Monday, February 12, 2007

Should the HPV Vaccine be Mandatory?

Most cervical cancer is connected to the human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted disease that causes 70% of all cervical cancers and creates genital warts. Recently a vaccine was developed which would innoculate any young women against HPV. It's the first vaccine that claims to prevent cancer, by targeting a virus.

The controversy which is brewing surrounds a question of parental "choice". There are parents who are crying out against the vaccine, claiming that they raised their daughters properly, so their daughters will have no need of such a vaccine. Really? Are you willing to bet her life on the chance that she will never make one mistake?

In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry chose to make it mandatory. In 2 years, all girls at a certain young age will have to have the vaccine unless their parents choose to opt out due to "reasons of conscience". Is that option available to Jehovah's Witnesses? Since Jehovah's Witnesses are not allowed to prevent their children from having blood transfusions, should these parents be allowed to make such a life-and-death decision for their daughters?

And what if your daughter is as pure as the driven snow, waits to have sex until she's married, and gets infected on her wedding night by a man who has HPV? What if it isn't caught in time, because she's certain that she's "been a good girl" so she believes there's no chance of contracting any STDs?

The vaccine should be mandatory, and no parent should be allowed to keep their daughter from obtaining it.


Matt said...

I love how social conservatives use disease to enforce morals. There's an unholy alliance between social conservatives and these viruses, which scientists classify as things that are neither living nor non-living.

My stance on vaccinations are that they're fine as long as they don't pose a significant risk to the individual.... No man is an island.

R2K said...

I think the government needs to decide on basic issues like this: there need to be federal standards for healthcare (including vaccinations), for education, food quality, work conditions. Call me a commie-nazi-liberal, but I think our government should be strong in these certain essential areas. So I agree. The idea that keeping kids from knowing about sex or keeping them from getting condoms will stop having sex is just dumb. We know that doesn't work. Sex is natural among teenagers. It is going to happen no matter how much it makes Jesus cry. All we can do it educate and protect.

Ed Abbey said...

I'm undecided yet on this issue but I've been leaning the other way. My reasoning is that this is different than other mandatory vaccines like polio because this isn't and can't eradicate the disease. Because the disease for now will always be present among us, at least in males, I think it should be an issue for the parents to decide and not the government.

With little for complications, I would probably give it to my daughter once she understood the ramifications of premiscious sex.

Edge said...

I don't have a problem with this whatsoever. Why? I'll explain with a question.

If there was a vaccine for breast cancer, would you get it?

If you could eradicate a killer disease by getting people vaccinated, would you?

You see, we focus too much on HOW the disease COULD be spread and not on proptecting ourselves from the disease.

So, I find it interesting there is so much debate. People want to turn this into a "personal choice" debate or a debate on letting teenage girls have sex.

To me, this is like debating whether the polio vaccine is moral or not.


Paul said...

I disagree 1,000%. This is an adult decision--by the recipient only! Not her parents; not her school administrators; not her governor; not anybody else. (None of them have lined up yet, I bet).

Hey, if you can't legislate morality, how you gonna legislate health? And what about the men? Don't they get any kind of consideration. Is anyone working on a vaccine for them? They get it, too, or else it wouldn't be an SDT, would it?

Ed, up there, has it right: this vaccine, as good as it is, won't eradicate the disease.

I'm pretty much "Pro-Perry," but in this case I'm making an exception.

Senor Caiman said...


This is exactly why I have sex with a poster.

You just can't be too careful.

Excellent post.

The Lazy Iguana said...

This is just plain stupid. Really. The Governor of Texas is right.

Nobody bitches about mandatory measles shots. Or any of the other mandatory shots. But this shot is for a disease spread by SEX! EWWWWW! Evil nasty sinful devil induced SEX! People are so friggin stupid that they thing their daughter will turn into a whore just because ONE of many sexually transmitted diseases MAY be prevented.

And the issue of giving it to pre-teen girls? So? It is best to give the shot before they have sex. And if you are worried your 11 year old daughter will turn into a slut, simply do not tell her what the shot of for. Lie. Tell her it is for something else. Like for example "you missed a measles booster". See?!?! No problem!

If this shot were for ANY other form of cancer, there would be no controversy. People would be lined up to get the shot for their kids.

And this is NOT about what the parents believe. This is NOT about the parents at all. This is about the child getting the shot, and what is best for her. So when a parent opts out of the shot (for the child, NOT for them) and the child gets cervical cancer later in life - then what? How do you tell someone "you know, I opted out of getting the cervical cancer shot for you because it was contrary to my religious views. But now that you have it, I will pray for your recovery!"

And exactly WHERE in the Bible does it say "and then Jesus said onto the multitude thou shall not get a cervical cancer vaccine, for sex is dirty and evil"?

KristieD said...

i totally agree with you on this. in fact, just last night my mom and i were talking about this. Fact is: people are going to have sex. and HPV is rampant these days. i have heard estimates ranging from 70-90% of young adults are already infected with this virus and most of them will never have any kind of outbreak to let them know they have it and therefore will just keep spreading it. Using a condom doesnt even provide full protection from that virus because it only takes skin-to-skin contact, not bodily fluids.

Your example is excellent: a virgin getting married to a non-virgin...why shouldn't she have the protection against it? You can never be too safe. What happens if you get raped? Just because you are a good girl wont protect you from picking up whatever diseases some slime bag might be carrying.

It's a preventative measure against cancer, for god's sake. No matter what we do (or dont do) kids are not going to start abstainting from sex, and it shouldn't even be about that.

Good post!! it definitely got me going!

Lee Ann said...

...and sometimes, no matter how good you think your relationship is with your daughter, they are not exactly who you think they are!
How many times do you see that scenario on tv in one of the medical shows!

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I am as conservative as folks get, but in this case I am on the governor's side. Try to get a kid in school without the right shots. The same kinds of folks that want to limit these shots are probably the same ones that want to sent their kids to school without DTP shots (My sister had whooping cough, I would wish that on any parent who would keep his/her kid not get the shots.

Emma Sometimes said...

I disagree.

It shouldn't be mandatory. This drug doesn't wipe out but *four* of the *thirty* strains, if you are not yet the 75% of the people that get infected.

How can a woman, in one breath, say she has the right to choose to kill her unborn child with "it's my body" and yet, believe that women should be required to take this shot that is grossly under studied and not fully effective.

You say, "Are you willing to bet her life on the chance that she will never make one mistake?"

The CDC website itself states that one in every 1,000 women infected with HPV strains get cancer. If 75% of the population is already infected, why aren't we all dropping like flies from cancer?

The Guardasil (HPV) vaccine holds off only some of the viruses and for how long? Shooting your body full of drugs isn't the answer. Ask any Thalidomide affected adult. More needs to be done and researched.

This in my opinion is just another lovely idea brought to you by our government bankrolling yet another pharmaceutical company.

Good post, Saur.

Anonymous said...

i completely disagree. it is an infringement on our rights to have a shot forced on us, whoever we are. no one knows the long term side effects of those vaccines, and in all reality the benefits may not outweight the risks at this point. it is dangerous to allow government more control over our lives. sex is a choice, so also should vaccines be.

Cranky Yankee said...

...and the best one liner in this debate goes to the Lazy Iguana for his hilarious take on biblical silliness,

"And exactly WHERE in the Bible does it say "and then Jesus said onto the multitude thou shall not get a cervical cancer vaccine, for sex is dirty and evil"? "

Paul said...

C. Yankee and L. Iguana got it all wrong. This isn't about Jesus or the Bible. This is about Gov. Rick Perry. Don't read something into this that ain't been put there.

I like Emma's comment. Intelligence there!

Cranky Yankee said...

paul - How do you know my stance on the issue? My point in the comment, that went over your head, was that there are valid reason for not taking this vaccine but the bible isn't one of them. LI pointed that out well in that one line.

The efficacy of the medicine notwithstanding, rejecting public vaccination on libertarian grounds is as silly as doing so for religious reasons.

Bryan said...

I'm against it being mandatory. Here's why:

Here is an example of a letter that can be used to voice your position concerning mandating the vaccination of 11-12 yr. old girls with the new HPV vaccine. After you have read this letter and checked out the links below i believe you'll be concerned abouth the rush to use this vaccine.

Dear Senators of the Rules Committee:

Please be advised that I oppose Senator Constance Johnson’s bill requiring the mandatory vaccination of 6th grade girls for the human papillomavirus, otherwise known as HPV. My reasons are as follows:

(1) There are many negative effects to Gardasil (the vaccine for HPV). The Washington Times reports that side effects range from loss of consciousness to seizures. Young Oklahoma girls will be putting their physical and mental well being at risk if the state forces this vaccine onto them. Medical professionals even caution against required vaccination.

(2) There are so many strands of HPV and the vaccine only helps fight against less than a handful; it is not a cure-all for cancer.

(3) Mandating the HPV vaccine will only encourage young girls to participate in unhealthy behaviors.

(4) The mandate will help Merck, the creators of Gardasil, make billions of dollars if all states, including Oklahoma, enact similar legislation. This is nothing more than a get-rich-quick scheme that will rob the Oklahoma taxpayer blind. GlaxoSmithKline is also coming up with a similar vaccination and will likely enter the game of “who can profit from the taxpayers first.”

(5) Merck, by and through the Women in Government organization, launched a large lobbying campaign to convince all states to enact legislation mandating the vaccination. Senator Johnson’s name appears on a list of Women in Government members.

It is clear that those who support this legislation are not adequately informed on the matter. Therefore, I invite you to further investigate this issue beginning with the resources provided below. I also ask that you reject SB 487 and any similar mandates that come before your Committee, as such puts the almighty dollar ahead of the best interest of the child.

Please know that others who may have an interest in this legislation will receive a copy of this letter.


M. Lyn Rahman

Tulsa, Oklahoma


*The Washington Times published an article stating, in part, that:

“Negative side effects of Gardasil, a new Merck vaccine to prevent the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer, are being reported in the District of Columbia and 20 states, including Virginia. The reactions range from loss of consciousness to seizures.”


*Doctors believe Governor Perry’s mandate is premature:

Dr. Patricia Sulak, a professor of obstetrics-gynecology at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, said health-care providers she knows were shocked by the order. "It's such a new vaccine — they haven't had time to explain it to patients," said Sulak.


* TX Representative Zerwas, also a doctor, issued a press release with the following statement:

“…though HPV does present some serious health risks for women if left untreated, it does not present the same level of public health hazard as do the measles, mumps, rubella, and whooping cough. There is a reason why vaccines for these other illnesses are mandated: they are contagious diseases that can be transmitted by virtue of an infected child walking in a classroom and breathing. As in real estate, location matters here because the HPV cannot be transmitted without sexual activity – and, therefore, does not constitute a public health threat to Texas’ schoolchildren while in the classroom.”

*How would the State know if girls required to be vaccinated are pregnant? TX Senator Hegar asked the same thing.


*OBGYN Questions Gardasill

*American College of Pediatricians Statement on HPV Vaccination

*Medical Institute’s Statement on Mandatory HPV Vaccination

*GlaxoSmithKline works on a vaccine similar to Merck’s

“For now, [Merck] has a monopoly on the HPV vaccine market. Another vaccine, Cervarix, is being developed by GlaxoSmithKline and could be approved later this year.”


*Women in Government Roster

*Women in Government push for HPV Vaccination

Anonymous said...

thats some good information there. kids will be joining the dead, killed from the mandatory air bags that we had forced on us. the ones that come flying out at a crash of only 15mph and snap peoples necks off. we do not need more mandatory "saving", where big business will profit AND cause more deaths.

Anonymous said...


This website summarizes 300 United States court cases and lawsuits affecting children of Jehovah's Witnesses, including dozens of cases where the Parents refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions:


This website summarizes 160 United States court cases and lawsuits filed by Jehovah's Witnesses against Employers: