Dear Dr Grant: Will the HPV vaccine harm my daughters?
Doctor Jennifer Grant is a GP with the Beacon HealthCheck screening programme at Beacon Hospital
Dear Dr Grant: I have two daughters, aged 10 and 12. I hear so many mixed things about the HPV vaccine that, at this stage, I am totally confused about whether or not to get them vaccinated. I really had no qualms about their childhood vaccinations and have no time for anyone who tries to start conspiracy theories about them - but the HPV vaccine is relatively new and I really don't know what's best for my girls?
Answer: Yes, you should get all your children vaccinated against HPV, boys and girls.
The vaccine protects against the main types of HPV virus and reduces the risk of developing cervical cancer and genital warts but does not remove the need for cervical smear tests.
HPV is linked to a lot of mouth, throat, anal and penile cancers, therefore, boys should also get vaccinated. It is offered free of charge to all girls but not boys as yet.
In November 2015, the European Medicines Agency reported no link between chronic fatigue-like syndromes and the HPV vaccine.
As is often the case, the mass scaremongering about potential vaccine side effects has resulted in a decline in vaccine uptake in the past year to less than half of all eligible school girls taking up the offer for free vaccination.
Recent evidence from Scotland and Australia has shown a reduced rate of pre-cancer changes and cancer cases in young girls following vaccination. In my eyes, there is no debate.