August is National Vaccination Awareness Month—designed to raise awareness of the importance of vaccinations in preventing disease among children and adults. Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region offers several vaccinations to teenagers and young adults, including Gardasil® vaccine. Gardasil® has been shown to protect against strains of the human papillomaviruses (HPV) that cause cervical cancer and genital warts.
Gardasil® vaccine is recommended for girls as young as 9 and girls and women up to 26 years old who did not receive the vaccine when they were younger. It is a series of three shots given about every two months over a six-month period. It protects against HPV, which is a common virus spread mostly through sexual contact. The vaccine is most effective when given to women and girls before the onset of sexual activity.
A number of studies have shown Gardasil® to be both safe and effective, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only about 18 percent of teen girls in the U.S. have received all three of the recommended doses of the vaccine.
While the cost of Gardasil® ($150 or more per dose) may discourage some families from getting their girls vaccinated, there is a program that makes Gardasil® affordable.
Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region can provide vaccines at low cost to those who qualify for the federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program, including:
- Children on TennCare or Medicaid or who are eligible for TennCare or Medicaid
- Children without health insurance
- Children whose health insurance doesn’t cover vaccinations
- American Indian and Alaska native children
PPGMR offers Gardasil® vaccine for only $13 a dose to girls age 9 to 18 who qualify for the VFC Program. We can even waive the $13 fee for those who qualify for VFC and cannot afford to pay it.
PPGMR also offers Menactra® vaccine against meningococcal disease and Boostrix® vaccine (Tdap) against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis for our young patients who may need these vaccinations for college entry.
For more information about these vaccines or to find out if you qualify for the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, call Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region at (901) 725-1717.
Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region (PPGMR), founded in 1938, is an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. PPGMR’s mission is to ensure broad public access to reproductive and related health care through clinic services, education, advocacy and community partnerships in serving 42 counties in West Tennessee, North Mississippi and East Arkansas.