HPV Vaccine (Human Papillomavirus) For Teens
Mandatory Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine for Everyone Aged 11-17
DATE: February 09, 2022
SUBJECT: Mandatory Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine for Everyone Aged 11-17
The purpose of this memo is to address the need for mandatory vaccination of HPV among teenagers. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is becoming an increasing threat to the adult population in America. According to CDC, there is a need to achieve at least 80% vaccination among teenagers in America. The following outlines the problem definition, policy proposals, and outcomes, as well as the expected and unintended outcomes of the proposals.
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Problem Definition, Topic Summary
The policy problem regarding the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is the decision by CDC for the voluntary usage of the vaccine among the children between the ages of 11 and 17 in the U.S., leading to the low response rate to the initiative. On this note, this policy problem is significant for the analysis due to the inability to achieve the 80% target set for the vaccination of the children by CDC. In addition, this is a serious problem because the low numbers recorded pose great threats to the future development of cancer among adults (Verma and Khanna 97-99). As a result, the problem needs immediate addressing to prevent a future health disaster in the American continent.
History – Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that exposes the population to future cancers, with the HPV vaccine being an effective way to prevent them. Ironically, over 80 million people are infected with HPV and face the risk of contracting cancer; yet, there is a vaccine that could perfectly prevent this infection (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The problem in this case is that most people have to volunteer for the vaccinations. This is because the HPV vaccine is not mandatory, and, thus, very few people consider getting their children vaccinated. The ideal timing for a vaccination is between the ages of 11 and 17, with the vaccination comprising three doses that are spaced out within the span of 9 months (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Market Failure – Analytically, the lack of proper advertising and promotion by the American government and CDC regarding the importance of the HPV vaccine is the root cause of the problem. As a result, there is a need for an immediate policy intervention that will make the HPV vaccine mandatory among children aged 11 and 17. People need to get vaccinated if the government is to reduce the health care costs related to treating cancers in the future. Prevention in this case will also reduce the mortality rates in the country considering that cancer has become one of the deadliest diseases in the world. The country, thus, needs a policy that will make the vaccination a norm rather than a rare decision. Teenagers should receive the vaccine to ensure their safety from cancer later in life.
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Policy Discussion and Expected Outcomes
The first proposed policy that could address the problem described above is the government’s initiative to educate the parents through the health practitioners regarding the importance of the HPV vaccinations among teenagers. Notably, this alternative is based on the assumption that the below average compliance related to the HPV vaccination is solely due to the lack of knowledge on the subject. The decision to raise awareness amongst parents with teenagers will enable the former to make informed health choices on the future of their children. In addition, this information will create permanent waves in the compliance statistics due to public knowledge that the HPV vaccination helps avoid developing certain cancers in the future.
There are various outcomes that could result from this proposal. It will create a sense of responsibility among the health practitioners and the government since they will have to inform parents about the importance of the HPV vaccination and the dangers of non-compliance. Additionally, raising awareness through trusted health practitioners in this case may have a positive impact by increasing the HPV vaccine compliance rates in the nation.
The unintended consequence of this proposal would include the sudden rejection of the present information by a section of American parents due to various conspiracy theories peddled by different human rights organizations. Consequently, the distribution challenge for the vaccine would emerge due to its rejection by a section of the population. There is a possibility of only a few vaccines being distributed to various American states because of the low rates of acceptance.
The second policy proposal to solve the HPV vaccine problem in America would be the government’s decision to make the HPV vaccination mandatory for children aged between 11 and 17. Notably, this would mean requiring a proof of vaccination as part of the teenager’s documentation with the potential sanctions among parents whose children have not been vaccinated. For example, the teenagers could be barred from travelling or attending school until they are vaccinated.
The expected outcome for this proposal would include a rapid increase in vaccination rates among teenagers due to the strict government policy. Analytically, the strict measure that requires a proof of vaccination before admission to any school in America would force parents to have their children vaccinated. Another expected outcome would be the increased chances of CDC to meet their 80% target of vaccinations among teenagers in America. Consequently, there will be an expectation to reduce adult cases of cancer in the future.
The unintended consequence for this proposal would be nationwide demonstrations by human rights groups against the forceful vaccination of teenagers on the ground of its contradicting the human right to choose. In turn, this would cause distribution consequences such as limited access to various states opposing the government’s directive. The other unintended outcome would be the increase in teenage drop-out rates in schools. Most parents who do not agree with the government’s directive may decide to withdraw their children from school due to the requirement of the HPV vaccination before admission. It is notable that this would lead to such a distribution consequence as sending only several vaccines to various states.
The last policy proposal involves the government working towards creating a vaccine that can be administered earlier during childhood with the rest of the vaccines given to infants. In this case, the HPV vaccine would be administered between the ages of 11 and 17 because these are the years within which the vaccine is likely to generate the desired defenses (Konopnicki, Stephane and Clumeck 903). Additionally, the child is yet to be exposed to the HPV at this age. Children would be vaccinated within their infant years to their fifth birthday to protect them from a wide range of illnesses including measles, polio, and tetanus. The compliance with the infant vaccinations in the United States is over 90%, the difference being deterred by spiritual, cultural, or philosophical, as well as socioeconomic reasons (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
The expected outcome of this proposal is the increase in the HPV vaccination among children. There is a chance that the compliance would be high because most parents have no problem getting the infants vaccinated compared to the teenagers. Additionally, the public opposition concerning the HPV vaccine is likely to reduce since it would only be used for infants.
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The unintended consequence could involve pulling funding from other equally important health projects. It may take a while to arrive at the invention considering that the current vaccines are specifically meant for teenagers and young adults; however, if this alternative succeeds, the results will be impressive.
The third alternative is the ideal choice in this case. The government should work towards the HPV vaccine that can be administered to infants along with the rest of the vaccinations so that the children are protected from the virus all through their lives. Analytically, this alternative will be expensive because it involves investing in further research that will make the vaccine safe and effective when administered to infants. However, it is the most efficient alternative that does not entail holding the parents to ransom. The government must understand that the information is readily available on multiple fronts and the constitutional rights of the children and their parents may not be successfully used as leverage.