Although the HPV vaccine has been recommended for teenage girls to help prevent the development of cervical cancer caused by infection with high risk serotypes of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), about 75% of teenage girls were not current with the HPV vaccination. More than 40% of parents reported that they had no intention of having their daughters complete the HPV immunization process. Parents’ reasons for not completing this immunization schedule included beliefs that it was not needed or necessary (17%), safety concerns (16%), lack of sexual activity in the children (11%) and lack of knowledge (10%). This study was conducted between 2008 and 2010 and included a review of the tetanus diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap), the quadrivalent meningococcal (MCV4) and the HPV immunization. About 20% of teens were not up-to-date for the Tdap immunizations and approximately 65% were not up-to-date for the MCV4 immunizations.
It is unclear whether health care providers were not providing sufficient information about HPV to parents to allow them to make a decision about immunization, or whether legitimate concerns about its safetly and the encouragement of risky sexual behavior were the reasons for non-compliance with the recommended guidelines. Pediatricians are recommended to advise patients that the vaccine is as safe as any other vaccine, the HPV immunization prevents more than 12,000 cases of cervical cancer each year and the ideal time to have HPV immunization is before the onset of sexual activity.
Immunization is an important part of maintaining the public health, and many infectious diseases have been prevented through widespread immunization. However stimultion of the immune system to provide immunity can cause rare cases when there is an overstimulation of the immune system and/or an autoimmune reaction whereby the immune system attacks otherwise normal tissue. Britcher Leone & Roth have expertise in evaluating potential vaccine injuries and in representing injured individuals under the National Vaccine Act’s Injury Compensation Fund. Only a detailed analysis of the medical history can determine if there is a claim under the Act.