Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No Gardasil Mandate

Medical -News Net:Vaccinating girls against the human papilloma virus (HPV) before they are sexually active appears to be successful in protecting them against cervical cancer, however, a Johns Hopkins University researcher and health policy expert warns it would be ill-advised to mandate vaccinations at this time.

Gail Javitt, JD, MPH, is a Research Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the Law and Policy Director at the Institute's Genetics and Public Policy Center. In a recently published paper in the Summer 2008 issue of the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics , Javitt and her co-authors argue state-mandates requiring girls to be vaccinated for HPV as a condition for school attendance would not currently be supported by legal and ethical justifications.

The HPV vaccine, sold as Gardasil in the U.S., is intended to prevent 4 strains of the human papillomavirus. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the world. Two strains are known to cause 70% of cervical cancer cases and two other strains are associated with 90% of genital warts cases.

While the HPV vaccine represents a significant public health advance, the article argues it is inappropriate at this time to mandate the vaccine for the following reasons: the vaccine is relatively new, and long-term safety and effectiveness in the general population is unknown; outcomes of those voluntarily vaccinated should be followed for several years before mandates are imposed; the HPV vaccine does not represent a public health necessity of the type that has justified previous vaccine mandates; the economic consequences of mandating HPV are significant and could have a negative impact on financial support for other vaccines as well as other public health programs.

Javitt and her colleagues argue that during the current climate regarding vaccines and their effects on children, state-mandated vaccinations are under a higher degree of scrutiny from parents, especially the HPV vaccine.

The paper argues that state lawmakers' push to mandate HPV has led to significant concern that the government is overreaching its police powers and authority, and unduly interfering with parental rights to make health care decisions for their children. At this time, Javitt warns a mandate could actually do more harm than good, "It could not only pose Constitutional concerns, but could also lead to public backlash, undermining both HPV vaccines and existing vaccine programs."


Gardasil is the first vaccine developed for a disease that is not easily communicable (i.e. airborne) or immediately life-threatening. "There will likely be other vaccines available in the future that don't fit the traditional conditions that have justified state mandates," says Javitt, "and we need to figure out a legally and ethically appropriate way to provide such vaccines to the public."

IMHO: I would be shocked if the government ever mandates a vaccine that is for something that is not easily communicable or immediately life-threatening. Why would that even be an option? Will there be a mandate that all girls go on birth control until they're 18 years old too? I think parents are smart enough to make their own decisions about this vaccine, especially since it's so controversial! What are your thoughts? Is there good reason to mandate the HPV vaccine?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

CERVICAL CANCER not a good enough reason that is right we have a sickcare system not a healthcare system

newsanchormom.com said...

I am just saying parents should have a choice, not a mandate when it comes to something that is not communicable. I think most parents would choose to get the vaccine and that's fine. I have no problem with parents making their own educated decision.

ryansmom said...

It think a mandate on this vaccine is over the top. More research needs to be done. It's too bad the children who have taken the vaccine so far have been used as human guinea pigs. These "experts" do not know what the long term effects are on humans and my hope for these children is that it turns out not to be harmful.
Whatever the outcome of long term studies, my opinion remains the same. No mandate on this vaccine.

newsanchormom.com said...

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Jen said...

It's unbelievable that the government could require this for the very reasons you pointed out. I worry that this could be a slippery slope. A vaccination mandate for a disease that isn’t easily spread would set our civil liberties back forty years. A lot of diseases pose health threats, but we have to weigh the risks of the disease against the risks of vaccination and financial costs. And what about the issue of privacy? The right to control what goes into our body seems like one of the most basic privacy issues. In a nutshell, our daughters would lose ownership over their own bodies because of a government imposed vaccination for something that is not an immediate health threat to the general population. That doesn’t seem like a good trade-off. I'm not against the vaccine, but it should be a personal matter between a child, her parent, and a well-informed doctor. Also, has anyone raised any suspicions over the role the pharmaceutical company may have in this. It certainly would benefit from more vaccines.

 
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