There may be some wacky chatter between walleyed politicians. There may be concerns the Mirada Cosgrove is ushering in a new era of free love. There may be widespread conviction that our governmental institutions are staffed by overpaid, underworked, slacking remora.
But there is no Gardasil controversy.
After human trials on almost 30,000 people, Gardasil was approved by the FDA for prevention of infection by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) more than five years ago. Its use is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the World Health Organization — which notes that the cervical cancers caused by HPV are the second greatest cause of female mortality due to cancer in the world.
There is no clinical evidence of any side effects beyond a sore arm and dizziness. There are plenty of people that have reported additional side effects to the CDC (anyone can). There have been people who have died in the period after they were given the vaccine (everyone will, eventually). But there is no established linkage.
16,000 women a year are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States.
Yes, the vaccine is marketed by Merck. Big mega-corp drug company. They stand to make a boatload of cash if states were to adopt mandatory vaccination laws. I’m thinking that’s how the system is supposed to work, right? When you invent a vaccine that can save thousands of lives?
I supported Rick Perry’s efforts to mandate Gardasil vaccination in our state, and found the far-right uprising against his executive order to be a deliciously ironic Faustian moment. But tragic. A group of parents that somehow escaped from the set of “Footloose” felt that the vaccine might promote promiscuity. Try picturing the mind of a teenager. Now picture a teenager contemplating becoming sexually active. Now picture the deciding factors, in order. Where do those shots she got when she was eleven rank in significance. Seriously?
I’m pro-vax to begin with and feel that handing out free condoms and clean needles at health clinics, teaching sex education beginning in the fifth grade, and Gardasil vaccinations are a good idea. To oppose Gardisil seems completely wacky to me. Some may feel that the government has no business making this decision for them which is fine with me as long as they decide to get their little tea partiers vaxed before they go spreading their kooties all over the church retreat.
This is not some kind of radical, unproven method of disease prevention. It is not a corporate conspiracy, or a government conspiracy, or a Zionist/World Health Organization conspiracy. It’s just good pubic health policy. And isn’t that one thing that the government should be around to do?
I have a daughter, and, yes, she will. My sons, too, as soon as our lame insurance company wakes up.
[Update: In response to this post, someone forwarded me a article -- not linking, sorry -- that claimed to have compiled over 100 entries in medical journals showing the dangerous side effects of vaccinations. At first it was a discouraging list. I read a couple of the articles, and found they were both about a vaccine no longer on the market. A quick lap through this list revealed that over 70% of the listed articles were over 30 years old. Many of the vaccines studied were no longer on the market. And all vaccines currently on the AAP schedule have been reformulated in the last 15 years. The list was intimidating and frightening, and mostly irrelevant. A good reminder about the ol interweb and what can be found there.]