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Human Papillomavirus Vaccination



Introduction

Despite human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination is extensively used as an effective public health intervention to minimize the threat of sexually transmitted diseases and reduce morbidity and mortality rates among female individuals, the estimations of people concerning compulsory HPV vaccinations vary. The current paper aims to shed light on why HPV vaccination should be viewed as a mandatory immunization policy. Moreover, much attention will be paid to the relation of this controversy to moral, ethical, economic, and political grounds. Finally, the research paper will discuss the vaccination program at the center of the controversy in detail.

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HPV Vaccines

Generally speaking, HPV vaccines should be classified as effective behaviors that prevent infection of females from different types of human papillomavirus. Nowadays, the World Health Organization insists on HPV vaccination policies as routine preventive strategies and measures for girls who have reached nine years or more (Intlekofer, Cunningham, & Caplan, 2012). Moreover, the WHO promotes vaccination of women until the age of 26 in case they were not vaccinated earlier (Intlekofer et al., 2012).

Why HPV Vaccination Should be Viewed as a Mandatory Immunization Policy

The introduction of HPV vaccination to the public as a powerful tool for the efficient and timely prevention of cervical cancer and many other HPV-associated diseases dates back to 2006 (Markowitz et al., 2012). Therefore, since 2006, several types of quadrivalent and bivalent HPV vaccines have been extensively licensed in more than 100 countries in different corners of the globe (Markowitz et al., 2012). By the beginning of 2012, human papillomavirus vaccination policies were included in immunization programs on a national level in more than 40 countries in the world. It is important to note that Australia, the USA, the UK, and Canada were among the first nations to adopt national HPV vaccination policies (Markowitz et al., 2012).

Despite safe HPV vaccinations are officially approved for male individuals in many leading countries, including Canada and the UK, as HPV is classified as a sexually transmitted disease that may affect males as well as females, the U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention insists on mandatory vaccination for women, regardless of their races and ethnicities, up to 26 years (World Health Organization, 2013).

According to the results of pharmacological and pharmacokinetic studies, this type of vaccine involves hollow virus-like particles received from recombinant types of HPV coat proteins that are responsible for quick replication of the virus. Moreover, scientific investigations of the pharmacodynamics of the HPV vaccine, which focus on the interaction of the vaccine with the whole human body and other microorganisms, provide evidence that the HPV vaccine is safe and does not lead to serious complications (World Health Organization, 2013).

Its dosage is subdivided into two main types: adult and pediatric. However, there is much additional HPV vaccine dosage information, especially for pregnant females, people who suffer from immediate hypersensitivity to different components of the vaccine, and individuals diagnosed with acute illnesses. Professionals in the field of health care claim that the HPV vaccine does not require specific types of monitoring except cervical cancer screening (World Health Organization, 2013). The most common side effects of HPV vaccination are as follows: minor pain at the site of injection, redness, fever, and swelling (Cole & Swendiman, 2014).

Despite the cost of the HPV vaccine was considered to be the major hindrance that prevented people from taking this vaccine, nowadays the average price of the HPV vaccine should be viewed as moderate because its wholesale cost constitutes approximately $50. However, on the territory of the USA, the cost of a dose exceeds $200 (Cole & Swendiman, 2014). Having shed light on the introduction of this vaccine to the public, its costs, dosage, positive outcomes, and possible side effects, the researchers recommend it as a part of immunization and preventive behavior on the basis of statistical data, random control trials, and experience of vaccine implementation of different developed and developing countries, including Canada, Africa, Japan, Mexico, etc. (Cole & Swendiman, 2014). Also, statistics prove that health authorities fully finance the HPV vaccine on a national level to decrease the percentage of people who refuse vaccination due to their high cost (Cole & Swendiman, 2014).

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Despite numerous controversies that involve ethics, economics, politics, and threatening side effects surrounding the HPV vaccine use, professionals in the sphere of health care in cooperation with national health authorities and health insurance companies claim that it should be officially adopted as a mandatory immunization program that will drastically decrease cervical cancer fatalities among females (Balog, 2009). The researchers argue that mandatory HPV vaccination is the most successful health intervention campaign that will help control and manage the spread of deadly sexually transmitted diseases (Walter, 2013).

Generally speaking, the majority of medical professionals agree that there is a strong moral and ethical justification for the compulsory implementation of the HPV immunization (Walter, 2013). Despite opponents of the mandatory implementation of the HPV vaccine criticize it for extremely high costs, contribution to risky sexual behaviors among adolescents, failure of this vaccine to protect female individuals from different forms of cervical cancer, threatening side effects that result in lethal incidents, the willingness of health insurance companies and vaccine manufacturers to get profits, and infringement of personal rights and freedoms, the researchers urge for compulsory HPV vaccination because tremendous benefits of this immunization program easily outweigh its minor disadvantages (Walter, 2013).

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Despite a closer look at the safety data, as well as detailed safety monitoring, prove that HPV vaccines are safe and do not result in dangerous side effects, many people search for available alternative practices for HPV vaccines (Shah, Gilkey, Pepper, Gottlied, & Brewer, 2014). Nowadays, the most common vaccinations that can be used for prevention of the HPV are a bivalent vaccine and a quadrivalent vaccine. Both of them have been licensed in the territory of the USA since 2006 with a three-dose schedule (Shah et al., 2014).

Summary

Moreover, the most common safety monitoring efforts for both vaccines are a continuous review of research reports, security monitoring, and ongoing consultations with experts in the sphere of health care (Shah et al., 2014). As there are no other alternative types of vaccinations from this threatening virus, physicians usually recommend and prescribe these medications only (Shah et al., 2014).

Thus, after having reviewed and evaluated the HPV vaccination policies, main controversies that surround the use of this treatment, and its possible alternatives, it is possible to conclude that mandatory adoption and administration of the human papillomavirus vaccine is the most effective public health policy that considerably decreases morbidity and mortality rates among females.

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