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‘This Shot Can Save Your Life!’ (Or Can It?): Framing of the HPV Vaccine in Teen, Parenting, and Women’s Magazines
Unformatted Document Text:  ‘This Shot Can Save Your Life!’ (Or Can It?): Framing of the HPV Vaccine in Teen, Parenting, and Women’s Magazines Especially in the women’s magazines, this was by far the most common frame during the time period studied in this sample. The HPV vaccine was depicted as “the biggest cancer breakthrough in decades” 43 or “in women’s health since the Pap test” 44 by doctors and that “there has never been a vaccine specifically for cancer.” 45 CosmoGIRL! proclaimed that “we want you and your future daughters to live without the threat of cervical cancer.” 46 Essence called the vaccine a “breakthrough” that would “help women live longer,” specifically dubbing it as “The Anticancer Vaccine.” 47 Virtually every article that discussed the vaccine at any length reported a veritable soup of statistics about the strains of the virus that the shot prevents, the ages it has been approved for, and other number-related facts. For instance, Redbook ran the following paragraph of information as a news blurb in its front-of-book health section: Gardasil prevented 91 percent of cases of persistent infection, minor cervical abnormalities, pre-cancers, and genital warts caused by the sexually transmitted infection human papillomavirus (HPV) in women through age 45, according to a study of 4,500 women, performed by Merck (which manufactures the vaccine). The vaccine protects against four strains of HPV: the two that cause 70 percent of cervical cancer cases, and two other strains that cause 90 percent of genital warts… About 25 percent of women over age 25 are current infected with HPV, which means that the vaccine can help protect the 75 percent who don’t have it…. Ask your doctor if she recommends the vaccine for you. Since Gardasil is not yet FDA-approved for women over age 26, insurance might not cover the roughly $400 it costs, so you may have to pay for it out of pocket. 48 While these facts were often accurate (though not always), the text tended to be confusing, and often followed headlines that overstated the vaccine’s effectiveness: for example, “The Ultimate STD Prevention.” 49 In one lengthy article that appeared in Glamour magazine, the topic of the HPV vaccine was discussed in context with other women’s sexual health issues and the political debates that have arisen over some of them. The author wrote, “The world’s first anticancer vaccine represents an incredible scientific breakthrough.” 50 The article goes on to show that there was

Authors: Lepre, Carolyn.
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‘This Shot Can Save Your Life!’ (Or Can It?): Framing of the HPV Vaccine in Teen, Parenting, 
and Women’s Magazines
Especially in the women’s magazines, this was by far the most common frame during the 
time period studied in this sample. The HPV vaccine was depicted as “the biggest cancer 
breakthrough in decades
  or “in women’s health since the Pap test
 by doctors and that 
“there has never been a vaccine specifically for cancer.”
 CosmoGIRL! proclaimed that “we 
want you and your future daughters to live without the threat of cervical cancer.”
  Essence 
called the vaccine a “breakthrough” that would “help women live longer,” specifically dubbing it 
as “The Anticancer Vaccine.”
 Virtually every article that discussed the vaccine at any length 
reported a veritable soup of statistics about the strains of the virus that the shot prevents, the ages 
it has been approved for, and other number-related facts. For instance, Redbook ran the following 
paragraph of information as a news blurb in its front-of-book health section:
Gardasil prevented 91 percent of cases of persistent infection, minor cervical 
abnormalities, pre-cancers, and genital warts caused by the sexually transmitted 
infection human papillomavirus (HPV) in women through age 45, according to a 
study of 4,500 women, performed by Merck (which manufactures the vaccine). 
The vaccine protects against four strains of HPV: the two that cause 70 percent of 
cervical cancer cases, and two other strains that cause 90 percent of genital 
warts… About 25 percent of women over age 25 are current infected with HPV, 
which means that the vaccine can help protect the 75 percent who don’t have it…. 
Ask your doctor if she recommends the vaccine for you. Since Gardasil is not yet 
FDA-approved for women over age 26, insurance might not cover the roughly 
$400 it costs, so you may have to pay for it out of pocket.
 While these facts were often accurate (though not always), the text tended to be confusing, and 
often followed headlines that overstated the vaccine’s effectiveness: for example, “The Ultimate 
STD Prevention.
In one lengthy article that appeared in Glamour magazine, the topic of the HPV vaccine 
was discussed in context with other women’s sexual health issues and the political debates that 
have arisen over some of them. The author wrote, “The world’s first anticancer vaccine 
represents an incredible scientific breakthrough.”
 The article goes on to show that there was 


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