Friday, February 02, 2007

Texas Gov Rick Perry buckles to Merck; Executive Order Requires Gardasil vaccine for all girls

Actual Executive Order issued today, February 2, 2007, in which Governor Rick Perry requires all girls to receive the human papillomavirus vaccine by sixth grade. The decree recommends the vaccine for all females currently nine years old to women 26 years old. It also covers all girls not yet nine, requiring them to receive the vaccine before they will be admitted to sixth grade.

I imagine all the women and girls and Texas are breathing a huge sigh of relief since they no longer have to worry their pretty little heads about whether to get the Gardasil vaccine.

Gardasil, a prophylactic human papillomavirus vaccine, may prevent some forms of cervical cancer and other and other diseases caused by certain types of HPV. The vaccine will cover approximately 70% of HPV-related cervical cancer cases.

Texas was one of 18 states considering the heavy campaign by Merck---the manufacturer of Gardasil---to require the vaccine. Merck doubled its expenditures on lobbying in Texas, and hired Perry's former chief of staff, Mike Toomey, to lead the lobbying effort.

According the the Drudge Retort:

Laws could mean billions in sales The New Jersey-based drug company could generate billions in sales if Gardasil -- at $360 for the three-shot regimen -- were made mandatory across the country. Most insurance companies now cover the vaccine, which has been shown to have no serious side effects.

Cathie Adams, president of the conservative watchdog group Texas Eagle Forum, said the relationship between Merck and Women in Government is too cozy.

"What it does is benefit the pharmaceutical companies, and I don't want pharmaceutical companies taking precedence over the authorities of parents," she said.

Adams said Merck's method of lobbying quietly through groups like Women in Government in addition to meeting directly with legislators are common in state government but still should raise eyebrows. "It's corrupt as far as I'm concerned," she said.

I agree. HPV is not a public health issue; it's a private health issue. Therefore, the decision must be left up to each individual.

Edited to add: For more information, also see Texas Gov. orders anti-cancer vaccine.

copyright 2007 Julie Pippert

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Queen of the Mayhem said...

That is very interesting. I wonder if they are planning something similar here. They are running ads like crazy about the HPV. Why does it seem like the government is hellbent on determining what we do with our bodies? HMMM

Christina said...

While I'm thrilled that a vaccine is available, this kind of thing makes me nervous. For one, it's a very new vaccine - I'd rather wait it out to see just how safe it is. Not to mention, they still aren't sure if it protects for life, or if boosters will be needed 5, 10, 20 or more years down the road.

Forcing such a new vaccine on women and girls isn't right. It should be left up to the individual and, if she is a child, her family. Educate us, don't just force us to comply.

Julie Pippert said...

Queen, oh yes, I do wonder about thehellbent determination to decide for us about our bodies.

As for your state...there were 18 states being heavily lobbyed who were on the fence, considering doing it. There should be a legislative watch-list for your state you can check.

Hey, I'd LOVE your professional take on the entry below this one, the proposed bill to criminally charge and fine parents who miss a teacher conference.

Christina, I feel the exact same way. When they forced us---literally---to give my oldest daughter the brand-new varicella vaccine when she was one year old, one of my concerns was the lack of field data for long-term efficacy. Varicella as an adult with a lapsed immunity can be very dangerous. I asked and asked about later need for booster and was assured that the vaccine was life-long.

I know enough to know that is unlikely. Some people are vaccine-resistant to some vaccines, or never develop long-term immunity from the vaccine. I have two I have to get boosters for any time I am in an at-risk situation due to this. And that's for vaccinations that have been around (obviously, LOL) for a while.

Now a mere four years later I'm told my DD requires a booster for varicella. I said, and in four years from now? And when she's 28 and pregnant and at high-risk?

And they can't make promises.

So that said, I think I feel understandably nervous and reserved about this.

I am thrilled about this vaccine. Part of me hopes that with a breakthrough in DNA vaccines there might also be one with RNA vaccines.

The HPV vaccine can really be useful. It's great they have it.

And I was researching it and considering the best thing to do.

But like you, my concern is strongly related to the fact that it is so new, and has so many unknowns.

Well here I've gone on longer than my blog LOL.

Just ditto to you Christina, exactly and well-put.

Thailand Gal said...

I also have to ditto Christina. They don't have any business enforcing these kinds of things without having the long-term data to back up their claims. I recall a vaccine that was given to service members a few years back. It was a disaster.

Unless these things are free and tested, I oppose any enforced vaccination. It's a private health issue, not a public threat.



ginabeaner said...

No side effects? How about the 225 mcg of aluminum in the 3 shot series!