Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Gardasil issue returns...

The Public Health committee in the Texas House of Reps has voted to override Governor Perry's executive order. Now the entire house should vote on the issue. Public voices are being heard. Another bill is being submitted to re-instate the mandate for the vaccine. Merck is starting to back away, realizing that their intense push for may ultimately prevent them from making huge profits on this, should the mandate be re-instated.

As I have indicated before, I'm not opposed to the vaccine by itself, as something that can potentially protect innocent people (eg. rape victims and those with cheating spouses) against HPV.

I do object to a mandate that is based on the idea that teenagers are incapable of restraint when it comes to their sexuality. I object to requiring a vaccine for school attendance for a virus that cannot be transmitted through any normal, licit, and casual on-campus activity. I object to the clear gender bias here, as HPV can also infect men, and has been linked to prostate cancer (and we should protect our sons and our daughters equally!). And I strenuously object to mandating any vaccine whose long-term effects on pre-pubescent and adolescent children are not yet known.

The bottom line here: Even the medical community, which LOVES preventative medicine, is against mandating this vaccine. What is wrong with following the doctor's orders here until we have more data, and until the vaccine becomes more affordable? Let it remain optional.

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