According to Barton County Health Director Shelly Schneider, Kansas ranks dead last in the continental United States in terms of immunization rates for the human papilloma virus. This virus plays a huge role in cervical, head and neck cancers in males and females, ages 9-26.
The virus is spread through sex, but it is also spread through other forms of intimate contact. So, it is a difficult topic to discuss, Schneider said.
But, it is vital that we do talk about it. “This is not only to protect your daughters and your sons,” she said. “It’s to protect your daughters in law and sons in law.”
This virus presents many problems in its own right, many of which could be eliminated. But, it is also part of a larger picture.
Be they HPV and childhood vaccinations or the flu shot, these preventative measures are about more than keeping one from not getting sick. They are about protected those around us.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccinations from birth through adulthood to provide a lifetime of protection against many diseases and infections, such as influenza, pneumococcal disease, HPV, and hepatitis A and B. Yet many individuals are not vaccinated as suggested, leaving them needlessly vulnerable to illness and long-term suffering.
These vaccinations are safe and effective.
We can live in a cave and convince ourselves children won’t engage in risky behavior or that we won’t get sick from whatever nasty bugs are floating around. But, instead we must admit these things happen and do what we can to prevent the possible awful outcomes.