Proposed Childhood Cervical Cancer Vaccine Mandate:
Bad Policy, Questionable Science
By Dawn Richardson and Rebecca Rex
Texas Eagle Forum Torch
Two concerning bills filed in the Texas Legislature this session propose
requiring the vaccination of 6th grade girls against the sexually
transmitted virus HPV as a condition of attending school. Infection with
the HPV virus is one of several risk factors associated with the
development of cervical cancer. Not only is a mandate bad policy, the
science is questionable.
While nobody would deny that cancer is a horrible disease, we have to be
careful to not let the marketing of the fear of cancer by drug companies
push us into blind acceptance without pulling back the covers and taking a
closer look at the facts.
First of all, there is no proof that the HPV vaccine will prevent cervical
cancer. 90% of women who contract the HPV virus clear it on their own.
For these women, the vaccine offers NO benefit and only exposes them to
risks. The incubation period for the virus is 20 years and the average age
of women diagnosed with cervical cancer is 50 years old, but the vaccine
was only tested for 4 years in 16-26 year olds. Considering that the
vaccine manufacturer admits the duration of immunity from the vaccine is
unknown, no claims to proof of cervical cancer prevention should be made.
Secondly, there are significant safety questions that seriously undermine
any presumed benefit. Disclaimers printed on the manufacturers package
insert state that the vaccine has not been tested for it's own ability to
cause cancer, and the effect on a womans reproductive capacity is unknown.
The FDA's Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System has already received 82
reports of serious adverse events following HPV vaccination since its
approval last June. Each girl receiving all three HPV vaccine doses will
be directly injected with 675 mcg of aluminum. Preliminary research shows
that mice injected with aluminum manifested symptoms associated with
Parkinson's Disease, Lou Gehrig's Disease and Alzheimer's.
Finally, the high cost of this vaccine - about $450/person for the series
or roughly $73 million to vaccinate Texas 6th grade girls only brings
home the point that we should be making policy choices that are most likely
to achieve the greatest health benefits with the most efficient use of
finite resources. The vaccine does nothing to address other significant
cervical cancer risk factors like smoking, HIV or Chlamydia infection,
diet/obesity, long-term use of oral contraceptives, multiple pregnancies,
low socioeconomic status, age, family history, race/ethnicity, or a mother
who took the hormonal drug DES.
Imagine what could be achieved if instead of funneling money directly to
the drug companies for a questionable vaccine, the money was invested in
proven measures like increasing education and outreach efforts to women who
do not receive regular screening for cervical cancer and removing economic
and cultural barriers for low-income and minority women to access all
Often ineffective and cumbersome state vaccine exemptions are no guarantee
to protect your daughter from this shot if these bills are passed.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Please contact your state legislators asking them to oppose forced HPV
vaccination of your daughter (HB 215 and SB 110). This decision needs to be
made by parents at home, not legislators in the Texas House.
Dawn Richardson and Rebecca Rex are co-founders of the organization Parents
Requesting Open Vaccine Education, or PROVE. More information on HPV and
other vaccines can be found at www.vaccineinfo.net.