Philly’s New Teen HPV Vaccination Campaign, for Both Genders

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There are many bad reasons to not get your kid, or yourself, vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted infection. The list includes America’s obnoxious and dangerous hysteria about anything related to sex, baseless anti-vaccination fear-mongering, and the widely held belief that women are the only ones who need the vaccine. The politicization of vaccine fears by prominent figures in the Republican Party has exacerbated the problem. Fewer teenage girls are vaccinated against HPV than against any other ailment, while only 1 percent of American males have received the shots.

But a new program from Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health is doing its small part to address these dispiriting numbers. “3 For Me” is a free vaccination program for teens (ages 13-18) offered at two city-run health centers. It is confidential–no parental consent is required–and available to both boys and girls (as the program’s excellent website and literature make clear).

Unfortunately, the city conceives of the program as “a small grass-roots campaign aimed at at-risk teens. It is not a media campaign of any scale,” as Jeff Moran, spokesman for the Philadelphia Department of Health, told me for my article published in today’s Philadelphia City Paper. From what I can tell, this means an advertising push–with SEPTA, say–isn’t in the program’s future. Any steps are better than none, but considering the program’s limited scope is isn’t surprising that only 54 patients have been vaccinated since July. (Philadelphia’s under 18 population, in 2011, was about 345,705.)

You can still get the HPV vaccine (often for free) if you aren’t a teenager, but it can take a bit more effort on your part (especially if your primary care doctor does not offer it for men, as mine did not). And it is still worth getting the shots, despite the widely held misconception that the vaccine can’t help you if you have already been exposed to HPV. Check out my City Paper piece for more details.

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5 Responses to Philly’s New Teen HPV Vaccination Campaign, for Both Genders

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  3. Kathleen3 says:

    Instead of pushing another Big Pharma profit venue on unsuspecting citizens why not recommend those considering submitting their children as guinea pigs for an untested vaccine first do their research, starting with Judicial Watch.

    Next research the astronomical amount of money spent on lobbyists who have successfully convinced elected and appointed officials to work in the best interest of special interest (Big Pharma) vs the interests of their constituents. Contrary to your derogatory comments re Republicans, parents can easily confirm the risks associated with this vaccine and reasons why it has been banned in certain countries by people who, to the best of my knowledge, are not Republicans.

    • Andi says:

      I always thought that when a vaccine was tested as much as I can assure you this vaccine has been that you could no longer refer to it as ‘untested’. They’ve been giving it to girls here in the UK for about four years now, which our health board would not have signed off on if it was dangerous or untested – they wouldn’t have gotten it past the public, let alone the law and the government – and the reaction rate is at around 1% and most of them are just the development of a rash.

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