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Some parents may say "'Why are you vaccinating my son against anal cancer? He's not gay! He's not ever going to be gay!' I can see that will come up," said Mishori, who supports the panel's recommendation.
Schuchat indicated the CDC is ready for that kind of argument: "There's no data suggesting that offering a vaccine against HPV will change people's subsequent sexual behavior," she said.
So far, the threat of genital warts hasn't been persuasive: Some data suggest that less than 1.5 percent of adolescent males have gotten the vaccine over the past two years.
Meanwhile, some feel it's unlikely that most parents will agree to get their sons vaccinated primarily to protect girls. A survey of 600 pediatricians last year found that nearly 70 percent of doctors thought families would deem vaccination of their boys as unnecessary.
Experts at the committee meeting noted an earlier analysis that showed vaccinating boys would not be cost-effective if the female vaccination were high.
"If you do reach high coverage of females, will you stop vaccinating males?" asked Dr. David Salisbury, director immunization for the United Kingdom's Department of Health.
There are two vaccines against HPV, but Tuesday's vote applies only to Merck & Co.'s Gardasil, which costs $130 a dose. The other vaccine wasn't tested for males.
The committee's recommendation -- and the greater insurance coverage of the vaccine that is expected to follow -- will make it easier for more boys to get the shots, said Dr. Mark Feinberg, chief public health and science officer for Merck Vaccines.
Merck officials bristled at the idea that males would see the vaccine as mainly meant for gay men, noting that HPV-caused anal cancers can occur in heterosexual men.
Maura Robbins of Chicago said she's likely to have her 12-year-old son, Cole, vaccinated against HPV -- but probably not until he's a little older. "I would just like to see some long-term testing and long-term results," she said.
HPV info: http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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