Sunday, February 4, 2007

Cervical Cancer Vaccine

A big item in the Colorado news is the push to make a cervical cancer vaccine mandatory for middle school age girls.

A little background: Cervical cancer is primarily caused by the HPV virus, which is a sexually transmitted disease. Another name for HPV is genital warts.

A lot of the people pushing the mandatory vaccine are the same ones who push Planned Parenthood and oppose abstinence only education in the schools. Many view teenage, non-marital sexual involvement as normal.

Is the vaccine a good thing? A lot isn’t known about it. It won’t prevent all cervical cancer and the duration isn’t known. We don’t know if it will protect the female while allowing her to transmit the virus to males. We don’t know if there will be long-term negative consequences. One thing we do know is that abstinence until marriage is an absolute preventative with no consequences.

Many people oppose the vaccine because they think it will encourage sexual activity. It may give a false sense of security to some but as things are now, young people don’t seem to be scared by the threat of sexually transmitted diseases that can kill. I’m not sure having a little less to worry about would make a lot of difference. One thing that does encourage sexual activity among the young is the television, music and other media they are exposed to on a daily basis.

An interesting twist in the whole thing is that the Merck Company who developed the vaccine is bankrolling the push for the mandatory vaccine. This means that legislators have or will get nice contributions for their cooperation.

Merck stands to make a lot of money off this vaccine and even more if States start making it mandatory. That kind of thing always concerns me. What they really care about is the cash and sometimes that makes people secondary. The same with the legislators; campaign contributions may trump the best interest of children.

Well, what do you think? I would like to hear more input from deep thinking individuals on this. There is already enough knee-jerk and ideological comment around.

Philip

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