Parents and guardians could opt their children out of receiving the shot for religious and other reasons. This executive order by Perry has made national headlines. One reason--Gardasil was only approved by the FDA less than a year ago.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is so enthusiastic about Gardasil that a week ago, he ordered all girls in the state to be immunized before entering sixth grade, as of September 2008. Prompted in part by a vigorous lobbying campaign by Merck, which stands to earn billions of dollars if the vaccine is required, legislators in 23 other states and the District of Columbia have proposed mandating vaccination against HPV for girls as young as 11.
Gardasil may well be the huge medical breakthrough it appears to be. But a rush to make it mandatory, less than eight months after FDA approval, could have detrimental consequences. Among the reasons to move more deliberately:
•Scientific uncertainty. The history of new drugs and vaccines is that unexpected adverse events might not be detected until after millions of people have used them, and the FDA does a poor job of tracking post-approval effects.
Often times, side effects of medications and vaccines are not shown until they have been taken by millions.
Mandantory immunizations in cases such as polio, TB, or other debilitating diseases with risk of epidemic makes some sense. However, HPV is spread primarily through heterosexual contact. There are several things wrong with mandating an immunization in this case.
1) What 11 or 12 year old girl needs to be having sex? If she is, even with her "consent" (which is legally nonexistent), it is statutory rape.
2) HPV is not spread through casual contact, therefore one should hope it would be rare to actually contract the virus at school, of all places.
3) An STD immunization should be between a child, his/her parents, and their pediatrician.
4) HPV is not limited to females; boys are quite as capable of contracting and transmitting the virus as girls are.
5) As many politicians are supposedly concerned about HPV causing precancerous cervical lesions in our girls, why are they not concerned with our boys having precancerous penile lesions? Boys and girls would merely have the same thing in different places.
Does this make any sense at all?