The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

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More on Merck's Virginian money-grab

Lo and behold, in a followup to last week's story about Virginia's mandatory transfer of money from the Commonwealth to Merck, we find out from the director of the Federal Centers for Disease Control that Gardasil, Merck's vaccine for HPV, might not really be all that effective, and should not be made mandatory in any public school.

The chairman of the federal panel that recommended the new cervical-cancer vaccine for pre-teen girls says lawmakers should not make the inoculation mandatory, as the District and more than 20 states, including Virginia, are considering.
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Taken in a series of three shots at $120 each, Gardasil is the most expensive vaccine on the market. About 45 percent of children would be eligible for free vaccines from the federal Vaccinations for Children program, while the other 55 percent would depend on the state programs and insurance companies.

And for the few of you that suggested that I'm going on an anti-vaccine rampage, consider this gem:

But cancer data show that lawmakers looking to force pre-teen girls to take Gardasil, the lone vaccine on the market, are targeting the wrong age group.

Middle-school girls inoculated with the breakthrough vaccine will be no older than 18 when they pass Gardasil's five-year window of proven effectiveness -- more than a decade before the typical cancer patient contracts HPV, The Washington Times reported last week.
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Merck is still studying Gardasil's longevity and the potential for a booster shot.

See, that last sentence is what I mean about it not being "fully tested" yet. Until we've gone 10 years, and know what the vaccine's effectiveness is at that point, we really don't know if it'll be worth the Billions of dollars that we will be forcing ourselves to pay out for it.

Personally, I still think it's a bum deal.

Hopefully, Governor Kaine will see this money-grab for what it is, and send the bill flying back to the General Assembly, for some genuine debate, this time. The fact that this bill sailed through the Assembly the first time is a shame, considering all of the contradictory information that's out there!

 Tags: hpv merck Ye Olde Dominion


Comments:

#1 Vivian J. Paige 27-Feb-2007
You have done a good job in raising some very valid questions. If I recall correctly, the reasoning behind the young age is that the vaccine has to be administered prior to the commencement of sexual activity in order for it to be effective.

Assuming that is the case, and given that the bill has an opt-out provision for parents, there is something to be said for supporting this bill.
#2 Brian 28-Feb-2007
Vivian,

Many thanks for your thoughtful reply! I do think, though, that it is pretty clear at this point that it is [i]not necessarily true[/i] that this vaccine [i]must[/i] be given "prior to the commencement of sexual activity" in order to be effective, considering that the CDC's own data (which seems to be on-track with the information provided by the National Cancer Society) suggests that the average age in which HPV is contracted is [b]29[/b].

If the Commonwealth forces all minor females to be vaccinated, yet the effectiveness of the vaccine wears off almost [b]10 years[/b] before it is [i]needed[/i], aren't we doing ourselves a [i]great[/i] disservice?

Again, many thanks for your thoughtful input, Ma'am,

Most Respectfully,
Brian
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