By Victoria Leigh Miller
Just when you thought your child’s immunizations were up to date, the American Academy of Pediatrics has released a new immunization schedule. The new schedule, which was released on Tuesday, has upped the ante on the flu and pertussis vaccine as well as meningococcal meningitis booster shots. But it’s also putting the relatively new HPV vaccine in the spotlight.
The HPV vaccine is recommended for all girls by the age of 11 or 12. For boys, the HPV vaccine recommendation is not as stringent, but it is now being recommended as a preventative measure against genital warts for young men starting at the age of 9.
The HPV shot, which is marketed as Gardasil or Cervarix, is designed to protect against the human papilloma virus, which is sexually transmitted and can lead to cervical cancer.
But a 2009 case shed light on some of the possible effects of the HPV shot. Teenager Gabby Swank, all- American girl and high school cheerleader, developed serious medical problems shortly after receiving her three-dose round of the HPV shot.
While Merck, the maker of Gardasil, denies any link between Swank’s medical ailments-which include seizures and heart problems- and Gardasil, this case, as well as others, has some parents worried.