Thursday, October 08, 2009

Not my daughters.

I don't talk much about immunizations on my blog, because I think others do a better job of it than I.

Routine childhood vaccinations are a touchy subject. The majority of people don't ever question them, simply giving them to their children on the usual schedule. I'm not going to go into that here, though for the record I vaccinate my daughters on a delayed schedule. (Should I have any more kids, I intend to follow the schedule proposed in The Immunization Book, by the younger Dr. Sears.)

What this post is about is this story:

Gardasil Researcher Speaks Out

Gardasil, if you aren't immediately familiar with it, is the new vaccine for Human Papilloma Virus, a sometimes sexually-transmitted virus that can lead to cervical cancer.

Those who promote the vaccine--which they want us to give to our preadolescent daughters--have been doing a pretty good job of painting the opposition to the vaccine as coming from a bunch of buttoned-up far-right-wingers who are terrified of their precious daughters *gasp* having TEH SECKS.

And for some reason, we've let 'em.

Here's the crux of my opposition to this vaccine: It is incredibly new and I am not convinced of its safety. I am not the only one, but a good many of those bitching about it aren't exactly believable (Mercola, anyone?).

Dr. Diane Harper was one of the researchers for this vaccine. She helped bring it to market. If anyone has credibility, then, she should. And she has her doubts:

This raises questions about the CDC’s recommendation that the series of shots be given to girls as young as 11-years old. “If we vaccinate 11 year olds and the protection doesn’t last... we’ve put them at harm from side effects, small but real, for no benefit,” says Dr. Harper. “The benefit to public health is nothing, there is no reduction in cervical cancers, they are just postponed, unless the protection lasts for at least 15 years, and over 70% of all sexually active females of all ages are vaccinated.” She also says that enough serious side effects have been reported after Gardasil use that the vaccine could prove riskier than the cervical cancer it purports to prevent. Cervical cancer is usually entirely curable when detected early through normal Pap screenings.

What it boils down to for me is this: I have daughters. Each one is an individual. Her own person. She has, therefore, an inalienable right to bodily integrity (nope, not a one of my girls has holes in her ears). I'm not gonna fuck with that for the sake of making them guinea pigs.


SpeakerTweaker said...

Is it just me, or are the mandatory vaccinations all for diseases we've actually cured?

If HPV isn't cured, and Gardasil doesn't inoculate one from HPV, then how can talk of making Gardasil a mandatory injection even be considered in the first place, side effects be damned?

Once again, I get chills down my spine anytime someone wants something to be mandatory, which is just a PC way of saying the .gov will force it on you at gunpoint.


TBeck said...

I agree that inoculating preteens against an STD is weird. We've had some "Ready, fire, aim" approaches to recent vaccines. My eldest received a rotovirus vaccine as an infant. Eighteen months later her sister didn't because the vaccine was found to cause intestinal blockages. We also decided to wait until the science is a little more settled for the HPV vaccine.

Albatross said...

Is it just me, or are the mandatory vaccinations all for diseases we've actually cured?

No. Measles and mumps have not been "cured," nor have a host of other diseases. We have vaccines for them to protect people from infection and to control their spread.

Vaccinations are for controlling diseases that are still out there and that could run rampant if we didn't control them. Through vaccinations. Once a disease is eradicated, then there would be no more need for the vaccine. Think polio. When I was a wee lad, the danger of polio was still out there, so I've got one of them nice circular scars on my left arm where I got a polio vaccine. By the time my children were born, polio in the U.S. had been pretty much wiped out, so there was no need for a vaccine. Therefore, my kids don't have those nifty little scars because they didn't need the vaccine.

When we wipe out measles and mumps and other such diseases, then there will be no use for the vaccines. Until then, a schedule of shots is a pretty good idea for keeping the general populace as healthy as possible.