I know I'm so late to this discussion, but I'm wondering what people think of the various political moves around the HPV vaccine, Gardasil.
This is the vaccine that will, as an effect of protecting against HPV, protect against a large percentage of cervical cancer incidents. Not every single strain of it, but about 70%. Since HPV is a sexually transmitted virus (and a very very common one) the idea is to vaccinate girls before they are sexually active.
Some state governors are taking steps to get their population of girls vaccinated. The Governor of Texas signed an executive order to make giving it to girls mandatory...before sixth grade. The Governor of Washington is buying quantities of the vaccine in bulk, so it can be offered for free.
Now, one objection that isn't hard to predict is from the conservative/religious right...who believe this will encourage girls to be more sexually active.
Another objection is that this really benefits Gardasil's manufacturer, Merck, and that in particular Texas Governor Rick Perry has some ties to Merck, so is all this supposed "action" really just financially motivated?
And does the vaccine have enough history for us to really know it's perfectly safe?
So, I'm not a mom, but my immediate thoughts are: yeah, I would have my daughter vaccinated. You could say the same thing about long-term safety about any drug or treatment released to the public, but no one does say it until they want to shoot something down. I think the argument about encouraging sexual activity is ridiculous. Our teens seem to be leading the world in sexual activity without protection from disease, so I doubt this vaccine will send the rest of the them over the edge.
Then again, even if it did, I might make that trade-off anyway. Eliminating 70% of cervical cancers sounds unbelievably dramatic, don't you think?
Well, what do you think?