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Published:February 7th, 2007 18:22 EST
No Mandate for Gardasil in WV

No Mandate for Gardasil in WV

By Brandon Jennings

Why Mandating the HPV Vaccine is a bad idea

Texas Governor Rick Perry signed an executive order February 3, mandating that Gardasil be required for girls before entering the sixth grade. It is now known that Perry has ties to Merck, the creator of Gardasil.

There has been a push by legislator`s in the state of West Virginia to do the same. They were not bold enough to ask Governor Manchin for an executive order; however, when people in the position to make a bill like this even consider mandatory vaccination, the only explanation is ignorance.

When, Dr. James Gately, said his daughters have begun the vaccination treatment he was no tsaying that everyone should be forced to do it. But even if he were a proponent for mandatory vaccination would that mean the opinion of other experts should be dismissed? it is wise to listen to the opinions of many doctors on a subject before putting a bill into motion. It seems that not ten minutes after the drug was released the legislature was moving for mandatory vaccination. Was there a fire in the building? There was a Delegate missing for eleven months and he is only now being called on it. What was in the coffee the day Gardasil was FDA approved that got the legislature moving?

There is something seriously foul at work when the state is willing to risk the health of every young girl in a second but give one man 11 months to let th other members of the house of delegates know he is having family problems, or he is sick. But because it is now mandatory to assume the ignorance of the legislature is so high on the subject of cervical cancer and its relationship with the Human Papillomavirus, it is fitting to enlighten everyone.

The four types of HPV that Gardasil vaccinates against cause 70 percent of cervical cancer. This is a wonderful invention, and it can do the world a lot of good. Women typically get cervical cancer between the ages of 35 and 55, and last year there were 3600 deaths from about 11,000 cases of cervical cancer in the United States.

Although that death rate is quite high, it was  much higher before the Pap test became available. And since then, 11 percent of the women in the US report that they do not receive regular Pap tests. This is alarming because if detected early cervical cancer can be removed and in many cases the woman can retain her fertility. So what does this mean?

            It means a lot of things. It means that for around $50 to $60 a year a woman can get a full exam and Pap smear that will let her know if she has cervical cancer or not. And by doing regular exams she will be more likely to catch the disease in its early stages. But some might say that by having taken the vaccine one can rest assured that they don`t have the disease "wrong. There are still types of cervical cancer that can occur even if the vaccine is taken.

So initially a woman will have to pay $360 for three doses of the vaccine, and also about $50 a year for exams. If a girl takes the vaccine at the age of 12, then she will have added protection from cervical cancer, but for how long? There have been no long term tests done to see how long the vaccine will last. If women begin the vaccine at age 12 and most cases of cervical cancer don`t occur until 35 years of age, how many booster shots at $120 will they need?

To top all this off it must be made clear that this discussion is about if the girls are having sex. If they choose to abstain, they won`t be exposed to the virus anyway. So why should they have to take a vaccine that provides them  with no benefit? An argument against this may be that you have to take the measles vaccine, but you aren`t exposed to that. But the reason you have to take the measles vaccine is because they don`t want everyone in the school getting the disease. Furthermore, the reason you aren`t exposed to it is because roughly 97 percent of the population is vaccinated against it. Measles can be spread through casual contact; whereas, HPV requires sexual contact to spread. That is a big difference.

It is important to understand the gravity of a suggestion like mandatory vaccination. There were 11,000 cases of cervical cancer last year. Because statistics state that 70 percent of cervical cancer is caused by HPV that means 7700 of those cases were related to HPV. If the number is rounded up to 36 percent of the 11,000 women who died, using strict statistics once again means of the 7700 cases caused by HPV nearly 2800 women died of cervical cancer related to HPV.

In the U.S., lung cancer caused nearly 70,000 deaths in women alone. There is a wide array of cancers that are associated with smoking, and guess what; cervical cancer is one of them. But not one person is writing an executive order for women to quit smoking when nearly seven times as many women die just from lung cancer. It wouldn`t be an executive order telling women to put something that could potentially harm them into their body. It would be an order telling them to stop a habit that is harming them. But perhaps it is more of an infringement on personal freedoms to tell people they can`t do something than it is to tell them they must do something.   

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