October 4, 2007

Turning my stomach

I advocate strongly for mandatory HPV vaccines for all pre-teen girls (and after the trial gets done, boys). The vaccine prevents the type of HPV that causes 80% of the cases of cervical cancer, a disease that afflicts 12,000 young women every year in the United States and kills a quarter of them. The vaccine is expensive still but is totally worth the cost.

Despite the common sense of this, conservatives have made it a mission to prevent mandatory vaccinations because they feel that it will encourage young women to become sluts. How a good little girl will turn into a raging nympho because of 3 shots isn't really clear but damned if they care if it makes any sense. Additionally, some liberals are ostensibly opposed to it because its new and they don't like big Pharma but I've got the feeling there's a little puritan fear in most of them as well. All this is brought up in an article on Slate.com in which the author makes a very good point:

"...fears about the health risks of Gardasil have obscured the hidden moral calculus of the conservative opposition to Gardasil: that in the end, it may be worth it for several thousand women to die from cervical cancer every year as collateral damage in the war against premarital teen sex. Because, of course, even if the vaccination did encourage promiscuity, it's not clear that it's OK for women to die as a result."

Reading that made my stomach turn. It states the real moral balancing act that is being performed by conservatives who oppose Gardisil.

Apparently the idea of human sacrifice isn't so foreign to Christians after all.

Matthew 5:46-48: "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."


J at www.jellyjules.com said...

We've been waiting, to make sure it's safe first...we did the same with chicken pox vaccination. She's 11, so we can wait a year or two, and be OK.

I need to do some more research..I read somewhere that the vaccine protects girls for 'at least 4 years'...WTF does that mean? In 4 years she'll need more shots? Every 4 years? If true, it's still well worth it, but I just wonder if that is indeed true, and if so, why aren't we hearing more about booster shots, etc.

Like I said, I need to read up on this. I'm totally 100% for it, though, once I see it's safe. And I'm totally for boys being vaccinated, too.

Eric said...


Nice to see someone else reads my occasional blog!

According to the CDC, there have been no serious side effects out of 11,000 women tested with the most common side effect being soreness at the injection site. That of course is a normal side effect for any vaccination.

One thing that makes the HPV vaccine safer than the chicken pox vaccination (which is also very safe) is that the HPV vaccine does not use a live virus meaning there is no risk of accidental infection like with chicken pox. That again is an immensely unlikely occurrence with the CP vaccine but it's impossible with the HPV vaccine. Additionally, HPV vaccine does not contain mercury or the mercury derivative that some parents feel is harmful (although after 50 years of vaccinations no study has shown that to be the case). In fact as of this year I believe, no vaccines contain mercury or mercury derivatives in the US.

I researched the 4 years issue (the CDC now says 5 years apparently). The reason is that the studies for effectiveness have only lasted that long. There is no significant drop off in effectiveness up to the 4 or 5 year mark so presumably it will last a decent amount longer. So no, she will not need a booster after 4 years although its possible they might recommend one later as the effectiveness studies continue.

I hope all that helps with your research and decision. I hope we get to talk more in the future!

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

Thanks Eric! My barometer for vaccinations is often my pediatrician...she has a good head on her shoulders, and has a daughter about the same age as my daughter. I'll ask her, 'have you given your daughter this vaccination yet?" and she's say, 'yes' or 'no' or 'still arguing about it with my husband', and when she's done it, I feel safer doing it too. Quite the lemming, aren't I?