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Health Services: Childhood Immunizations

Today children can be protected from 15 serious diseases by the time they are 12 years old. Compared to the early 1900's when only one vaccine was available for children, smallpox, we are now able to prevent the suffering and complications associated with diseases like measles, polio, whooping cough, chicken pox and hepatitis B.

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Regarding the HPV vaccine that prevents cervical cancer, in 2014:

Concern over whether the HPV vaccine promotes unsafe sexual activity is one reason experts say vaccination rates remain low. Only 57% of teenage girls 13 to 17 years old have received at least one dose of the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine, which helps prevent cervical cancer. Only 38% have received all 3 recommended doses.

In a new study, researchers examined a large insurance database of females to help determine if there is an association. They compared rates of sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, among girls who were vaccinated versus those who were not. Girls who were vaccinated were more likely to be sexually active in the year before vaccination compared with those who were not vaccinated.

The rates of STIs in both groups increased in the year after vaccination compared to the year before. But the difference between the HPV vaccinated girls and the non-vaccinated girls was insignificant.

The authors say these findings suggest that vaccination is unlikely to promote unsafe sexual activity.

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