Getting the HPV vaccine for your daughter

Here’s my situation:

Divorced, but with shared legal custody for medical decisions, etc.

I’m a firm believer that my daughter should get the HPV Vaccine now. She’ll be 12 and starting 7th grade and middle school at her next regular appointment when she can get it.

However, her pediatrician has recommended holding off until she ‘needs’ it in a few years. (I can only assume that she thinks there will be no sexual activity at all for the next few years, something I’m not willing to roll the dice on)

And her mother has chosen 14 years old and the start of high school as the time when she will agree to the vaccine.

So, I’m curious as to what the board thinks, particularly those with their own tweenage daughters.

My daughter is younger than yours, so I haven’t had to deal with this one yet, but this sounds a bit fishy.

What benefit is the physician hoping for by “holding off” on the vaccine? Does the vaccine lose effectiveness after a certain time or does it pose extra risks if given to someone too young? I’m baffled by why a physician would recommend holding off on a vaccine. In your shoes I would follow up that point and get the physician to give a really clear explanation as to why they recommend waiting. If it’s a dumb reason like “it might promote sexual activity” then you can push for the vaccine immediately, but if there’s a legit medical reason then it may be worth finding out if it’s enough to alter your view.

How far through puberty is she? I would probably say 14 as well, that’s the age I started getting pelvic exams.

Yeah really, 12?

Even if she was really well developed and hung out with eighth graders at school and they all drank whiskey between classes and smoked doobies after school, I doubt they’re having sex.

The best you can hope for is light petting with the occasional heavy session.

From the CDC site on the HPV vaccine:

Ideally females should get the vaccine before they become sexually active [emphasis mine], when they may be exposed to HPV. Females who are sexually active may also benefit from the vaccine, but they may get less benefit from it. This is because they may have already gotten an HPV type targeted by the vaccine. Few sexually active young women are infected with all HPV types covered by the vaccine so they would still get protection from those types they have not yet gotten. Currently, there is no test available to tell if a girl/woman has had HPV in the past, or which types.

By the time a girl is 14, she may already be engaging in sexual activity, even if it is the so-called “heavy petting” stage. I certainly know of teenaged boys and girls who lost their virginity around age 14, so I’d probably go with the lower age. It’s a tough decision, though, since having your daughter receive the vaccine means that you’re acknowledging that she might become sexually active well before your comfort level for that kind of activity kicks in–assuming that any parent is comfortable with their child having sex before the child is, say, 30 years old. For families with conservative religious beliefs (for example, Conservative Christians and Muslims), having their daughters receive the vaccine would almost certainly conflict with religious values.

Get it now. Girls are under more pressure than ever to start sexualizing themselves, especially with the advent of internet/phone cam technologies, and peer pressure (yea yea, can’t get an STD through a phone cam, but it’s all the stuff that goes with it, phone cams are a gateway drug to sex). I see no concrete reasons to wait, and lots of reasons to play it safe.

Better to be safe than sorry.

Kids now days…

Yeah there’s no reason to wait until she might already be sexually active, that makes no sense.

Maybe there’s some kind of thing where it loses effectiveness after X years, so maybe it is better to delay a bit? I’m just trying to think of a reason you’d want to wait.

!@#$ what parents think. It’s your daughter you have to answer to when she is older.

And let me tell you, as someone with HPV, I wish I had gotten a vaccine to immunize me from it when I was 12.

Get a new doctor. This one sounds like a complete moron.

If I don’t think about my daughters (now 9 and 4 years old) having sex, will this problem go away?

I dunno. What’s the effective duration of the vaccine? If it lasts only 10 years, then giving it to her when she is 14 instead of 12 gives extends the protection when she is probably more sexually-active.

What’s the prevalence of HPV amongst 14 year-olds? Ah. answer: ~20%

(95% CI, 19.6%-30.5%) among females aged 14 to 19 years.

Yeah. There is a 1-in-5 chance your daughter will have HPV by the time she is 14. Vaccination time I think should be now.

My friend the pediatrician says that her medical group recommends them at 11-12 years, along with their Jr. High vaccines. There’s one for boys now too, but not all insurances cover it.

Health Canada’s recommendations are that it can be used safely as early as nine years old, but the long-term effectiveness duration and need for re-immunizations are not yet well-studied.

Note that I am firmly in the ‘get it now’ camp, as stated.

However, ‘getting it now’ will involve taking her mother to court and getting a court order to do this sometime in the next 12 months.

Also note, both of my kids already have warts, so they’ve been exposed to some strains of the virus.

The 13 year old girls that hang around my girlfriend’s 13 year old son are heavily sexualized, including the two I know who have had vaginal sex.

Middle school is the new high school, apparently.

Did you discuss the fact that your daughter has already had warts with the pediatrician? Also, would your ex-wife agree to listen to a second opinion from a pediatrician that’s not either of the ones you normally use?

The short answer is no. Court order is the next step.

I’m sorry to hear that your daughter’s health might be jeopardized because of this and almost certain future issues that will come up before she’s 18. I was very fortunate, as corsair and I had an amiable divorce so these types of things never happened with our son.

Since it’s not possible to predict the future, I think only you can decide if it’s worth a court order. You need to more closely monitor what your daughter is doing if you can. If it appears that she’s getting involved with boys then the court order could be necessary, if not then cross your fingers and wait until she’s 14.

I hate you have to go through that, too, Walter. I know too many people that look out for their kids welfare and, for whatever reason, the ex is against a decision simply to punish the other. Not saying that is your situation, but it really stinks when the child may suffer adversely.

Hope it comes out well for your daughter.