I have partnered with Merck as part of a study on vaccine hesitancy and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Before having children I never really thought about what being a mother entails. Of course, I thought about feeding them and clothing them. However, I’m talking about the harder things like should I vaccinate them or not. It honestly never occurred to me that this would be such a hard topic. You have so many people with different views on this topic and it can really get messy.
When I had Isaiah I was only 21. I didn’t know much about vaccines. The doctors gave you a schedule and you pretty much followed that. Doctor appointments in the first year of life pretty much consisted of shots. Thankfully, he always did pretty well. It wasn’t until after I had my 3rd child, at 32, that I really started doing my homework on vaccines.
I knew early on in my motherhood journey I would do everything in my power to protect my children. A small and innocent life was in my hands and other than dad, I was responsible for this being. I wanted to make sure I did everything by the book. I couldn’t screw this up. But once I was a mother of 2 I realized there isn’t technically a motherhood handbook. I could make my own decisions, including whether I should vaccinate or not.
Isaiah went on to have all his shots, so I thought. I learned later on that once he reached a certain age he would now need the HPV vaccine. If you aren’t familiar with HPV, it stands for Human Papillomavirus which is a virus that may cause genital warts and certain cancers. Even though the doctor told me he needed this vaccine, I declined. I wanted to do my own research. I knew better now, I couldn’t just take a paper and follow it. It was my job as his mother to make sure this vaccine was in his best interest.
After much research I found out that approximately over 45,000 HPV-cancers occur in the US each year. Most importantly there is no cure for HPV. I learned that the HPV vaccine is highly effective at preventing women and men from getting these cancers. That is when I knew that if I could help protect my child against HPV I would. The vaccine is FDA approved and available as early as 9 years old. However, the CDC does recommend that you wait until 11-12 years old to vaccinate.
Trust me, I know how hard it is to make these decisions. I highly recommend doing the research and knowing the facts. You’ll be happy you did. #HPVVaxMessageStudy #Partner