Mandatory Testing for Cervical Cancer for Pre-Teen Girls? I Don’t Think So!

I’m Against Mandatory Cervical-Cancer Vaccine for Pre-teen Girls: It makes sense to me to require school children to have immunization to measles, chicken pox and polio, because these are highly contagious diseases readily spread in a classroom or schoolyard setting. However, mandating immunization of American school girls for HPV (human papilloma virus), transmitted sexually, as a requirement for attending public or private schools is patently outrageous and should be fought tooth and nail by every parent in America.

HPV is responsible for genital warts and most cases of cervical cancer. However, this vaccine protects against only four strains of HPV that cause 70% of cervical cancer cases. That means, all women still need regular PAP smears to detect cancerous cells caused by other HPV strains.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 11, 150 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer, and 3,670 will die in the U.S. this year. That is equivalent to 0.77% of cancer diagnosed in the U.S. and 0.65% of U.S. cancer deaths each year; while almost 180,000 American women will get diagnosed with breast cancer this year and over 40,000 will die.

Of the more than 25,000 patients who participated in clinical trials, only 1,184 were pre-teen girls. Certainly, that is not enough of a population to determine dosage and long term effects of the vaccine, Gardasil, on children- who notoriously respond uniquely to drugs of many kinds.

Since its release last June, 82 adverse effects have been reported, ranging from nausea and fever or rashes, to fainting spells.

Last and not least is the fact that this vaccine is being produced and marketed by one company only, Merck. The company has been aggressively lobbying states to make this vaccine mandatory, which will be a profit windfall for them.

Eighty percent of cervical cancer cases occur in developing countries. It seems to me that bringing the vaccine to these poor cultures would be more benevolent…but less profitable.

So far, the states that are considering making HPV vaccination mandatory for pre-teen girls, or have already mandated it are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

Make sure you opt out due to reasons of religion or conscience. If that is not possible – home school.

It just appears to me that this legislation is more about Merck profits and liberal sexual politics than the well-being of our children. The government does have the obligation to intercede for the public good. Explain to me why the government protects names and infection status of HIV (a virtual epidemic in this world) infected persons from their spouses, or sex partners but imagines it is in the public interest to basically force and test nine year old children for a disease for which there is minimal risk?

The answer is somewhere between politics and corporate politics.

*My thanks to John Carreyrou in WSJ (February 7, 2007) for the statistical information.