Wednesday, February 28, 2007

HPV Vaccine...Required: All The Rage & Causing Some Rage!

I have been reading about the movement among some politicos to make the HPV vaccine a requirement. It began in Texas with the Governor's proclamation. Now other states are making a move. However, the sentiment I found among several parents from whom I solicited responses (including some from our own children) is generally two-fold.

a) Their daughters WILL be immunized

b) They are absolutely opposed to "Big Brother" government getting into the picture

The need for the vaccine was definite for one mother of a girl entering the teens:

"I am completely for this. My Pediatrician put it into a different perspective......This is the 1st vaccine that will prevent cancer! I get angered when I hear people say it is pushing promiscuity. That is like saying condoms cause people to be sexually active. I have news for people.....It will be a rare child that isn't at some point, be it 16 yrs old, 20 yrs old, 23 yrs old, almost all kids experiment with sex and if there is a cure for the diseases that cause cancer let's give it!

Then came the response that parents, not government need to take responsibility:

"Required? Hell no! The Government has no authority to tell me how to raise my child. This is not a necessary vaccine. I feel a little bit different about other vaccines because they require a certain percentage of the population to have them in order to be most effective and they are life saving vaccines. this isn't. A clear violation of individual rights.

Yet another, more expansive view was given by this Texas mother who find politics to be involved:

"I have had several opportunities to think about and discuss this with some of my friends who are parents. This is speaking from the perspective of a Texas citizen, and all the political ramifications involved.

First off, I think the HPV vaccine is a wonderful breakthrough, I am very happy to see it. All the issues that I have are not with the vaccine itself, but with the legal issues, and forcing it on young girls.

The Merck lobbyist to the TX politicians used to be a very high ranking member of our governor, Rick Perry. Perry sent out an executive order requiring girls entering 6th grade to have the vaccine. I truly believe that the only reason he did it is because of the contributions Merck has made to his campaign. There is a legacy of shady practices or maybe even outright corruption on Perry's part. In fact, Merck has been viewed so negatively on this, that it has ceased lobbying for the vaccine to be required. He says it's to protect our girls and the state from future medic al costs associated with cervical cancer. First thing one must wonder, is just how much the state is spending on cervical cancer. I am sure its not rampant. Secondly, if he was so concerned with the health issues, and their associated costs, why are there no executive orders banning smoking or trans-fats? They are a far greater health risk, and carry exponentially higher costs than cervical cancer. Oh, I know, because no one from the tobacco or food industries are paying him to ban them...

Only 4% of the females included in the studies conducted to prove safety and effectiveness were young teenage girls. In my opinion, this is not enough to convince me yet that it is a good idea to force this on young girls. I am fortunate enough to be in a position to wait-and-see on this.

The 3 month course of this vaccine is about $360. News stories vary widely on information regarding health insurance coverage for this. In my discussions with others, the point was made that by requiring the vaccine, it will enable programs to be set up to assist low-income families to receive the vaccine. I have a couple issues with that. First off, these types of programs should be in place before the mandate, not as a reaction to it. Secondly, many area's vaccination programs are already strapped, particularly in areas with a lot of low-income families. While I think the HPV vaccination is important, I believe that a polio or measles vaccination is more important, and am loathe to put more important vaccines on a low priority for this one, especially since a woman can get the vaccine later. All she has to do is stay a virgin - oh no! Additionally, there are plenty of families that aren't considered low-income, that couldn't just sprout out $360.

Assuming that the vaccine is still considered safe and effective when Lauren reaches the appropriate age, I have every intention of having it for her, law or not. The activist in me says that I will go as far as to sign the affidavit opposing the vaccine, and then do it on my own ;) ".

Universal acceptance among my meager sample group; and, near-universal feelings of the liberal view of government interference once again in our lives.

I also found this quite interesting article addressing, state-by-state (excepting Texas) the current movements underway... from Medical News Today!

I find the entire situation to be a bit of grandstanding on the part of politicos. What sane person would not want to protect their daughter...given the where-with-all to do so. The question of just what this cervical cancer cost is to states remains a glaring item for me as I am not convinced it is a significant item!

Your comments are welcome!