Final Journalism Paper _Gardasil_ by panniuniu


									Jessica Montgomery

Ms. Waldsmith

Journalism, 6th Hour

14 December 2009

News Feature Story

   One More Vaccination Means One Less
            Person With HPV
       Paige Taliaferro is like most teenage girls. She takes ACT preparation courses

and has high hopes and dreams for the future. She plays sports, hangs out with

friends, and worries about school. But unlike most girls, Taliaferro will have one less

thing to worry about in the future. Taliaferro has gotten the Gardasil vaccine which

prevents the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) types six, 11, 16 and 18.

       By immunizing women from these four types of HPV, the Gardasil Vaccine can

prevent various diseases that sometimes lead to death. About 12,000 women in the

U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and 4,000 die from this disease,

according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 70 percent of

these cases are caused by HPV types 16 and 18. Also, about one million people in the

US have visible genital warts, and 90 percent of these warts are caused by HPV types

six and 11. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, approximately 50

percent of vulvar cancers and 65 percent of vagina cancers are caused by HPV types

six and 11, as well.
       The HPV infection can spread through any sexual or genital activity – intercourse

is not necessary. According to the CDC, more than 50 percent of sexually active adults

have had a form of HPV in their lifetime. Although most forms of HPV go away, some

forms do not and lead to more harmful diseases and disorders, such as genital warts

and cervical, vulvar, and vagina cancers. Gardasil is the only vaccine that immunizes

women from the four most common but serious forms of HPV, according to

       Cervical cancer is the fifth most common cancer for women worldwide, according

to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. According to, a woman

dies from cervical cancer every two minutes, and on average, 720 women are killed

from cervical cancer daily. Most of these deaths could have been prevented with the

Gardasil vaccine.

       “My doctor recommended the shot and after talking to my parents, it seemed like

the right thing to do,” said Taliaferro, “You can never be too safe with so many diseases

and cancers in our world.”

       Charlie Jansen also wants to be one less person with cervical cancer. Her

doctor recommended the vaccine. She says that he has always given trustworthy

information in the past, so this sounded like a good idea. “I did not want to take the risk

of getting cervical cancer. If I could prevent it with three simple shots, then why

wouldn’t I?” said Jansen.

       Taliaferro and Jansen do not want to worry about cervical cancer in the future,

and by being immunized, they have greatly reduced their chances of suffering a fate

similar to that of a young athlete named Kristen.
       Kristen was one of those people that never would have expected to get cervical

cancer. She was a great athlete – she had been nominated as Miss Fittness, an award

given to a select few women – and was always careful when involved in intercourse.

Kristen got cervical cancer, and according to, she went through every

possible test and treatment for cancer. Unlike many other women, Kristen survived.

She had a form of HPV that the Gardasil Vaccine immunizes women from, and her form

of HPV led to cervical cancer. If she had gotten the Gardasil shot when she was

younger, then she probably would not have gotten cervical cancer. “It’s so important

that this happens to nobody else,” says Kristen, “This happens to anyone, so please

take care of yourself, so you don’t have to go through what I did.”

       The Gardasil vaccine is targeted for females between the ages of 11 and 26

years, preferably before they are sexually active. According to the CDC, it is taken in

three doses over a period of six months.

       Many people worry about the safety of this vaccine, like Susan LeVasseur, a

mother of nine. LeVasseur says that the vaccine has not been tested enough, and that

there are too many side effects, which include headache, slight fever, nausea, and

fainting. Although there are side effects, the Center for Disease Control says that it is a

safe vaccine.

       “Sure, there are various possible side effects from the vaccine,” says Kathleen

Kennedy, an Obstetrician Gynecologist, “but there are possible side effects from every

vaccine. Why should we feel that this vaccine is not safe because of some of its side

effects, when others are considered safe with the same amount, or even more, side

      Kennedy also believes that this vaccine should be extended to men. “We are

trying to address an entire society and the men transmit the virus just as much as

women,” says Kennedy. She believes that HPV cannot be made less of a threat unless

all parts of society can become immune to it. “Men cannot get cervical cancer, but they

can get the genital warts and other forms of cancer from HPV,” says Kathleen, “so it’s

just as important for them to have a HPV vaccination as it is for women.”

      As Taliaferro worries about her grades, friends and dreams, she has comfort that

her future probably does not include diseases caused by HPV. And this could allow her

to follow those high hopes and dreams.

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