During January, Cervical Health Awareness Month, we have reviewed a range of cervical health issues, including the new vaccine from Merck, Gardasil 9, that will hopefully enter the market soon. Recently, studies have been released showing how safe the current Gardasil vaccine is, and this safety is likely to extend to the new vaccine as well. In our last post for Cervical Health Awareness Month, let’s consider what these studies mean for you and your family.
The MS Connection
A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed no link between multiple sclerosis, or MS, and Gardasil. The study included almost 4 million women, and about 800,000 of these participants received the HPV vaccination. It was determined that the group that received the vaccination had no increased risk of contracting MS or another demyelinating disease when compared to the general population; in fact, it appeared that the vaccinated group had a lower rate of occurrence. This bodes well for the safety of the HPV vaccination in regards to MS and other diseases that could affect the nervous system.
A recent CDC study that looked at the HPV vaccination during pregnancy found that women who received the HPV vaccine while pregnant showed no patterns of safety concerns for themselves or their babies. While Gardasil is not recommended for pregnant women, some women may inadvertently receive the vaccination while pregnant. This is a significant win for Gardasil and could lead to further findings regarding the current vaccine and the soon to be released Gardasil 9. The CDC and FDA have stated that they will be looking at Gardasil 9 after its release to see if there is a change in this characteristic.
The human papilloma virus
A 2014 report from the CDC showed that while a majority of women (51.3%) receive the HPV vaccine in the United States, the vaccination rate is much lower for males, sitting at just 8.3%. HPV can cause similar problems for both men and women, making vaccination extremely important for both sexes. Although the CDC report did not make any recommendations regarding men, it did point out how vaccination rates for both sexes are well below the 80% goal set by the Healthy People 2020 initiative. It is important that men and women are both given the HPV vaccine to help prevent cancers and other virus-induced effects that could cause long-term harm to an individual.
For more information on HPV and the HPV vaccine, please visit the Passport Health webpages on the subject.
Which of these health concerns interests you the most? Feel free to comment below or on the Passport Health Facebook page.