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With some questionable health advice being posted by your friends on Facebook, politicians arguing about the state of the American healthcare system and a new medical study being summarized in just a sentence or two on TV---that seems to contradict the study you heard summarized yesterday---it can be overwhelming to navigate the ever-changing landscape of health news.

To Your Health: HPV Vaccine Age Recommendation is Nine

When my children were nine, they were excited for their fourth grade Valentine parties, constructing boxes covered in tissue paper, and asking for my help with spelling messages to their classmates. So, it’s not surprising that some people are shocked when they hear that nine is the suggested age for a vaccination associated with a sexually transmitted infection. However, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, this recommendation is designed to promote immunization when the vaccine is most effective – before the initiation of sexual activity and exposure to HPV.

Hello, I'm Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs at Southeast Missouri State University. In February, the Missouri Immunization Coalition is focused on HPV Vaccination and HPV-related cancer prevention. I recently interviewed Dr. Kenneth Haller, a pediatrician and an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, to talk about the benefits of beginning the HPV vaccination series at age 9.

As this vaccine has been studied since it's been introduced, it's been found that the younger this vaccine is given, the longer it lasts and the more robust protection it provides. So right now the recommendation is to give it at nine years of age, two doses spaced six months apart. The thing is, if it's given later, if it's given up to the age of about 16, then you have to give three doses to even get close to the protection that you had for someone who was age nine when it was given or earlier. So the earlier you can give it the better.
Dr. Kenneth Haller




Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs is an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership, Middle & Secondary Education. She writes for special publications of The Southeast Missourian and is a certified Community Health Worker.
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