Saturday, October 17, 2009

Should My Daughter be One Less?

My Personal Gardasil Debate

While sitting at my daughter's gymnastics class I could not help but overhear a conversation between several other moms about the vaccine Gardasil used in the prevention of HPV (Humanicla papillomavirus). One mom was recalling her daughter's most recent annual exam; she said "The doctor asked my 11 year old daughter if she is sexually active." Now hearing that enraged me, I asked the mom if she was offended by that question and what her response to the doctor was and she said that she was shocked that the doctor had asked her daughter about her sexual activity without first discussing it with her (the mom).

Since I have an 11 year old daughter as well, this conversation opened up an issue that I was not prepared for. The next day I called my daughter's physician and asked her if she would be including my daughter's sexual activity as a line of questioning during her next visit. She told me that she would not ask my daughter that question without first discussing it with me. She also stated that she did not recommend the vaccine for my daughter at this point in her life and that we could revisit the topic in a couple of years. I questioned her as to why would we wait to discuss this if the vaccine is recommended for children as young as 9 and she told me that she takes into consideration the history of the patient meaning she doesn't consider my daughter at a higher risk of contracting a std at this age. She also stated that the vaccine is only found to be effective for 5 - 7 years.

So I am left with my own personal debate of do I have my daughter vaccinated with Gardasil or not. I have read several publications about the safety of the vaccine. The data still leaves a question mark for me. The research shows that there have been 32 deaths somewhat related to the vaccine yet not confirmed as the actual cause. The possibility of the Guillain-Barré Syndrome (an autoimmune disorder affecting the peripheral nervous system causing paralysis) is pretty scary to me as well.

As a Christian mom I pray that my daughter is being taught to respect her body and to wait to become sexually active after marriage. I also understand that there are so many pressures on young children and that it will take more than faith in God to protect her from her peers and other environmental influences. Without a doubt I want to do whatever I can to protect my daughter from any and all illnesses.

Would I be better off not getting this for my daughter or am I doing her a disservice by not protecting her from the possibility of contracting a potentially harmful std? I am open to hearing other mom's opinions on this topic, so please let me know what you think.