious groups have gone quiet, and I suspect that many of them are quietly getting their children vaccinated.”

Will anyone ever come up with a vaccine against the ignorance and bigotry that fuels the anti-science crusade in the American Right?

15 thoughts on “HPV vaccination succeeds in Australia – why not in the USA?

  1. memoriesfound says:

    i was under 26 in 2007 when the free vaccinations were given out in Australia. I got mine done when I went to the doctor for an unrelated visit. Nurses visited every high school in the country and gave the shots to every girl in the school. I pay particular attention to the news, and never heard anyone complain about the program. It was seen widely as a hugely beneficial program. There is now discussion about giving a similar vaccine to boys.

  2. memoriesfound says:

    It seems crazy that some would consider the vaccines as ‘a license to have sex’. Thats in a similar vain to those who argue that the answer to the high level of gun related crime is to give everyone a gun.

    Some people really have their heads in the sand.

  3. Jessica says:

    bullshit. No vaccine is safe and pushing it on girls that don’t know better or have no say in the matter is the worst kind of ignorance. I will never take a shot or let my kids receive on ever again. what about all the damage that HAS been reported as a result of this vaccine?

  4. Jessica says:

    The most serious side effect reported is an upper respiratory infection. Yup, let me endanger my daughter’s health by not having her vaccinated for a disease that could sterilize her. Oh gee, that sounds like such an excellent trade off. After my sister contracted HPV from her cheating husband and then was diagnosed with cervical cancer, losing her cervix in the process, I will never take anything for granted. And for males, the risk of head and neck cancer and penile cancer is far greater in boys exposed to HPV. My son was vaccinated at 15 and I explained it to him that even though he isn’t having sex now, he will eventually and I wanted him and his future wife to be protected. I also don’t want my grandchildren to lose one of their parents because I stuck my head in the sand and pretended that I was doing this in THEIR best interest. You’re right that there is no safe vaccine but many times, the consequences of not vaccinating far outweigh the short term side effects.

    • Margaret C Gayton says:

      Its your child do what you want just remember that one day she will not be a child she will make her own decisions in life. You wont be able to stop her from protecting herself from diseases that can kill her. You also wont be able to stop her from being with whoever she wants to. People have been having sex since the begging of time. We can now prevent and treat some of the worst diseases out there. You wont be there her entire life and you wont be in her mind when shes having sex with her partner. Your teaching her to be ignorant of AFRAID of everything even things that can save her life she wont be smart enough to protect herself and it will be your fault.

    • keaneo says:

      All you offer is the reality of processing insurance claims. A sum equivalent to what my smallish county pays annually for road hazard claims.

      Have you any perception of how small a quantity of incidents you’re discussing? And none of these associated either with jurisprudence or science?

      Tens of millions of young women and men have their lives and lifestyles improved through this vaccination alone – and fools like you and a couple of spooky think tanks quoted would return us to those years of tallying up annual deaths from measles, scarlet fever, diphtheria, and on and on.

      Please stick to praying for peace. You’re less dangerous that way.

    • moss says:

      Your brain trust has no perception of what would be a normal settlement in a tort case – if culpability or malfeasance was proven. $6 million for 46 cases including 2 possible deaths? Petty cash.

      Cripes, we had a settlement bigger than that for a stoner who rode his bicycle into a hole in the road – because someone stole the sawhorse and flashing light. We had a settlement bigger than that for someone who spilled hot coffee on herself.

      Idiots abound – and profit from insurance company gobbledegook!

  5. truthspew says:

    Before the U.S. will ever have widespread HPV vaccination we first have to counter the religious argument that the wages of sin are death. First of all the very notion of sin is nonsensical to me. I want both girls and boys vaccinated for HPV. Why the hell not? There’s no logical argument against it.

  6. moss says:

    Har! Eid – you may have overlooked part of reality of political life in the United States. We may not have as many spooky True Believers, especially those laboring under little or no education; but, we’re still perfectly capable of foolish superstition and “common knowledge” taking the place of informed rational decision-making especially on science.

    Reading that stuff is hard on a contemporary attention span. 🙂

  7. nicknielsensc says:

    Allow insurance companies to deny coverage or increase premium on those people who refuse to get their children vaccinated.

    They’re willing to sacrifice their children to their beliefs, but I’m willing to bet they won’t sacrifice their money…

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