requiring hpv vaccine for young girls?

This is just SO WRONG.

HPV is undoubtedly a serious health risk. But it isn't the same kind of mass infectious disease risk as, say, measles, so the government requiring ALL young girls to have the vaccine is excessive and oppressive.

The science behind the vaccine is probably good (although I would like to give it a few more years before injecting my child), so my issue is with REQUIRING it. I am happy the vaccine exists for those girls and women who choose it. I'm all for making it widely available and widely publicized.

But I think the government needs to make a very, very exceptional case for public health and safety before requiring citizens to undergo injections of any substance in order to get public services. In this case, I do not believe the government meets that standard.


Katharine said...

I have to respectfully disagree.

Many girls become sexually active before their parents know about it, and unfortunately, sometimes girls are raped. And then there are parents who teach their children that it's immoral to have sex before marriage; these are sometimes the very parents who don't want teens to have access to birth control and thus end up with pregnant teens.

To protect all girls in these situations against HPV, I want it to be the law that they must be vaccinated.

Rachel said...

In addition to Katharine's point, every proposal I've seen on this allows parents to opt out.

Georgia said...

I didn't realize that it was a mandatory innoculation.
I will say to at least consider it.
Not all cases of HPV are caused by sex. As a virologist, I looked into this more when I had to have two cryosurgeries for pre cervical cancer.
My obgyn told me of other virgins who he had also treated with HPV. My theory is that the virus also spreads though clothing, washing machines (as in shared ones in a dorm situaton), perhaps other ways as well.

I can say that my diagnosis caused me much pain both physically and emotionally. My obgyn suggested that Rick go to a urologist just to make sure he was that point the urologist told him that it was obvoious to him that I had been unfaithful and that's how I contracted HPV.
As a newly married couple, that caused a huge rift and made him question my honesty. (Which, in turn, made me question my choice of a life-mate.)

Please consider the vaccination when you feel the time is right. But do know that a virgin can have can and does happen...and, it happened to me.

Katharine said...

It is wrong, though, that apparently the reason behind the Texas governor's signing an order to make it mandatory that schoolgirls get the vaccine is his financial connections to Merck, which manufactures Gardasil. That is unconscionable. See the details here.

Georgia said...

You're right- that is horrendous.
People who can make decisions as such should not have any sort of personal financial gain from those decisions.

mamalife said...

Interesting, I just posted about the same thing on my blog. I believe it is a good vaccine. Like you, I don't believe it to be in the same realm as measles as to require it for school entry (although, of course, there are always ways to opt out of required vaccines and still attend school). I also find the financial connections to Merck to be a very dubious influence in this decision.

Anonymous said...

It seems paternalistic to tell girls what to do with their bodies on any level... "We know better than you that you will be having sex, so you will get this vaccine." Also, the rape arguement is troubling. Do we really want to tell our girls that their risk of being raped is so great that they must take preventative measures? Why not make the pill mandetory, in that case?

Anonymous said...

Other mandatory vaccines for children are those that protect, not only the child getting it, but those who come in contact with the child. We don't want another polio epidemic, for example. But, this one is hugely different. It only protects the individual who gets the vaccine. This is more like the government requiring that parents buckle their children into car seats. The debate is how far can and should government intrude into the rights of parents to do it their way. It takes a village?

Leslie said...

One of many things that disturbs me about this is the way they promote it as an "Anti-cancer vaccine." No, it's not; it protects against ONE CAUSE of one kind of cancer, which you may not get even if you did get HPV.

Clisby said...

How interesting that you posted about this. A proposal to make it mandatory here in S.C. has been introduced, and I'm in the process of writing my letter to my state rep. to say why I'm opposed to it.

(And having the opportunity to opt out by claiming a religious exemption doesn't cut it with me. If parents could opt out for any reason, including just feeling ornery that day, it would be a different story.)

By the way, I'm not opposed because I think the vaccine is a bad idea. I think it's a good idea, and I'd probably want my daughter vaccinated at some point (she's 10 now). And I'm not opposed because I think it would encourage promiscuity - I think that's nonsense.

My opposition is because I think it's an improper use of the authority of the state.

For those of you who think it's a good idea - would you favor the state telling women they can't have their income tax refunds until they prove they've had a mammogram in the past 10 years? Should the state fine anybody over 50 who can't prove he or she has had a colonoscopy? After all, mammograms and colonoscopies area great idea, too; and if everybody had them regularly, I'm sure it would save a whole lot more lives than the HPV vaccine. And what if an HPV vaccine is developed that's just as effective in adults? Should every adult woman be required to get it?

This isn't about public health. It's about Merck wanting to make a buck for its shareholders (fine by me), and about legislators willing to pimp for a pharmaceutical company (not fine by me).


mss said...

A friend of mine from high school, age 40, is dying from cervical cancer that has spread to her lymph system. She caught HPV from her ex-husband, her HS sweetheart, who was the only man she ever slept with. She will be _beyond lucky_ if she sees her daughter graduate college. Just saying.

Georgia said...

There are over one hundred variatons of HPV. Some cause gential warts, others cause dysplasia that, in turn, cause cancer.

I watched my Mom have to have surgery for her cervical cancer and I had to have two cryosurgies for mine.

If the second surgery had not worked, the next option was a surgery to remove a large portion of my cervix. This surgery would have made carrying a child to full term an issue.

So, if there is a vaccine out there that can make sure the cancer causing form of HPV is wiped out- why not take it?

(Yes, I'd prefer to have a longer history on any possible problems or side effects-but, other than that-I have no issues with it. Even in a mantadory setting )

Anonymous said...

After we stop this, the next thing we need to stop is mandatory yellow fever vaccinations for VOLUNTARY TRAVEL BY ADULTS! IT'S AN OUTRAGE! Big Pharma's behind it, you know.

- Steve K.