Folding, spindeling, and mutilating lauguage for fun since Aug, 2004
Tuesday, 29 May 2007

CDC facts about the HPV vaccine.

Here, you can explore the Epidemiology of the various strains of the HPV virus.  Note that strains #s 16 and 18 are the most common strains found in new-borns.  The HPV vaccine covers those strains.  Yet the religious right still opposes the use of the vaccine under the argument that contracting HPV is a “Lifestyle choice”  While a person might make that judgment on the mother, it seems a rather harsh one to make on her innocent infant. (never mind that 1 in 4 women will be raped in their lifetime, and 22% of these will be raped under the age of 12…lifestyle choice?  Who “chooses” to have a spouse cheat (26 – 50% depending on if you buy the conservative estimate or the liberal one) on them and bring an STD home?  

It is estimated that 50% of the sexually active population is infected with HPV at some time in their lives.  It is estimated that 90% of all cervical cancer is caused by HPV, which is the second leading cause of death in women world-wide.  HPV is also implicated in a number of other urogenital cancers which affect men and women…as well as genital warts.

Transmission possibilities include: sexual transmission (most likely) transmission from mother to infant, between children who have been the victims of sexual abuse, and non-sexual contact with infected urogenital secretions ( no confirmed cases, but the possibility exists unlike with some other viruses)

Still, control of this virus on a epidemiological level is portrayed as inconsequential to public health, and the equivalent of heart disease, despite is ubiquity and links to several types of cancer…and despite the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing not only contraction of the virus, but  also in reducing the risks of lesions in already infected women.

Cost is another argument, but estimates on the opposing side merely pit the cost of mandatory vaccination against a single life (the absolute highest I’ve heard in cost per life saved is $1M.  I’ve also heard the cost estimated as low as $81,000 per life saved).  Since estimates of value of lives saved to society are frequently in the multiple millions, it seems fair enough.

After all, Religious Conservatives celebrated the Supreme Court decision that would save an estimated 3,000 unborn recently.  Yet an expected 3,700 women not dying of cervical cancer in the country is considered negligible., and not worthwhile.

They don’t talk about the money saved in pre-cancerous lesions that needn’t be treated, in transmissions that don’t occur.   Plus, those figures fail to mention if they took into account incidences of other potentially fatal and/or life-shortening urogenital cancers which have been linked to HPV (some of them affect men as well).

Add to this the number of different strains of HPV, and the dangers of allowing them to spread unchecked through the population, recombining to create new strains with greater ability for transmission, infection, and a greater possibility of affecting long-term health (risks which would be lowered by control of the virus); and you make a pretty good case for mandatory vaccinations.

Maybe it’s not a slam-dunk, but aspersions about “life-style choice”, and assertions about lowering the resistance of young girls to having sex seems more than a little trivial.

I DID find a JAMA article about mandatory HPV vaccinations.  It recommends against mandatory vaccinations.  Why? Because backlash from the anti-vaccine crowd could politically endanger the mandatory status of already mandatory vaccines.

 Cowards. “Oh, the anti-science people will get us if there’s anything remotely disappointing about the policy.  Run away Run away.”

One of their other arguments is that they haven’t seen suggestions as to who would pay for it.  Although legislation usually covers that…and it really isn’t the purview of the doctors.  Finally, they say that public funding of the vaccine would likely lower the amount of money spent in other areas.  That is an interesting question, and it would be interesting if we could see how public funding of the vaccine for poor people might actually lower the cost of treating conditions caused by HPV.

I notice that all of the objections raised in the JAMA article were political in nature, and not medical nor even went into any depth to really look at the epidemiological effect of mass vaccination.

The JAMA article is in response to the ACIP recommendations for girls 9-12 years of age.

[UPDATE:  I found a reason why the fundies might now rally behind the HPV vaccine.  Apparently, there was a study that showed that it is possible that having the virus might inhibilt the implantation of zygotes into the uterus.  In other words...HPV could cause "abortions".  They won't do it to save women, or babies that are born (since it's a "lifestyle choice") but maybe they will do it to save teh unborn babies]

Tuesday, 29 May 2007 23:49:06 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [21] |  |  | #
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 00:14:09 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
I think that it is irresponsible to not have a child vaccinated when vaccines exist. After reading some of the fact sheets, it looks like anyone could potentially get HPV, though it's more common to be a problem in sexually active females. I think that I would definitely have my daughters vaccinated, had I any, and would keep a close eye on what studies of vaccinated boys show.

Hmm...maybe I should check with my insurance provider and see if they cover the vaccination. I'm just inside the window for which it has been FDA approved.
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 08:06:23 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Without even looking up your numbers for rape statistics, I knew they were bunk. When first reading it, I said to myself, "there is absolutely no way that 1 in 4 women are raped in their lifetime."

Per the RAINN organization (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), your number of 25% of women being raped is way off base.

In 2004-2005 there were 200,780 victims of some type of sexual assault in the US. That equates to one in six, not 1 in 4, or 16%, not 25%.

Of these, 64,080 were completed rape, 51,500 were attempted rape, and 85,210 were sexual assult. This further lowers your numbers.

For the population of the United States in 2004-2005, here are the real numbers.

Completed Rape: 5.106% - 1 in 20
Attempted Rape: 4.096% - 1 in 25
Sexual Assault: 6.790% - 1 in less than 15

Figure in the number of "rapes" that really aren't rape at all and these numbers are even lower. How many high school girls have sex willingly and then report it as rape? And I'm not talking about sex with "older" men, I mean with other high school kids.

"But Mark, these are numbers for just one year. I said lifetime." You're right, the lifetime numbers are over double these numbers for completed rape - yet much lower for attempted rape. So the average stays very much the same. I'm paying attention to the average only because a completed rape is not necessary to transmit HPV, not to minimize the actual numbers.

Per the RAINN organization, one in 5.7 women have been victims of an attempted rape or completed rape in their lifetime.

Here are the lifetime numbers:
Completed Rape: 14.8% - 1 in 6.75
Attempted Rape: 2.8% - 1 in 35.70

One in four, indeed! I'm not buying it. Also - only 15%, not 22%, of victims are under 12 years old. I don't know where you got your statistics, but they have obviously been inflated to make a point. So I tend to question the data in the rest of your post.


I understand you are very passionate about this subject, but use the right terminology when making your case. When mentioning transmission possibilities, you state that sexual transmission is "most likely." While this is true, it is very missleading. The fact is that nearly 100% is by sexual transmission.

Mandatory vaccinations are necessary for diseases and viruses that are contracted through ordinary interaction with the public. That is what is meant as a "public health issue." My children are in absolutely no danger of contracting HPV in this manner. If they were, the vaccinations would not be aimed at girls approaching the age of sexual activity. They would be aimed at all children entering school. This is a huge point! Why, if the risks are so high, would the the age be set to 11 or 12 instead of 6 or 7?

I am very surprised that you are falling for this obvious scam by Merck - "big pharma." They are lobbying Washington very hard to make this mandatory for obvious reasons, and it's not public health! Do you own stock in Merck or something? ;)

--HUMOR ON:SARCASM HIGH
Oh wait - that's it. You're torn aren't you? You want the government to take control and care for the helpless public, because we can't take care of ourselves, - so it's ok (kind of) to allow a very large corporation to rake in billions in profits and pay their executives huge bonuses while screwing the rest of their employees. Yes - I can see your delima.
--HUMOR OFF

All that said, I have two girls (7 and 9). When they reach 11 or 12 years old, I am positive that we will have them vaccinated. But that is my choice. It's not a choice the state should be making.

Thanks for the post - I was getting bored... :-}
Mark
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 09:01:00 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Mark,

You are one of the first people I've ever heard suggest that rapes are OVER reported. The CDC disagrees. The 1/4 statistic is a commonly understood figure, but I will grant you that it is an estimate rather than a solid statistic. The CDC's number is more like 1/5 although they point out that about 19% of women surveyed said that they did not report their rapes to the police. So aside from the occasional highly publicized case where someone clearly has something to gain by falsifying a report of rape, I would say that most women have incentive to NOT report a rape, and it seems more likely that they are under-reported than over-reported. Since the statistic for reported rapes works out to 1/5 according to the CDC it is not unlikely that the actual number is closer to the estimated 1/4.

The figures I have seen put sexual transmission at 90% though that is an assumption as clearly, there is no way of knowing for sure, as many people don't even know they have it until the warts or pre-cancerous lesions show up much later. It is stated that is it possible for the virus to be transmitted through other contact, though not "casual" contact as you rightly pointed out.

I notice you didn't address the prevalance of infidelity in marriage. This is not a "life-style" disease. Just think of how many women you know who were treated for pre-cancerous lesions before it was known that HPV caused it. Now that the knowledge has stigmatized treatment for cervical cancer and pre-cancerous lesions, it is unlikely that you will hear a lot about women being trated for it...but it is common enough that pap smears are recommended as standard preventive care for ALL women.

I think the reaction to this vaccination is just the result of typical knee-jerk anti-vaccination squaking by "Libertarians" like Bill Maher coupled with puritannicalism from the religious right. Typical head-in-the-sand denialism that having most of your population being exposed to a virus that causes expensive and health-damaging disease is not a "public health issue".

As has been pointed out before, a SINGLE case of treatment for genital warts costs more than a full course of treatment for the vaccine. Add to that the cost of removing Pre-cancerous cells, and the astronomical amount of money to be made from treating cancer...and "Big Pharma" could make more money simply allowing the disease to continue to be endemic, and spread uncontrollably through the population, as it has been.

You claim that the only proper test for wether or not something qualifies as a public health concern is casual contact. I would say that ubiquity, social cost, mortality and the amount of power the individual has to avoid contracting the disease figure into it as well. An individual has SOME control over wether or not they contract the disease. A person who made it their life's mission to never come in contact with any urogenital fluids is probably safe, for instance. However, if you have sex, you have a pretty good chance of getting the disease. And no, conrary to common perception from the religious right, a church wedding is not an effective anti-viral.

As far as I know, we don't own stock in Merk. But you don't have to ohave a profit motive to be on the side of the epidemiologists and public health workers rather than the paranoid anti-vax "hand-washing and indoor plumbing eliminated polio" crowd or the "Prevention turns girls into sluts" crowd.

Here's the CDC link http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/svfacts.htm
Teresa
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 10:03:02 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Teresa

The numbers I used covered for "unreported" events. I didn't dig into how they know how many are unreported. Take it for what it's worth I guess...

I didn't address the infidelity issue because school age children don't have this to worry about. I'm limiting my message to the topic of mandatory vaccinations for kids in school.

I'm SO glad you put quotes around Libertarian when referring to Bill Maher. Man! If he's a libertarian then I'm a far - far left-wing whacko nut job!

Your point about big pharma making more cash from treating the disease instead of the prevention is incorrect. Only 10% actually get a disease. So there is a cargo ship full of money to be made in prevention. And if you are the only game in town, you can make 3 ships worth...

I don't know anyone in the "hand-washing..." crowd. I do know a few people in the "Prevention turns girls into sluts" crowd - they're idiots, IMNSHO. Prevention is prevention - and is a good thing. As far as the slut thing goes - well, as Gump would say, "stupid is as stupid does."

I'm not against vaccinations. Quite the contrary. I am against the government mandating it. If my kids are safe, and they are, then I can take care of the rest of their health. Inform the public and let them make up their own minds. It's called freedom. If some people don't want it, for whatever reason, and their decision doesn't harm the rest of us (because we're smart enough to get the vaccine), then I'm good with that.
Mark
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 10:10:40 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Thanks for the reminder! We need to talk to the pediatrician about when he suggests we get our two vaccinated.

Yeah, right...I love the argument that if I get my kids vaccinated now that they will be more promiscuous later. I can see the conversation now..."Mom, did you get me vaccinated?" "Um...was it something you needed for school?"
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 10:22:27 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
More on rape statistics:

• Nationally, an average of 13.4% of adult women have been the victim of one or more completed forcible rapes during their lifetime.

• In Florida, approximately 11.1% of adult women (713,000) have been the victim of one or more completed forcible rapes during their lifetime.

• Approximately 220,000 women have developed post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of rape.

• Women between the ages of 20-44 had the highest levels of risk for having ever been raped.

• This estimate is conservative because it does not include women who have experienced attempted rape, drug/alcohol facilitated rapes, incapacitated rapes or statutory rapes. Men and boys were also not included.
This information is from the Florida Council against sexual violence. Excluding “date rape” (incapacitation, spiked drinks, givin g someone drugs w/o their knowledge etc) and statutory rape statistics is an excellent way to deflate rape statistics. But no matter what the category, rape of any kind spreads disease.


http://www.fcasv.org/2005_Web/leg_priorities.htm

Mark,

Prevention is a one-time thing (although some people argue there may need to be boosters, while treatement is more expensive per person, and many people need more than one treatment for the diseases, and if you get pre-cancerous lesions you must also get increased monitoring for re-occurance, and many people require more than one procedure through-out their lifetimes for the pre-cancerous lesions.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this as well. Just one more question; I take it you are then against the government-mandated Tetnus shot?
Teresa
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 10:33:37 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Mark,

Bill Maher self-identifies as a Libertarian...at least he did a couple years ago. Most of the self-described Libertarians I know agree. My big problem with libertarianism is that they tend to stretch "individualism" beyond the bounds of personal competancy, and want to make people responsible for aspects of society over which they can have only limited and insufficient control.

For instance, not wanting the government to produce health statistics, not wanting the government to have nutrition recommendations, not wanting the government to require food labeling, health guidelines/recommendations, etc.

Floridation of drinking water is another wierd quirk of Libertarians. I don't understand being so unbelievably angry about floridation.
Teresa
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 12:05:26 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Kaji

I'm not sure what you're trying to say. I think the idoi... um - more radical - among us would see the conversation a bit differently: "Mom, did you get me vaccinated?" "Sure, honey. Go screw your brains out. Have fun. Be home by midnight."
Mark
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 12:06:44 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Teresa

You're right. We just plain disagree on this one. It's not that we misunderstand each other.

Tetanus Facts:
1. Tetanus is a serious disease that is caused by bacteria found in dust, soil, and manure
2. Tetanus enters the body through many kinds of wounds—from a pinprick to a deep wound
3. The bacteria live all over the world

Sounds like a public health issue to me. No, I don't have any problems with the tetanus shot.

Your updated rape statistics sound right compared to what I found.

I don't know to which libertarians you are talking, but there are much bigger issues to tackle than the ones you mention. I don't know anyone worried about any of the topics you mention, accept fluoride.

The whole fluoride "flap" stems from freedom of choice, which libertarians treasure. Water is clean enough to drink already. Adding fluoride doesn't make it cleaner. It's just an unnecessary additive.
Mark
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 12:08:25 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
I think most Libertarians have long since dropped the whole fluoride thing, though.
Mark
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 14:31:03 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Mark,

"I think most Libertarians have long since dropped the whole fluoride thing, though."

If you say so, although apparently NOT those that are homeschoolers who frequent parenting mailing lists. They have a creeping horror of Floride, standard required immnizations, and governments collecting epidemiology information. Also, seat-belt laws and speed limits. The misinformation contained in the conversations was staggering. I eventually left, because you can only take so much of the irony of being accused of being both a commie AND a shill for Big Pharma by people who have NO IDEA how self-satyrizing they can be.

Floride isn't about making the water cleaner, it is about lowering the risk and incidence of tooth decay. It's done that way because it is cheap, easy and covers a large portion of the population, and the benefits far outweigh the costs.

My view is, that even with the CO clauses allowing people to opt out (as many states have with all required innoculations), the states that choose to institute HPV vaccines as required vaccines will benefit greatly from it in the area of public health long-term, with lower premature birth rates (and thus lower infant mortality rates), longer life expectancy, fewer poor women developing cancer and going untreated, etc. The cost benefit might be hard to see at first, but the benefits will go up over time (as more of the population becomes innoculated before exposure, and reach the ages when cervical cancer begins to appear) and the cost will go down over time, as the patent expires and such.

Of course, if you think it's not the place of states to tell their individual residents what to do, you could always lobby for a federal law to stop them. >;->
Teresa
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 14:57:40 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Mark--

All *I* was trying to say is that in no way, shape or form do I consider this anything to have to do with sex. It is purely a health issue. Does it make it any safer for my children to eventually have sex? No, not really. Last I checked, it doesn't stop AIDS or pregnancy. The odds are that unless this continues to be a headline-maker, by the time my girls even have reason to wonder I will have completely forgotten what they have been immunized for, short of checking their medical records.

If you want to think of it that way, you could say the eye surgery my daughter had at age five could contribute to her future promiscuity. And some people think that Tinky Winky the Teletubby is gay, too. It takes all kinds.
Kaji
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 15:41:55 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Kaji,

You are right, it doesn't even protect against all strains of HPV, although it DOES get the ones responsible for most cases of cervical cancer...and a number of other health issues. And it is one of the STI's that condoms are least effective against (because condoms don't cover enough area to prevent it's spread - genitle-to-genital contact is not necessary.

The way I understand it, the goal of maximizing public innoculation is not only to protect single individuals from the effects of the virus, but to control the spread (and opportunities for the generation of new strains) of the virus. Protecting individuals is good...but there is still plenty of need for personal responsibility.
Teresa
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 16:05:54 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
On Libertarianism... The definition of a libertarian has been stretched so thin, I don't consider myself one any more. My current test to see if somebody is really a Libertarian or a conservative who likes to call themselves one cause it's fashionable is quite simple. If you were able to vote for President in 1996, who did you vote for... (one answer no use of internet on this one.)

On a more serious front.. HPV is a general health issue... Even if I could guarantee that my daughters would have no sexual contact until their wedding night (must invest in those chastity belts)... guess what. I can't control the habits of the future husband. I'm not even talking about infidelity... All that is needed is for him to have slept with one other person before having sex with my daughter. At that point he could doom his wife... with out knowing it. And this society only frowns on girls having sex, cause boys will be boys. (and I'm not even getting into the rape statistic debate cause if 1/6 is somehow better the 1/4 then you're not awake cause that is number is still way too high.)

On the big pharma makes money? So what... the long term savings to the health care system makes that a moot point. In fact some companies (like UHG) are debating covering a patients drugs 100%, no co-pays. Why? If the patient takes the drugs on a regular basis the long term cost of care goes down. Fewer hospital trips etc. So the insurance and rest of the medical industry also wins with preventative care... Everybody makes money and my children live longer, not a bad thing overall.

As for the tetanus example... that is a canard... "In children under the age of seven, the tetanus vaccine is often administered as a combined vaccine, TDap or DTaP, which also includes vaccines against diphtheria and pertussis." So.. already taken care of. After age seven... boosters should be administered, normally administered with the diptheria booster.
pcomeau
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 21:03:43 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Three things:

Three girls have already died from the HPV vaccine: http://judicialwatch.org/6299.shtml

1,600+ reports of vaccine reactions, with more than 300 of them listed as SERIOUS -- just for the HPV vaccine. Babies being incorrectly vaccinated at 9-WEEKS-OLD. It's criminal. Where are these right wing nut jobs? Personally, I think the LEFT is more concerned with making everyone THINK that there are a bunch of right wingers opposed to this based on sex, but you can get HPV via other sources and for other reasons than sex. So give it up already on the whole sex issue!
http://www.judicialwatch.org/archive/2007/GardasilVAERSDeaths.pdf

Excellent op-ed if I do say so myself:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/03/12/EDGC7N734I1.DTL&hw=MaryAnna+Clemons&sn=001&sc=1000

If you truly believe that big pharma cares one whit about your baby girl, go for it. And someday when Polysorbate 80, which causes infertility in mice, proves to do the same in women, you can explain to your child why she will be childless.

Endless vaccines are NOT the answer folks.
MaryAnna
Thursday, 31 May 2007 05:55:29 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
*sigh* Okay, we leave sex out of it. And no, I don't think "big pharma" cares about my daughter. But I think my pediatrician does, and so do I. And once he feels it is safe to immunize my daughter against something that could kill her, we will.

BTW, keeping any political commentary aside, throwing these words: "Babies being incorrectly vaccinated at 9-WEEKS-OLD. It's criminal." into your argument makes it more difficult to take you seriously. Look at that statement. Yes, it is correct. *Anybody* being incorrectly vaccinated is awful. But it is a generic statement. People are incorrectly vaccinated with other vaccines, too. And at that point, it is not the fault of the vaccine, but the fault of the medical establishment chosen to deliver those vaccines. That, and the political statements, really weaken your argument.

Just sayin'.
Kaji
Thursday, 31 May 2007 06:01:31 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
O.K. first off reading the death reports Judicial Watch linked too... there is nothing there to show causality. In fact one of the three deaths points to prior conditions (e.g. enlarged right ventricle, small left ventricle along with clots in the right atrium and ventricle.) In the other cardiac case it states right on the page that the person had a history of aortic and mitral valve insufficieny.

So in at least two of the three deaths I would be more then willing to bet the poor people were going to drop dead sooner or later regardless of vaccination since they had prior heart conditions.

Finally these reports that Judicial Watch link to do not show causality... Any new drug that goes out on the marked has a period of time where VAERS reports have to be filled out. No matter what... So if a death occurs, somebody gets some side effect, whatever. If it happens soon after getting a new drug/vaccine a report should be filed and sent to the FDA. From there it is up to the FDA and/or the drug company to determine if there is a real issue being caused by the drug or if it is just a random incident.

So my big issue is Judicial Watch is being inflametory by jumping the gun, not reading thier own data, and trying to be sensational.

On the money front... from http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/statistics/
"It is estimated that more than $2 billion per year is spent in the United States on the treatment of cervical cancer. "

So... profit for the drug compnies up front? or a potentially larger cost in money and human life down the line. In this case I'd rather see Merck get the profit up front, as prenventative medicine always saves money (and lives) in the long run.
pcomeau
Thursday, 31 May 2007 07:19:25 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Hey All!

Wow. I leave for a few hours and the conversation kicks into high gear! I see my attempt at humor about Teresa's delima grew roots. Most of you must not like corporations much at all because it keeps comming up. Just an observation...

Kaji - I was just trying to be funny. Sorry, I thought it was a good joke. I happen to agree with you. When my pediatrician believes it's appropriate for my girls to get the vaccine, they will get it.

pcomeau - Easy, I voted for Ross Perot in 1996. I will be the happiest man alive if somehow Ron Paul can get the nomination (LOL HAHAHAHAHAHA - never happen - was that out loud?) Seriously, I would be very happy indeed. It would mean that, finally, we have seen the light. It's too bad that people who can speak without pausing every two seconds to make sure they won't offend anyone, and speaks plainly and clearly with TONS of common sense, can't get the attention they deserve.

MarryAnna - ditto Kaji and pcomeau. You can't take sex out of the argument because the types of HPV this prevents, 16 and 18, are trasmitted via some type of sexual contact. But that doesn't mean that people somehow think that getting this vaccine will make young girls promiscuous. Look, teenagers are stupid! I have one - I was one (I was stupid, too). All teenagers do stupid things. Some have sex way before they're ready - not all. If a girl is going to be promiscuous there is little you or I can do to prevent it. As a parent, the most I can do is keep talking to my kids in an attempt to provide some intelligent platform to think on. It doesn't mean they'll listen, but it's WAY better than nothing. Oh, and enough already with the ploysorbate 80 thing. Where did that come from anyway?

Teresa - "Of course, if you think it's not the place of states to tell their individual residents what to do, you could always lobby for a federal law to stop them." LOL. Great line! Well done.

I think we can all agree, except for MarryAnna, that the line here is pretty blurred. When lines are blurred so much, I lean towards keeping citizens free to make up their own mind. Mine and my wife's are made up already, our girls will get the vaccine when appropriate. I someone else decides differently, so be it.
Mark
Thursday, 31 May 2007 07:50:41 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Mark,

The thing is, I think most people recognize that corporations exsist because they are useful and that the profit motive is also useful. The problem comes in when corportations have more influence in public policy than the average citizen. Which is the charge I've heard with the Merk thing.

The question I have is; is this a case where corporate interest and public interest coincide? You don't think so. I happen to think it is in the public interest for there to be a public effort to acheive critical immunization levels with this drug.

Would Merk make an assload of money off of it? Probably, but I still think it is costlier for society to allow the spread of this virus to continue when it can be stopped. Maybe the answer is to wait for the patent to expire and make it manditory after that period of time...but I really don't have a problem with a corporation making money off of a drug they invested tons of money to develop that actually works, that actually is innovative (adds a new benefit to health care), and actually could have enormous societal benefit.

I'm more someone who objects to "Big Pharma" enlessly reformulating exsisting drugs and patenting them in order to dominate the market at the expense of genarics, bribing doctors to perscribe the drugs that don't have genaric equivilants, and writing government policy to stifle competition so the government cannot negotiate better deals, use genarics, or import cheaper drugs.

Since it looks like manditory vaccinations will be defeated pretty much everywhere they are being attempted (please let me know if anyone comes across a place where it looks like they will succeed), I truly hope that we can get critical vaccination levels through "free choice" but I don't think that will happen.
Teresa
Thursday, 31 May 2007 21:32:02 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
two cents:

I think the Government mandated part of the equation has partly to do with the vaccine not working unless it is given to girls of a certain age. The children can't grow up and then decide they want it, they have to have it while they are still under the guardianship of parents and unable to make such a choice for themselves. Liberty rights of the parents aside, there is something untoward about a parent who wants a child to suffer if s/he does action x and tries to make sure no one can intervene to prevent that suffering because the parent believes actions such as x are wrong.
a small penguin
Thursday, 31 May 2007 22:40:51 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
a small penguin,

I agree that there is something a little creepy about believing your child should have to worry about getting sick and possibly dying for not making the choice you think is right.

Point of clarification, the vaccine works just fine regardless of age, as long as the subject has not been exposed to the virus. If they have, there is still a chance that they could get some benefit from it, (prevents some symptoms in a smaller percentage of cases. The reason for wanting it administered at such a young age is to catch more children before they reach the ages where a significant number of children begin sexual exploration.

One problem I have with that is that the parents are making a choice that they DO have control over (giveing or not giving the vaccine) to assert their right to control something they can have little or no control over (whether or not their children engage in sexual activity - which includes activity other than intercourse, as genital-to-genital contact is not necessary for the spread of the virus)

It is grasping at the illusion of control; possibly to their child's detriment.

Children will do what they choose to do. They will choose to follow their parents moral guidelines or they will not. It depends more on if the parents have shown that those guidelines are important (by following them themselves), if they are able to demonstrate the benefits of following those morals to the child, and if the child sees that the basis for the morals is sound.

The presance or absence of a threat of some possible case of cancer in the far future will have much less impact on that than whether or not the child buys into the morals the parent is trying to teach. As a parent of stong-willed and independant-thinking children, I can see why that would be scary to someone - and why they might want to hedge their bets against the possibility of their own failure to transmit their morals to their children by blaming a vaccine for undermining them. But the fact remains that the teachings of the parents are the critical ingredient in persuading their kids to a certain behavior.

In the end, though, you can't control your children, and you can't control some of the people around them who might hurt them. I can't imagine why you wouldn't want to protect them even if it's just against one more virus.
Teresa
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