2.03.2007

What's next, chastity belts?

Texas Governor Rick Perry has decided that he is the ultimate authority on what's good for the eleven and twelve year old girls of his state. In his ultimate wisdom, Supreme Leader Perry has issued a decree that all girls entering the sixth grade in the dictatorship of Texas must now be vaccinated with Gardisil.

Let's get something straight. I'm all for vaccinating your children. My kids were vaccinated by age two against all the childhood illnesses and I get them flu shots every year. What I'm against here is the forced use of a vaccine that is (1) the most costly and least insured vaccine to date and (2) is so new to the market that no one really knows what the long term side effects may actually be.

Gardisil is produced by Merck Pharmacuticals and according to the Gardisil website:
"GARDASIL may not fully protect everyone and does not prevent all types of cervical cancer, so it is important to continue regular cervical cancer screenings."

It also says: "GARDASIL is the only vaccine that may help guard against diseases that are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) Types 6, 11, 16, and 18..."

Let's review shall we? Gardasil MAY help protect SOME people against SOME types of HPV.

Yes,oh ye who will jump on me and pound me with large blunt objects, I understand that SOME protection may be better than none. Yes, I realize that cancer kills people and that protecting against it, especially if there is a history of cervical cancer could be a wonderfull thing. I'm against the forced vaccination of ALL young girls with an unproven vaccine.

Before you start in with the "Well the FDA approved it..." speech, let's revisit the Fen-Phen dibocal and who can forget the Thalidomide babies? These are drugs the FDA approved for use, so they obviously aren't infalible. Some drugs do have side-effects that show up only after long-term use in the general population. Drug tests, while a good guard against bad side-effects, are not a promise that there are none.

As a grown woman, I have the ability to do research, ask questions, make an informed choice. As children, these girls don't...they are simply being forced to comply and their ability to get an education is hinged on that compliance. Their parents, who can help make an informed decision, aren't being given a choice. Merck, in my opinion is playing on a parents fear of losing their child. Even worse, playing on societies general fear of cancer as a whole.

They can't force women to take this vaccine. They would never be able to pass a law forcing women over the age of 18 to get vaccinated, so why force our chidren too?

If Merck were able to say 100% that anyone taking this vaccine would NEVER get cervical cancer, I might get on board. But they can't say that. They can't even say that it will protect against the four strains they have listed. It's a crap shoot at this point.

I can only hope that some parent in Texas will stand up and force the issue of legality in forcing this vaccine on the young girls in that state.

3 comments:

Suzanne said...

Incidentally, Perry's chief of staff is on Merck's board. And if Texas is so interested in protecting young women from STDs and their long term consequences, perhaps instead of vaccinating girls against HPV, they might offer comprehensive sex education.

Suzanne said...

Also, there's a great post over at blogher.org on this...

viciousrumours said...

EXACTLY!!! How about instead of shooting little girls that aren't even HAVING sex yet, we teach those same girls good self-esteem, educate them about their bodies and then help them have the power and the confidence to make wise decisions.

Oh wait, we're talking about politicians here.