Posted by: Jim | February 13, 2007

Required Vaccinations

I’d like to toss this out to my readers to get their feedback. The Governor of Texas has bypassed his legislature and ordered that all schoolgirls be vaccinated against HPV, which causes cervical cancer.

I found the arguments against the HPV vaccinations to be shrill and obtuse (basically daddies were saying that their daughter would never get an STD). This order is surprising, coming from a conservative Christian Governor from–of all states–Texas.

On the flip side, I’m hearing some people decry this as an unwarranted “order,” that the FDA does not have a good track record on these issue, and that these vaccines should be voluntary.

But given the irrational arguments against the vaccine, however, I believe it is up for debate. My memory of history indicates to me that government control of viral outbreaks (through vaccines and quarantines) has been quite effective in eliminating these problems from society altogether.

Opinions, please!



  1. I’m going to see my daughter in Texas this weekend. We will discuss this, but in a few brief words…

    Keep the state’s goddamn hands off of my daughter. An experimental vaccination (4 years of testing), manufactured by only one company (Merck), who has three paid lobbyists ($250,000), one of whom is a former Perry Chief of Staff (Mike Toomey)…

    Pardon me if I sound a little paranoid and protective, but when you step in and try to assume my position as a parent, you have gone too far.

    I don’t know who this guy thinks he is.

  2. This is the same FDA that approved Fen-phen for weight loss only to have it recalled later because it was killing people.
    I think more studies need to be done to find out the potential side effects before making it mandatory.
    It’s a new vaccine so you know no long term studies have been done.
    And honestly, there’s not enough other stuff going on in this country to worry about other than making young girls guinea pigs to a big pharmaceutical company?
    When a politician mandates something like this, I can’t help but wonder what’s in it for him.

  3. I agree that more testing could not hurt. But why is this different from the polio vaccine? Or the MMR vacine? All kids are required to have those to attend school. It takes an act of congress to exempt yourself from this.

    So why is this one such a big deal? Because it’s for an STD? Keep in mind that sex is NOT the only way one can contract HPV. And to those fundamentalist Christian parents who are so sure their kids will be virgins until marriage… yours might be, but will their spouses? Good grief, we’ve been trying to get the jump on cervical and ovarian cancer for years. It’s hard to detect and even harder to treat successfully. So now that there seems to be a way to prevent it, let’s support that.

    Of course, if fundamentalist Christians fail to allow their daughters to be immunized it might help minimize the numbers of future Christians. Not a bad idea at that!

  4. todd’s point is worth checking out. it has been raised as an objection.

    i do think that if the State wants to pay for a free program, a voluntary program, and people can come forward and have the vaccination, that is one thing. but to compel people to be vaccinated, i do not see the justification. it is not just about parents wanting to assert control over their children’s bodies. if that isn’t right, then why is it anymore right for the state of Texas to control children’s bodies? there are some young people who either are not planning to be engaging in sex, and might want to have the vaccination in their own good time, and others who no doubt have the smarts to practice safe sex already.

    it is a big leap from ‘This is for the public good’ to ‘This is for the public good. Therefore, you must obey.’

    i feel that the authoritarian means doesn’t justify the ends.

  5. Felix, you note the point/solution I left out. Bravo.

  6. todd

    don’t tell me we agree on something! i best call the Vatican and report a miracle. and i best lay down in a darkened room with a wet washcloth on my forehead. 😉

  7. Haha! Every once in awhile I will try to toss up a freebie to precipitate group hugs.

  8. Aww, Jim, now I feel so used.

    Perry’s [prepared] stament:

    “Providing the HPV vaccine doesn’t promote sexual promiscuity any more than providing the hepatitis B vaccine promotes drug use,” he said in a prepared statement. “If the medical community developed a vaccine for lung cancer, would the same critics oppose it claiming it would encourage smoking?”

    WHAT? Hepatitis B is certainly a concern for herion users, but not the SOLE concern of this terrible addiction. As a casual smoker, if I were to discover a vaccine that would give me a leg up on lung cancer, it sure as hell would allow me to smoke with a more clear conscience.

    There is nothing clear-cut about this situation except for the fact that there are people behind the scenes influencing this decision.

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