Sunday, April 15, 2007

Parents, politicians spar over vaccine

Vaccination is usually best when in the public interest, but the HPV vaccine is making our modern day mullahs nervous.

JS Online: Parents, politicians spar over vaccine:

"'The speed at which we're moving from FDA approval to state mandate is unprecedented,' Vukmir said. Medical providers should take time to see potential problems and side effects that weren't picked up in FDA testing, she said."
Ms. Vukmir is wrong. There are perfectly good precedents for this vaccine, like polio, smallpox, and TB.

What's interesting is that she leaves the real question unanswered: does the state have a compelling interest in making sure everyone gets this vaccine? That's thornier. But Rep. Vukmir has shifted ground from reasonable argument to instead curry fear by suggesting the process is moving too fast (when "At least 50% of people who have had sex will have HPV at some time in their lives" from the FDA's Office of Women's Health) or by arguing that giving people the vaccine will simply encourage people to have "irresponsible sex" as she argued against emergency birthcontrol. This seems to be grounded more in her commitment to the social engineering of our morality than in either science or reasonable argument.

The argument I'd like to hear is whether HPV is sufficiently analogous to the other dangerous diseases to warrant the same kind of treatment by the public health department. This opens up the more important, and less ideologically motivated question of when there is or is not a public interest sufficiently important for the government to require everyone to do something [like polio, the draft, or duck and cover drills in the schools.]

The real problem, frankly, is that this raises questions about sex and sex always makes the theo-cons twitchy.

But how about this? Kids have to be vaccinated against measles, for heavens sake, and measles do not cause cervicle cancer. Why on earth would any parent resist protecting their daughters against a disease they are very likely to contract?


1 comment:

plague teacher Chicago said...

When your little girl grows up and gets cervical cancer, it will be too late because there is no cure. And that would be a real shame now that it is easier to prevent cancer than to cure it. If we had said we could prevent cancer with a vaccine 10 years ago, people would not have believed it possible. And now that it is possible, people are opting not to get their children vaccinated because they cannot see their little angels ever having sex. Its like we are spoiled by the luxury of choice. And besides, the odds are really good that your kid will grow up and have sex with someone who has had sex with someone else therefore placing them at risk for HPV-related cancer. IF you could prevent your children from getting lung cancer by using a vaccine, would you hesitate because you would say, "my child will never smoke"?