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New Vaccine Guide Affirms HPV Shots for Girls and Boys

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The latest recommendations of vaccinations for children and adults were released this week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the schedule affirms the agency's recommendations that boys and girls be vaccinated against HPV—human papillomavirus—which has been associated with cancers of the cervix, genitals, and the head and neck.

For school-age children, the recommendations about when and which shots to get remain the same. Those recommendations list what children from birth to age 6 should receive, including flu vaccine starting at six months old.

The schedule of shots for children ages 7 to 18 includes flu shots for everyone, as well as the HPV vaccine for girls and boys. The Atlanta-based CDC calls for all 11- or 12-year-olds to receive 3 doses of HPV vaccine to protect against HPV-related disease. Girls can take either HPV vaccine—Cervarix or Gardasil—while only one of the vaccines, Gardasil, can be given to boys and young men.

CDC first recommended the vaccine for boys in late 2011.

The HPV vaccine is recommended for preteens to ensure it is administered when it's most effective—before they are sexually active. Some people oppose giving the vaccine to children so young because they think it will encourage them to have sex. Several states already require it along with shots for measles and chicken pox, however. The HPV shots can be administered in older adolescents, too.

One of the CDC's new recommendations pertains to infants. As the American Academy of Family Physicians notes, infants ages six months through 11 months traveling anywhere outside the United States, including to other industrialized countries, should receive the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

And moms-to-be should get a booster tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, or Tdap, vaccine while pregnant to protect infants from whooping cough. Until they get the full series of shots, babies are vulnerable to getting sick from the bacterial disease. The number of cases of whooping cough has increased exponentially over the last decade, and some of the cases have led to the deaths of infants.

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