KANSAS CITY, Mo.—A Republican presidential debate has created controversy about a cancer vaccine. The HPV vaccine is known to prevent most cervical cancers. Recently, candidate Michele Bachmann blasted the vaccine suggesting it might not be safe and certainly shouldn't be mandated for young girls.
Bachmann was going after Texas Governor Rick Perry who once mandated young girls in his state get inoculated. The measure has since been repealed but the debate remains center stage and doctors who spoke with FOX 4 say that's a shame.
"She told me her little daughter took that vaccine and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter," said Michele Bachmann.
Bachmann's remarks on the Today Show have caused frustration with many in the medical community.
"It's unfortunate when people make statements about a subject where they don't have all the facts and it can scare people," said Dr. Christopher Harrison.
Dr. Harrison studies the HPV Vaccine at Children's Mercy Hospital. He says despite what's been spread by some pundits and the internet, the vaccine has never been linked to any deaths or serious side affects or mental retardation.
"If we can prevent cervical cancer, this is a good thing," he said. "It's one of the few success stories we've had with cancer."
The vaccine is recommended for females between the ages of nine and 26. The girl in question is 16-years-old.
"I wanted her to stay from being sick and stay in school and stuff," said Cheryl Lowery. "That's why I told her to go ahead and yea, go ahead get it."
Perhaps the most surprising new information about the HPV Vaccine is that doctors now recommend boys get it as well.
A 15-year-old boy got a dose at Children's Mercy Teen Clinic on Wednesday. Girls get the virus through sexual contact with boys and in rare cases males can contract cancer from the virus as well.
"If we just immunize one side, we're not getting as good a protection," Dr. Harrison said.
Most doctors say the real consequence is not getting immunized. They add the vaccine is most effective the younger a person is when they get it, before they become sexually active.
"If people understand the facts they'll make the right decision," Dr. Harrison said.
Cervical Cancer is the second most common Cancer among women in the United States behind Breast Cancer.