THE Consumer’s Association of Penang (CAP) has repeatedly objected to the proposal to vaccinate all 13-year-old girls from the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus, a sexually transmitted virus because it is unnecessary, unscientific and unsafe.
Despite numerous objections by many quarters, a sum of RM150mil is to be spent annually by the Government beginning this year on HPV vaccinations for an estimated 300,000 girls in the country as protection from only two of the 40 different cervical cancers causing HPV.
HPV is contracted through sexual contact; instead of inoculating our young against a sexually transmitted disease (STD), the Government should focus on prevention by educating them on religious and moral values.
As recipients of a vaccine against STD, ill-informed young girls could be lulled into a false sense of security that the HPV vaccine would protect them against other sexually transmitted diseases.
The risk of cervical cancers itself has been blown out of proportion. It is a known fact that about 90% of all HPV infections are removed by the immune system within two years. This in itself makes the vaccine irrelevant and redundant.
The vaccine itself is highly controversial with an unusually high incidence of adverse reactions and 53 reported deaths in the US alone. This completely unnecessary and dangerous vaccine’s safety and efficacy have never been established in Malaysia.
We urge the Health Ministry to revoke its ill-conceived plan to subject our children to the vaccine.
The rakyat would be better off if the money were used to educate our children against early sexual activity as a deterrent to HPV infection. With this allocation, campaigns for HPV testing and pap smears as proven early detection procedures can be re-invented and enhanced instead of resorting to the simplistic solution of vaccines.
Since these vaccines only cover some high-risk types of HPV, experts still recommend regular pap smear screening even after vaccination. This only goes to show that screening remains relevant and is undeniably a better method of prevention than vaccination.
S.M. MOHD IDRIS, Malaysia