Health
5:02 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Poll: Parents want final say on teens' HPV vaccination

Some public health officials would like to drop the requirement for parental consent for a vaccine that prevents a sexually transmitted virus. But a new University of Michigan poll shows 57 percent of parents want to have the final say in their adolescent children's health care. 

Human papillomarivus -- or HPV -- can lead to cervical cancer in women and some head and neck cancers in men.

Sarah Clark is associate director of C.S .Mott Children's Hospital national poll on children's health.

She says routine HPV vaccination is recommended for boys and girls at 11 or 12 years old. It has to be given before they become sexually active to be most effective.

"That's a little bit tricky, because when you're in with your 11 and 12 year-old child, you're not really envisioning that kid to be sexually active yet, so the conversation can be a little uncomfortable between the parent and the physician."

Clark says the poll shows about 40 percent of parents had moral or ethical concerns about the vaccine; others worried about possible side effects.

About 45 percent of those asked said they would support state laws allowing the HPV vaccination  without parental consent. California recently passed such a law.