From the February 2007 Idaho Observer:
Gardasil, the parent state and child abuse
Gardasil, the parent state and child abuse
Parents traditionally make decisions for dependent children until they are mature enough to make decisions for themselves. Parents who make decisions that are neglectful or injurious to children are charged with child abuse. If the state makes decisions for adult citizens out of some parental concern that we are not mature enough to make those decisions for ourselves, and we accept the arrangement, adult citizens become the dependent child equivalent in a parent state. By logical extension, when the parent state makes decisions that injure their dependent adult children, they should be charged with "child" abuse. Within that context, what metaphorical role shall we assign to the corporations producing the products with which the parent state abuses its wee ones?
from Vera Sharav
from Vera Sharav
Gardasil®, a vaccine containing four strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) and manufactured by Merck Pharmaceuticals, was approved by the FDA in June, 2006. The first effort to actually mandate an HPV vaccine for school girls that allegedly prevents the development of 70 percent of all cervical cancers began last fall in Michigan, where a bill, introduced by a leader of Women in Government, was defeated amid opposition from Michigan Opposing Mandatory Shots. (They’re back:A Senate version of the HPV mandate SB 0132 has been introduced and will be in committee beginning Feb. 21, 2007).
But the main legislative thrust began in earnest this year in what appeared to be a coordinated effort. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 31 states are deliberating bills that would either require vaccination, provide funding for vaccinations and/or the distribution of information about HPV. A synopsis of the proposed bills is listed at www.ncsl.org.
On February 2, 2007, Texas Governor Rick Perry shocked Texans and the entire nation by issuing an executive order mandating Gardasil for all Texan schoolgirls aged 11 and older. Opponents have noted Governor Perry’s ties to Merck and Women in Government. His former chief of staff is a lobbyist for Merck in Texas and his wife, a nurse who has worked to promote public health, once spoke at a Women in Government conference on cervical cancer.
The New York Times article "Furor on Rush to Require Cervical Cancer Vaccine" dated February 17, 2007, reported that "a roaring backlash has some health experts worried that the proponents, including the vaccine’s maker, Merck, have pushed too far too fast, potentially undermining eventual prospects for the broadest possible immunization."
The Alliance for Human Research Protection played a role in helping to open a public debate about Merck’s flagrant commercial push to influence public officials into mandating its human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil, for girls aged 11 to 26.
The vaccine was approved on the basis of limited, short-term tests indicating that the vaccine prevents SOME strains of cervical cancer but not others (see analysis page 10).
The duration of the vaccine’s efficacy is uncertain, its limited testing in only several hundred pre-adolescent girls provides inadequate safety data about its potential long-term hazards and efficacy. Given that condoms are entirely safe—for both males and females—and they are no less effective not only for the papilloma virus, but for ALL sexually transmitted diseases and, given that PAP tests will continue to be a necessary safety precaution, what is the justification for a government-mandated vaccination of girls?
The debate has generated public mistrust because the Emperor has been shown to be naked—there are no compelling medical-scientific justifications for mandatory HPV vaccination.
Typically, new vaccines, like the one for chicken pox in the mid-1990s, have been rolled out gradually in this country, with public health officials endorsing mandatory use only after several years of experience have shown the new products to be generally "safe and effective."
"Generally the mandates have been enacted over years," said Dr. Janet R. Gilsdorf, the director of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Michigan, in the New York Times article.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel recommended that girls and women ages 11 to 26 be vaccinated with Gardasil. But, the Times reports, members of the committee say that such a recommendation is not equivalent to calling for mandatory vaccination.
Even the vaccine’s advocate, Dr. Joseph A. Bocchini, chairman of the committee on infectious diseases of the American Academy of Pediatrics, acknowledges that "[t]he decision to make this mandatory this early has created a significant controversy..."
Note: The Texas Medical Association is not currently supporting mandatory vaccination. Dr. Carol Baker, a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said two other vaccines for adolescents that were approved in recent years - against meningitis and whooping cough - have not yet been mandated in Texas. "To mandate just one, in my view, is a little odd," she said.
The Times article also stated that "[o]ne activist who frequently criticizes pharmaceutical companies, Vera Hassner Sharav, suggested that the HPV vaccine stood for a campaign to ‘Help Pay for Vioxx’ losses. Vioxx, the painkiller taken off the market in 2004 because it was linked to cardiovascular problems, was also made by Merck."
NBC’s Today show (February 15, 2007) held a debate between two pro-mandatory vaccination—NBC’s "resident doctor" Nancy Snyderman, M.D., joined by Texas legislator, Jessica Farrar, who introduced a bill in Texas to require sixth grade girls to get HPV vaccine—against Barbara Loe Fisher, President of National Vaccination Information Center www.NVIC.org. The debate was a follow-up to a debate ( Feb. 5) between Farrar and Dawn Richardson, president of Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education, which generated a huge number of emails and letters to NBC.
For this second round of the debate, NBC featured the network’s chief medical editor, Dr. Snyderman, who used her "authority" to dominate and tilt the debate toward the pro-mandatory vaccine camp. See the video of the debate on NBC Today and judge for yourself:
Underscoring the reality about the unknown risks that FDA approved drugs and vaccines pose, on Feb. 15, 2007, the FDA issued an advisory to parents to be on the lookout for their babies bowels collapsing after getting injected with the newly approved diarrhea vaccine, Rotateq. The FDA asks doctors and parents to report cases of bowel blockage (intussusception) that babies suffer after getting the Rotateq vaccine to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
Shouldn’t the FDA also be asking doctors and parents to report all serious health problems after little girls get injected with Merck’s newly approved HPV Vaccine, GARDASIL?
Vera Hassner Sharav directs The Alliance for Human Research Protections (AHRP) which advocates full disclosure and accountability when humans are being used as subjects in medical experiments. Sharav can be contacted at 212-595-8974 ; firstname.lastname@example.org
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