HPV Vaccine Examined in the Boston Globe

The Boston Globe ran a story on the HPV vaccine on Monday. If you've been following the HPV debate you'll already know that critics think the vaccine (which can protect against some strains of HPV and in turn protect against contracting cervical cancer) will make teens more promiscuous. But as one of the doctor's interviewed for the article says, "If we have a safe and effective way to prevent a particularly prevalent form of cancer, then why wouldn't we do that?"

Highlights after the jump.

"What I will probably do is point out that last year alone, more people died of cervical cancer, which was pretty much directly produced by Human Papillomavirus, than were killed in 9/11," said Watson, president of Pediatrics West, a private practice with offices in Concord, Westwood, and Groton.

"I'll probably focus on the fact that the vaccine prevents cervical cancer in my sell, and not on the fact that this prevents a sexually transmitted disease," said Dr. Joseph Hagan, a Burlington, Vt., pediatrician active in the American Academy of Pediatrics. "You know why? Because my Dad sold insurance, and I know what to emphasize and what not to emphasize."

Parents, too, say they might not get into awkward questions of sexuality. In general, said Lynn Randall of Concord, whose daughters are 12 and 15, when one of her girls gets a shot, "We're not telling her what she's being vaccinated against; usually it's just a shot to her -- one of many shots she gets in her pediatrician's visits."

Irene Freidel , of Littleton said that if her 11-year-old daughter, Claire, were vaccinated tomorrow, she would most likely tell the girl only that "it was something that was going to protect her, like any other vaccination, and is good for her health."

"I adore my daughter more than anything in the world," she said, "and I can't predict what she's going to do as a teenager, what risks she's going to be exposed to. To me, this is just extra protection."

"Most parents will be eager to have their daughters vaccinated against HPV as long as they know they're sending the right preventive messages: that they still need to practice safe sexual behaviors, postpone sexual initiation as long as possible," and the like, Kahn said.

Nonwhites and those with poor access to healthcare stand to benefit the most from the vaccine because they are the least likely to get annual Pap smears and follow-up care after a problematic test, said Dr. Elizabeth Garner, a gynecological oncologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital.Yet they are precisely the people who will have the hardest time getting access to the vaccine and getting the full dosage, she said.

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Hello, I disagree with blind support for the HPV vaccine! I sat in on the hearings for a mandatory Gardisil law in VA. It was disturbing to watch the legislature mandate an expensive series of injections by the makers of deadly Vioxx, although Gardisil only had been tested for a mere 6 months! Merck wanted to order every girl in the Commonwealth, regardless of her health, sexual orientation, or future life to submit to these injections that could directly impact her Constitutional right to bear children! Not to mention the potential unknown and long-term side-effects that could seriously impair her right to life, liberty, and happiness!...
Research data now shows that vaccine additives may be causing the epidemic of autism. Also, data proves that women's reproductive health and delicate endocrine and immune systems are at the mercy of chemical pollutants! Who knows what this vaccine, which specifically targets such delicately balanced organs, could do in each individual young woman?!!
I was outraged. I thought this bill infringed on a citizen's privacy rights to determine your own sexual practices and exposures per your own consent. It also totally infringed on privacy rights to parent as you see fit. Moreover, the children are not presently, involuntarily facing such risk at school or ever would, necessarily, so that vitiates the police powers rationale for public safety.
NOW I see more and more reports about neurological disorders and fatalities after administration of Gardisil! That is not acceptable!! What are we doing to young, innocent girls at the behest of a corporation that still faces massive financial liability for the Vioxx massacre?!
At the hearings, I also learned that this vaccine does not even address about 10 strains of HPV, some of which may cause cervical cancer. In addition, I learned that you can carry any variety of HPV in your body for life with no adverse effects! Cancer only arises (in any organ) if the patient has a compromised immune system and bad luck. As a result, these odds and the ongoing questions about Gardisil DO NOT justify the blanket risks to millions of kids!!
I hope that the ACLU will reconsider their position for the sake of an entire generation of girls and any future generations they may wish to bear. I think this vaccination law is overreaching and dangerous, if not outright insulting, to women.

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