Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Open Discussion

Millions of Americans have seen the ad blitz for Merck's new drug Gardasil. The FDA only approved Gardasil in June and already, there is talk of making the $360 vaccine mandatory for the 2 million American girls who enter the sixth grade every year. Gardasil, which is manufactured by Merck, is the first vaccine developed to prevent cervical cancer, precancerous genital lesions and genital warts resulting from exposure to HPV. It is highly effective against four types of the virus, including two that cause about 70 percent of cervical cancer cases, said the CDC. Three doses of the new vaccine should be given to girls when they're 11 or 12 years old, according to the CDC committee's recommendation. The shots can be given to girls as young as 9 with the advice of a doctor or other health care provider.

Some worry that may sends a mixed signal by protecting girls against a sexually transmitted disease while at the same time telling them they shouldn't have sex.
But whether girls entering the 6th grade should be immunized is the subject of sharp debate among parents, including those who welcomed the vaccine and those who were afraid it might encourage early sexual activity.

HOUSTON - Texas on Friday became the first state to require school-age girls be vaccinated against a virus - typically transmitted through sex - that has been shown to cause cervical cancer.

Gov. Rick Perry signed an executive order mandating that most girls, starting in September 2008, receive the vaccination against the human papilloma virus, or HPV, prior to entering sixth grade.(source)

I want to hear your opinions. Comments open for discussion.

Should the government mandate vaccinations of this kind?
Free polls from


Shawn said...

Well that is a dilema. I guess it is good to accept the reality of situations rather than turn a blind eye. But 6th grade seems really young. Then again, I don't know any 6th graders so I don't know why kind of things they are doing now.

Shawn said...

I meant to say...I dont know what kind of things they are doing now.

Hammer said...

I don't think the government should mandate anything. Let the parents decide.

Soon they will be giving birth control pills with school lunches.

Dazd said...

I apologize for the hokey looking poll text. I'm trying a few others for future use.

Jay said...

I'm pretty much of a libertarian. I don't support the gov't meddling in people's lives and telling people how to raise their children.

But, I can't for the life of me understand why people would put their own child at risk of something that they can prevent. If somebody refuses to get a certain immunization and then their daughter later is afflicted with that virus then that is down right criminal. A parent's first job is to protect their children.

Also, if a parent is having their kid get some shot and isn't sitting down and explaining to them what is going on then they are not being muc of a parent.

This shot is right before 6th grade. 6th graders aren't stupid. If parents actually talk to them and explain things they will listen and undertand.

Anonymous said...

Amen Jay! Keep the gawd damned government out of it!! (freak’n liberals) and let the parents decide. Then what self respecting, responsible parent would not take advantage of the immunization? (morons and whit trash excluded)

Ordinary Janet said...

I don't have a daughter (or any kids for that matter) but I'd want to know if there are side effects from this vaccine, and who says it's effective, and who says it's a guarantee against cervical cancer. I don't think giving them a vaccination would encourage sexual activity-that would happen regardless of the vaccine. But I do NOT think a state has the right to require that all girls get this vaccine. I'd like to see the reaction they'd get if they required all boys to get a vaccine against a sexually transmitted disease. Just because they don't get the warts on their peckers doesn't mean they can't transmit the disease. Somehow, when it comes to men and boys, if they put up a stink they get what they want, and when it comes to girls and women, the opposite happens.

Jay said...

I saw on the news tonight that now Florida is considering the same requirements that Texas is talking about.

I find it interesting that the two states that seem poised to mandate this immunization are both completely Republican controlled.

cmk said...

I am SO torn about this whole thing. On the one hand, I have 4 granddaughters (so far) and I would want to see them protected against this horrible disease. On the other hand, I would hope that my daughters would see the benefit on their own for getting their girls vaccinated.

As for vaccinating encouraging sexual activity, here is my take. Even if a girl is a virgin when she gets married, that doesn't mean her husband will be. Just because the chances of getting HPV increases as sexual activity increases, that doesn't mean one time won't do it. After all, getting pregnant can only take one time.

Ambulance Driver said...

I think the vaccine is a good thing. However, if I were a Texan, I'd have serious issue with my tax dollars going to pay for a $360 vaccine for a disease that is only transmitted through sexual contact. Your girls are not going to pick up HPV on the playground.

Most physician offices do not stock gardasil because of its price, and the Medicaid reimbursement is much less than the cost of the vaccine . Most private insurance plans do not yet pay for Gardisil.

Add to that the fact that Merck contributed to Rick Perry's election campagin and that he has financial interest in Merck Pharmaceuticals, and this whole thing stinks to high heaven.

And yeah, when my daughter is old enough, she'll get the vaccine. But it will be MY choice.

Teresa said...

I am not a big fan of being told to do anything, but they make us get a vaccine for Chicken Pox and that can't kill you. I am happy that I don't have a daughter. Such a hard decision.

Dazd said...

All the comments have excellent points. I appreciate you taking the time.

I will be doing a follow-up post on this topic soon with allot of these comments developing the structure.

More info and debates to come. Stay tuned!

Lisa W. said...

How can they possibly know what the long-term effects are at this point? Thalidomide was fine for morning sickness, wasn't it? Until they figured out what the hell it was doing to the babies.

Government should NOT be mandating this in my opinion.