They may include pain, swelling, itching and redness at the injection site, as well as fever, nausea and dizziness.Well, this sounds like what you might expect from any vaccine. The pain, swelling at the injection site are basically signs that your immune system is working. And the fever as well. Nausea and dizziness are pretty common side effects of any injection. And:
Another concern involves long-term safety. How do we know this vaccine will not eventually cause other problems like autoimmune or neurological disorders or lose its protective powers or foster the dominance of other HPV variants?Honest, informative. Some people may not feel comfortable with the idea that we don't know the effects of the vaccine in the long term. But any new vaccine, you won't know what the long term effects are for 20 years (until you've been using it for a long term). And so far, there are very few vaccines that have had any serious long term effects.
Actually, we don’t. But we do have at least five years of safety data that include no hints of long-term risks or waning effectiveness. But if the vaccine should begin to lose potency over time, that could easily be remedied by a booster shot.
Hmmm... So should you have give your daughter the vaccine? What can she get from it? Well, it prevents infection with the subtypes of HPV that cause up to 70% of cervical cancer. And, in a 3 year followup, it prevents pre-cancerous lesions in nearly 100% of vaccinees who got the vaccine prior to exposure to HPV. It even provides some protection to women who have previously been exposed to the virus. Up to 17% protection from pre-cancerous lesions for women who had already been exposed.
This is why it's so important to give this vaccine to children, before they are exposed to HPV through sex. Once they're old enough to choose the vaccine for themselves, it's likely already too late to get much benefit from it.
Granted, we can't say whether or not it prevents cancer. It takes twenty to thirty years for cancer to show up in women who have been exposed to HPV, and this vaccine has only been in production for a few years. But it prevents HPV infection of the most prominent subtypes, it prevents precancerous lesions... it's not a stretch to suggest it will almost certainly prevent cancer. And that sounds pretty good to me.
There are no known risks of Gardasil (though to be fair, there is a small chance that longer term studies will find some). There are some very clear benefits to getting the vaccine. So when you're making up your mind for your child - make the calculation - prevent HPV vs. no known risks. It seems pretty clear to me.