The HPV Vaccine for Teens and Preteens
For a lot of people, the cost of healthcare can be overwhelming. You don’t want cost to come in the way of your child’s health, but healthcare can be expensive. Thankfully, several programs provide vaccinations free of charge or at a very low cost.
If you have health insurance, it may cover the cost of the vaccine. Contact your insurance provider to find out.
No-cost vaccinations are available for children without health insurance through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. The VFC program is a federally funded program that provides free vaccinations to certain eligible children. You can find out more by visiting their Web site at www.cdc.gov/features/vfcprogram or by calling your state’s VFC coordinator. You can find the phone number for your state’s VFC coordinator by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636).
The manufacturers of the vaccines also offer assistance. This can be especially useful for adults who do not have health insurance but don’t qualify for the VFC program.
GlaxoSmithKline has a Vaccines Access Program that provides Cervarix to certain eligible adults. You can find out more by visiting their Web site (www.gsk-vap.com) or by calling 1-877-VACC-911 (8222-911).
Merck’s Vaccine Patient Assistance Program provides Gardasil to certain eligible adults without insurance. Visit their Web site (www.merck.com/merckhelps/vaccines) or call 1-800-293-3881 for more information.
It is important to keep in mind that the HPV vaccines do not protect against all types of HPV. As a woman, you’ll still need regular Pap tests (also called Pap smears) to screen for cervical cancer. Pap tests can detect changes in the cells of your cervix that could become cancerous, or detect cancer in the early stages when it’s easiest to treat.
Pap smears are recommended for most women between the ages of 21 and 65 years old. If you’re 30 years or older, your healthcare provider may recommend an HPV test along with your Pap test. If you’re HPV-negative, you may be able to wait three years to get your next Pap test.
(Click Cervical Cancer Screening for more information about Pap smears.)