Thursday, February 22, 2007


In an odd way, I'm really enjoying the discussions from states and citizens concerning the mandatory use of a drug that could deter cervical cancer in women.

Naturally, one of the sticking points is that the Human Papillomavirus can only be transmitted sexually. And to get the vaccine would be condoning sexual behaviour in teens and pre-teens. Or so say concerned parents. The other thorn in the side is the term 'mandatory'. The vaccine can also saves lives.

Each year in the U.S. about 61,000 women get cervical cancer and 3,700 die from it. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women around the world. The vaccine protects against four HPV types, which together cause 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts.

I can't argue or agree with the science of the drug or the testing methods to get FDA approval. Opponents are quick to point out the adverse reactions and the issues that occurred during clinical trials. That's fine. But is it fair? What I continually don't see in similar studies is how those same talking points compare to other drugs on the market. It might just be the standard - for better or worse.

Citizens, and so far the only ones I hear about are in Texas, are up in arms and think that the government has no business in telling people what should be done to their bodies. 10 to 1, these are the exact same people who say that the government should be allowed to tell certain people what to do with their bodies by banning abortion.

The 'mandatory' thing means absolutely nothing. Each parent can opt out of having their child participate. And you know it is better for the kids to get cervical cancer than it is for them to be sexually active....because getting the vaccine will automatically make their kids sluts and whores.

I agree the dealings with Merck and Texas are a little shady on how they got this all going, but in healthcare terms, how is this not like inoculations for Polio and all the other things for which we got boosters? Those saved suffering. Those saved lives.


Sue said...

Right now the vaccine is in 3 shots. If I had a kid I would wait until it is in one shot. That will happen in a few years time. If my kid was at the age of having sex, I would get them the shot now. Little kids get so many vaccinations as it is right now.

Have I ever mentioned how glad I am I don't have children?

RJ March said...

I was taken aback by Rick Perry's announcement. The first thing that came to mind was the invasiveness and the presumption of law stating that girls had to be vaccinated to be allowed to attend schools. It smacked of something almost sinister, and look what we're hearing about Perry and Merck. One hand washes the other.

(I told R, who had to attend Perry's inaugural ball, that Perry looked like an aged porn star circa 1974.)

rebecca said...

It would help if Perry didn't sound so defensive about the whole thing -- and if he wasn't touting it as a "cure for cancer." It would be nice if we were just allowed to protect girls from STD's, for heaven's sake.

rebecca said...

Oh and PS, since when does a company like Merck give a crappy $5k to a gubernatorial pot? That's a red herring, if you ask me, to disguise all the truckloads of Viagra going into Austin, or something like that...