Thursday November 21, 2019

HPV Vaccines Are Effective, Especially For Teens

The Cochrane research pooled data and results from 26 studies involving more than 73,000 women across all continents over the last eight years.

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She noted that some campaign groups have expressed concern about HPV vaccines, but said this review had found no evidence to support claims of increased risk of harm.
HPV Vaccine i effective on teenage girls, Pexels

Vaccines designed to prevent infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) are effective in protecting against pre-cancerous cervical lesions in women, particularly in those vaccinated between age 15 and 26, according to a large international evidence review.

The research by scientists at the scientific network the Cochrane Review also found no increase in the risk of serious side effects, with rates of around 7 percent reported by both HPV-vaccinated and control groups.

“This review should reassure people that HPV vaccination is effective,” Jo Morrison, a consultant in gynecological oncology at Britain’s Musgrove Park Hospital, told reporters at a briefing about the review’s findings.

She noted that some campaign groups have expressed concern about HPV vaccines, but said this review had found no evidence to support claims of increased risk of harm.

HPV is one of the common sexually transmitted diseases. Most infections do not cause symptoms and go away on their own, but when the immune system does not clear the virus, persistent HPV infection can cause abnormal cervical cells.

Drugmakers GlaxoSmithKline and Merck make vaccines that protect against HPV.
A girls getting vaccine, VOA

These pre-cancerous lesions can progress to cervical cancer if left untreated. HPV is a leading cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

Drugmakers GlaxoSmithKline and Merck make vaccines that protect against HPV.

The Cochrane research pooled data and results from 26 studies involving more than 73,000 women across all continents over the last eight years.

The researchers found that in young women who tested negative for HPV, vaccination reduced the risk of developing precancer. About 164 out of every 10,000 women who got placebo developed cervical pre-cancerous lesions, compared with two out of every 10,000 who were vaccinated.

Also Read: Cholesterol Can Increase Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, Finds Research

Looking more broadly across all women in the studies, regardless of whether they had previously had HPV or not, the vaccines were found to be slightly less effective, but still reduced the risk of cervical precancer from 559 per 10,000 to 391 per 10,000.

Experts not directly involved in the review said its findings were robust and important.

“This intensive and rigorous Cochrane analysis … provides reassuring and solid evidence of the safety of these vaccines in young women,” said Margaret Stanley, a specialist in the pathology department at Cambridge University. “It reinforces the evidence that preventing infection by vaccination in young women … reduces cervical precancers dramatically.” (VOA)

 

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Pinterest to Combat Misinformation about Vaccines by Showing Only Information from Health Organizations

Pinterest previously tried blocking all searches for vaccines, with mixed results

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Pinterest, Misinformation. Vaccines
Pinterest's logo. VOA

Pinterest said it would try to combat misinformation about vaccines by showing only information from health organizations when people search.

Social media sites have been trying to combat the spread of misinformation about vaccines. Pinterest previously tried blocking all searches for vaccines, with mixed results.

Now searches for “measles,” “vaccine safety” and related terms will bring up results from such groups as the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the WHO-established Vaccine Safety Net.

Pinterest won’t show ads or other users’ posts, as they may contain misinformation.

Pinterest, Misinformation. Vaccines
Pinterest said it would try to combat misinformation about vaccines by showing only information from health organizations when people search. Pixabay

“We’re taking this approach because we believe that showing vaccine misinformation alongside resources from public health experts isn’t responsible,” Pinterest said Wednesday in a blog post.

Though anti-vaccine sentiments have been around for as long as vaccines have existed, health experts worry that anti-vaccine propaganda can spread more quickly on social media. The misinformation includes soundly debunked notions that vaccines cause autism or that mercury preservatives and other substances in them can harm people.

Experts say the spread of such information can push parents who are worried about vaccines toward refusing to inoculate their children, leading to a comeback of various diseases.

Spike in measles cases

Also Read- WHO Warns of Serious Consequences of Measles Infections Globally

Measles outbreaks have spiked in the U.S. this year to their highest number in more than 25 years.

In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson blamed people “listening to that superstitious mumbo jumbo on the internet” for a rising incidence of measles in that country. The government plans to call a summit of social media companies to discuss what more they can do to fight online misinformation, though details are still being worked out.

Facebook said in March that it would no longer recommend groups and pages that spread hoaxes about vaccines and that it would reject ads that do this. But anti-vax information still slips through.

Pinterest, Misinformation. Vaccines
Social media sites have been trying to combat the spread of misinformation about vaccines. Pixabay

The WHO praised Pinterest’s move and encouraged other social media companies to follow.

Also Read- India’s Move to Ban e-cigarettes Flawed, Say Cancer Experts

“Misinformation about vaccination has spread far and fast on social media platforms in many different countries,” the statement said. “We see this as a critical issue and one that needs our collective effort to protect people’s health and lives.” (VOA)