Monday, February 12, 2007

More on the HPV Vaccine

Thanks to Laurathecrazymama
(don't ya just love her name?!) She posted a link to this MSNBC report which discusses the two sides of the HPV vaccine that was just made mandatory in Texas. You can read my original rant here, if you choose.

Some of my concerns where confirmed by this report.

1. This is about money. Ms. Ferrar made a statement that this law NEEDED to be passed as a mandate so that insurance companies will cover the injections as will Medicaid and CHIP. I hate to break the news to you, Ms. Ferrar, but just because something is legal and mandated does not mean it will be covered by insurance or tax-dollars. I think Gov. Perry is hoping that this is the case so that his bed-fellow, Merck can collect their precious dollars at our young daughters' expense. Insurance companies WILL typically cover PROVEN medical treatments that will benefit their claimants.

2. The question was asked why the injection isn't given to older women/girls, like the teachers instead of the 6th grade girls. Ms. Ferrar's reply was very telling. She reports that these injections must be given before women are sexually active, so 6th grade is a great time to do so because they are going in for other shots anyway. (read between the lines here... go in and get shots, how many really ask what shots their child is receiving and if they do, they are told, these are mandatory.) Never mind how insulting this comment is to women out there who do choose to refrain from sexual activity. Oh, that is right, I remember now, I can't possibly control my "urges". I've been told that since I was in grade school. It's only human nature.

3. Another question arose for me after watching this clip. Ms. Ferrar states that HPV must incubate for 10 years before it becomes cancerous. If this is true, than how in the world could this vaccine have possibly been thoroughly tested? It was allowed on the market 7 months ago after testing on only 1400 girls. What exactly did they test? Reactions? There is no possible way Merck could know that this vaccine will prevent cervical cancer 10 years from now. Even their own insert states that they do not know how effective the shot will be nor for how long. But they now have an entire state of guinea pigs to try it out on. She states that the CDC, the FDA, and groups of physicians, including the AAP approve of this vaccine. I do believe that there have been other instances of medications being "approved" by these entities and then withdrawn from the market because of the dangers they posed.

I pray that my fears for our girls do not come true with this vaccine. Truth is, if it is proven to be effective, I would be first in line to have my daughters vaccinated. Proof. That's all I need. Proof. Proof that this vaccine will not sterilize my daughters. Proof that there are no birth defects caused by it. Proof that it does not cause other forms of cancer or diseases like heart disease, etc. I don't find any proof for any of these concerns and until I do, I will stand against this vaccine. I recommend you consider this as well.


Laura The Crazy Mama said...

Thank you for the link and the comments. I updated that post to include THIS post so "tag" you're it hahaha just kidding. Oh, by the way, it's "laurathecrazymama" not "mom" mother is "mom" I INSIST that my children call me "mama" and it's even better if you say it sounding like Elvis for some reason hehehe.

K said...

Thanks, Laura. I fixed you. Now you are the mama!! LOL

antonia said...

Thanks for an interesting post (I was directed to it by Laura!)

As way of introduction, I am a Catholic medical student (in my 5th yr of med school) living in England. I can't comment on the insurance company issue (because I have no idea about the situation in America!), but I'd like to just say a few words about some of the medical issues you raised in your post (which I do know something about!)

Ms. Ferrar is correct when she says that, in order to be of any use on a population level, the HPV vaccination would have to be given to young girls (say from age 13).

The reason being is that once someone gets infected with the virus the vaccination is of no use whatsoever.

The vaccination works by preventing the virus from ever infecting the person's cells. But if you already have it, then it's too late.

As most women in America already have the virus (60% of sexually active american women are infected), it is not really of any use, on a population level, to encourage older women to get the vaccination (e.g. the teachers).

If the vaccination is going to be of any benefit in preventing people getting the HPV virus
then it has to be given to people who don't yet have it....and so that's why younger girls are the main targets.

I totally 100% agree with you, the level of promiscuity in the world is dispicable, and the young age at which people engage in sexual relations is horrific. Abstainance programs should be fully implemented and encouraged in schools.
And yes, it does seem somewhat insulting that they are automatically assuming that noone can 'control their urges' and refrain from promiscuous sexual activity, but from their point of view noone can! (if you look at society as a whole)

Secondly, there is no need to wait 10 years to see if the vaccination is effective at preventing gynaecological cancers caused by the HPV virus.

The clinical trials which were done on this vaccination before it became commercially avaliable followed women for about 2 years after they were given the vaccine.

The research found that not a single woman who recieved the vaccination got a genital wart or precancerous lesion or cancer itself.

This is pretty amazing, when compared to compared to women in the non-vaccinated cohort, a significant proportion whom did develop genital warts, precancerous or cancerous lesions.
(both groups of women, vaccinated or not, had the same level of exposure to sexual risk factors.)

Although some may say that it takes '10 years' for fully invasive cancer to be present, genital warts or precancerous areas are detectable within months of exposure, and so the fact that that none one of the vaccinated group ever developed these is pretty un-arguable evidence for the effectivess of this vaccination in that regard.

(But a single vaccination does only have a half-life of about 4.5 years, so one or two booster shots would be necessary for life-long immunity).

Also, it wasn't just one study that was done; many many clinical trials in different countries have been carried out, all with similar results (i.e. all showing a 0% rate of warts, pre-cancer or cancer in vaccinated individuals).

Finally, I totally agree with you that it is very very dishonest and terrible of doctors not to tell their patients that the HPV virus is a sexually transmitted disease.
It used to get me very frustrated when I saw young woman after young woman after young woman (all in their early-20s) coming in because they were found to have pre-cancer on their smear tests, and were HPV positive....and the doctors NEVER told them of their HPV status, or that it was a STD. (not that it would've made any difference anyway, once you're infected you can't get rid of it).

But yeh, HPV is not like measles, and the marketing for this vaccination should not portray it as such because that is just dishonest. Also, if what I have been hearing from America is true (i.e. that some schools are making it mandatory for girls to be vaccinated), well that is absolutely terrible and unacceptable.

anyway, just my 2 cents!
Thanks for an interesting post!

God Bless