Feb 5, 2007

Gov. Perry Issues Special Vaccination Order

Texas requires HPV vaccine - from Think Progress

Gov. Rick Perry (R) “signed an order Friday making Texas the first state to require that schoolgirls get vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.” He bypassed “opposition in the Legislature from conservatives and parents’ rights groups who fear such a requirement would condone premarital sex and interfere with the way parents raise their children.”
(link from ABC news)

At first glance, I was pleased, although a bit shocked that Rick Perry had gone against the religious groups on this the HPV vaccine. Perry is a conservative christian who opposes abortion and stem-cell research and generally relies on the right wing Texas Baptists for his voting base. But, as with all things, the full story unfolded into a more complex picture.

Why require it, like a polio vaccine, when HPV is not quite in the same ballfield? HPV can cause cervical cancer, surely bad, but is it a national epidemic that needs a special Governor's order to bypass Texas legislature to get it to the people of Texas?

It's a relatively new drug, and I don't know that it's been tested enough yet before we start prescribing it to ALL 11 and 12 year old girls.

But further down into the ABC article I ran into this:

Merck is bankrolling efforts to pass state laws across the country mandating Gardasil for girls as young as 11 or 12. It doubled its lobbying budget in Texas and has funneled money through Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country.

Perry has several ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company's three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Perry's former chief of staff. His current chief of staff's mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.

Ah, so. Well, there's Perry's reasoning. For one brief second I saw our multiple term Governor doing something contrary to his base. But, of course, it ends up being just for the money. If there is one thing that trumps all of these "religious" politicians' beliefs- it's a little cold hard cash.

Well know we know the WHY, but let's move on to the WHAT.
Gardasil is the vaccine. It was approved by the federal government in June and a governmental advisory panel has recommended all girls get the shots at 11 and 12 before they are sexually active. It's a three-shot vaccination, said to cost around $360. Ouch. Expensive if you don't have insurance. Gardisil was the first vaccine specifically designed to fight cancer, by fighting HPV (human papilloma virus) which has been linked to cervical cancer. It is hoped (not proven) that it will prevent hundreds of thousands of women from dying from cervical cancer. In the U.S. approximately 4,500 women die each year from the cancer.

The drug has been tested on 27,000 women and has been found to be effective against two strains of the HPV, which accounts for roughly 10% of HPV infections. Merck says the vaccine
protects women for at least five years and is most effective when given to them around ages 9 to 11.

??? Okay, something about that last factoid doesn't quite make sense to me... only effective for five years? So if given at age 9, they are protected until age 14? Being that the drug is so new, there has not been enough time to test true time of effectiveness.

More Info about HPV and Gardisil
Best Syndication Article

And From Cancer.org I found this:

There are many types of HPV viruses, and they are transmitted by sexual contact. Almost everyone who is sexually active gets these viruses—both men and women—but it is only a very few who develop any problem as a result of the virus.

So, if that is true, why is the vaccine only being given to girls? Can the vaccine prevent HPV in boys and thus- prevent its spread to women as well? Nothing I could find indicated that it couldn't be used in boys, just that it wasn't being marketed towards them. Which, if this is just a Big Pharma ploy to make money, doesn't make sense. Because vaccinating everyone makes more money than half of everyone.

The American College of Pediatricians oppose HPV vaccination on the grounds that HPV is not communicable in a classroom the way, say, chicken pox is.
Dakota Voice

(UPDATE/DISCLAIMER: Doc Amazing, at Sadly No! informs me that the American College of Pediatricians has a lot of right wing web links on their website and "a lot of right wing kookery" Okay. Duly noted. Anyone who knows me or reads this blog for more than a week knows how little I care for the christian war on science. But upon re-reading the article linked above from the Dakota voice, the information still seems solid. Dangerous though HPV is, it as communicable as hepatitus or something of that nature, which is the only point I am taking from that particular article from that organization.)

And then, on top of all these other considerations, we also have the parental rights issue to consider as far as requiring you to vaccinate your child with medicines that have dubious benefits.

“Texas allows parents to opt out of inoculations by filing an affidavit objecting to the vaccine on religious or philosophical reasons.” (from the ABC article)

If you object to it, or believe that the vaccine hasn’t had time to be properly tested for harmful side effects you will not Have to get your child vaccinated.

HOWEVER- as a Texas parent of two girls myself, there are serious ramifications to refusing vaccines for your child. My children have been fully vaccinated, but I personally know a couple who (hardcore baptists) refused vaccines for their child since birth. And more than one doctor and clinics have “taken them to task” on several occassions when their child has gotten sick, for whatever reasons. Refusing an vaccine can possibly lead to CPS getting involved and charging you with parental neglect.

For this issue, with its various angles, I haven't made up my mind yet. There's a lot to consider, and with my oldest daughter being seven and a half, I guess it's something that I need to pour more effort into in the next couple of years before deciding if this vaccination is a must. What are your thoughts?

UPDATE: Supergirlest at My Thinking Spot has an update on Gardasil side effects..


caveman said...

hmmm dont like these vaccinations as I hear they could be up to no good the goverment is planting some secret chips in us so they can spy on our every move..and..wait a sec..dam I am sounding like a leftist

Fade said...

Naw, you got it back-ards. The whole "number of the beast" dillybopper is the righties who are smoking that christian crack. They are the ones that think the govt is planting chips with 666 in your right (is it left?) arm for when the antichrist comes to uh.. I don't remember. Take over or somethin...

Frederick said...

Tell us again Cavey how the Lunar moon landings were staged and NASA is a liberal conspiracy to suck taxed dollars out of the pocket of the working man.

...anyways, did you get my e-mail, Fade?

Fade said...

Fred- got it! Been swamped lately. Looking for something choice...

Old Broad said...

Fade, as you know, "The Coiffure" (Perry) has no power. In Texas, the real power is in the hands of the Lt. Gov., NOT the Gov. Perry is a joke here.
That said, as of this morning (subject to change, I suppose) is is still ILLEGAL for anyone to FORCIBLY vaccinate another person.
Keep this in mind. The Coiffure wants to be President someday.

Ziem said...

This whole idea reminds me of a horror book I once read. Forced vaccinations to actually control the masses.

This drug is not proven, to force it upon young teens is insane. Not to mention I trust Merck almost as much as I do this administration. Aren't they still in court over their arthritis medications?

What the hell happened to choice?

supergirlest said...

i'm COMPLETELY freaked out by the thought of being forced to take any vaccination - especially ones that aren't even 100% effective.

THANK YOU for the validation. my first thought when i heard about this was, "so why aren't boys being forced to take something?" i mean, it is sexually transmitted and all...

kind of off topic, but did you see that the bill was passed that would require everyone to be vaccinated in case of an outbreak, such as the bird flu? even sweeter, the companies making the vaccines have been given protection if they end up reacting negatively in people. :(