Houston Expert Says HPV Vaccine Is Safe

As the debate grows over Governor Perry's attempts a few years ago to require young girls to get the HPV vaccine, a local vaccination expert says parents have nothing to worry about.

During the Republican Tea Party debate earlier this week, Governor Perry defended his failed attempt in 2007 to have middle-school aged girls be given the vaccine that helps prevent a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to cancer.

"What we were all about was trying to save young people's lives in Texas."

Anna Dragsbaek is the president and CEO of the Houston-based Immunization Partnership. She says there is no medical data that indicates the HPV vaccine is dangerous. She says there's a reason the vaccine is given so young.

"Your children will have the best chance in the uptick of the vaccine if they get it long before they're sexually active. That's why it's recommended for children as young as nine actually. Most people start the series around 11 or 12, but you can certainly start it earlier."

Dragsbaek says although the vaccine isn't required in Texas, more and more school-aged girls and boys across the country are getting it.

"There was a recent study that was released by the CDC that showed that more girls now are getting the complete series. Boys are starting to get the complete series now too. We used to be at about a 25-percent immunization rate on the HPV vaccine and we're at about 35-percent right now. So it's an increase, but certainly we're not at where we need to be."

Mexico's health ministry recently decided that all 9-year-old girls will get the HPV vaccine beginning next year. Many states have considered HPV vaccine mandates over the past few years, but only Virginia and Washington D.C. have adopted them. 


Written by Jack Williams and voiced by Bill Stamps.