Many parents ask me about the safety of various vaccinations. Generally, my suggestion is for people to fully understand the risk of the disease the vaccination is poised to prevent and then to understand the possible side effects of the vaccination itself. A frequent question I get is about Gardasil, the new HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccine made by Merck. Gardasil was recently approved for wide distribution for the prevention of HPV infection in teenage girls. HPV is the virus known to cause cervical cancer. Gardasil has been shown to prevent the infection of about 70% of the HPV strains. It is the assumption of doctors who administer the vaccines and the public health organizations that support the development and implementation of the vaccine that this vaccine can be widely used to prevent a life threatening cancer that affect women.