Wednesday, February 07, 2007

State Senators Weigh in on HPV Vaccine

In the firestorm that erupted since Governor Perry ordered mandatory vaccination of girls with Gardasil, (the human papilloma virus vaccine to prevent cervical cancer), 31 State Senators have requested Perry to rescind his order. Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, has taken the lead on this issue.
The letter, originated by Lewisville Republican Jane Nelson, says that Perry should wait until lawmakers have a chance to examine the issue and perhaps enact legislation before the policy is implemented. Nelson and others have said Perry’s action puts the state government in a role that would be better left to parents......

Nelson has also asked Attorney General Greg Abbott to examine the legality of Perry’s order and whether it requires the Legislature to appropriate money. The appropriation of state money is a legislative prerogative.

There is some good rationale on each side of this debate, but there is also a great deal of political posturing going on right now. Rather than try to sort it all out, read Off the Kuff's rebuttal and Rep. Jessica Farrar's letter, or catch Farrar's YouTube broadcast on Musings.

Former Democratic candidate for Governor, Chris Bell, has expressed his support of Perry's decision.

If young women don't get this vaccine now, hundreds of them will get cervical cancer and die. HPV causes cervical cancer, and the FDA has approved this vaccine and says it can prevent about 70% of cervical cancers that led to 391 deaths in Texas in 2006 alone. This is why the Center for Disease Control and the American Cancer Society recommend that all young women aged 11-12 get vaccinated, and it's why I called for this same action during the campaign.

It is worth noting that there is no thimerosal or mercury in the HPV vaccine. Mercury was removed from most vaccines after concerns were raised about a possible link between thimerosal and the development of autism.

4 comments:

Bradley Bowen said...

I can see why some people are worried, but this is a win for Texas girls. People want to hate this idea because Merck benefited from it and because Perry enforced it.

People can say what they want, but I think many would have had opposite reactions had Bell been elected and enforced the same ruling.

Brian said...

It may be a good vaccine.
The governor has no right to make it mandatory.
It should be up to the individual to decide. The fact that Perry bypassed the state legislature is reprehensible. The fact that he admittedly did so because he knew the directive would not pass is disgusting.
The fact that Merck is a major contributor to Perry's campaign is criminal.
What's next an executive order that mandates kids to do 100 push-ups a day?

This issue has nothing to do with the health of Texas girls. It has to do with the government telling you it can run your life.

Why don't we just start calling this the USSR?

L. said...

"What's next an executive order that mandates kids to do 100 push-ups a day?"

No, there's no profit in that...the next mandate will surely have something to do with an obesity drug or a test for ADD ...you know, something that is still under patent.

I am all for women's health and all for preventing any unintended consequences of sexual activity. And I think if females of any age want to take the vaccine, it should be made available to them providing it doesn't create a greater health risk than not taking the vaccine.

If Perry's concern (and Bell's for that matter) is really about public health, why hasn't he mandated the spinal meningitis vaccine? Spinal meningitis is deadly and highly contagious. Hmmm, maybe there's not much profit margin in that vaccine? But no, he's more concerned with HPV, something you get only by sexual activity--and something under patent by Merck.

As for Bell's support of the mandate,I disagree with him and I resent his labeling those who disagree as being trapped in a partisan shell.
To me, Bell's support of the mandate makes him look like he's the one in the "partisan shell."

Where it doesn't concern highly infectious illness, (something that requires less intimate contact than having sex, for crying out loud!) the government shouldn't try to force a vaccine on people and especially not on their children.

texas toad said...

L.
I agree with you that this issue isn't partisan. There are rational arguments to be made on both sides.

However, I would disagree with your characterization of HPV as not being highly infectious. Eighty percent of all women are infected with HPV by age 50. An epidemiologist would characterize that as endemic.