Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

Science, Technology and Society

Reader 1

Sean Flynn

Reader 2

Vivien Hamilton

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

2022 Audrey M Jammes


Approved in 2006, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine provided a medical breakthrough in combating cancer by inoculating first female and then male adolescents in 2010. In 2016, a new HPV vaccine was approved for all adolescents. However, it is the most expensive vaccine created in the United States and its female centered prescription led to debates regarding the vaccine’s necessity and risks. For the STS portion of this paper, analysis of the language in the vaccine’s prescriptions from 2006, 2010, and 2016 demonstrates two implicit assumptions regarding female health built into the vaccine’s rollout. Comparison of the two assumptions to the popular media campaigns and parental responses over time shows that as male vaccination became more common and the list of HPV-related cancers grew, debates regarding its effect on sexual behaviors were dampened. However, distrust of the vaccine due to corporate marketing grew. The second part of the study uses the net-present value calculation to identify whether administering the vaccine is cost-effective by comparing the marginal benefit of the medical treatment and mortality costs foregone and the marginal cost of the two-dose vaccination per individual. The calculations demonstrate that vaccination at 2018 rates and full vaccination are not cost-effective at the current price and dose schedule. Overall, this study finds that there are still stereotyping effects on adolescent girls from the 2006 prescriptions and that funding for the vaccine’s development is not cost-effective and could be used in other medical interventions.