Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Conservative Policy on HPV Vaccine is Literally a Matter of Life and Death – And Because of Conservatives There is Likely to be More Death

New Study Shows Incredible Effectiveness of Vaccine – Conservatives Will Apologize (NOT)

It is rather harsh to say this, but sometimes the truth is harsh.  Conservatives believe that they should be heavily involved in people’s sex lives, and that women in particular should live their lives the way Conservatives want them to live their lives.  This means punishment of what Conservatives see as inappropriate behavior.  For example, getting cervical cancer.

For those who do not accept this reality, consider the question of why many Conservatives are adamantly opposed to requiring young women to be vaccinated against cervical cancer.  The issue came up in the Republican race for the 2012 nomination where Gov. Rick Perry had supported mandatory vaccination..

After piling on Texas Gov. Rick Perry in last night’s presidential debate, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is continuing to attack the 2012 frontrunner for mandating that young girls get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

Perry has apologized for the mandate, saying it was a mistake. One of his former top aides had gone on to become a lobbyist for vaccine-maker Merck & Co. and pushed the governor for an executive order.

Social conservatives argue that the vaccine, which protects against a sexually-transmitted disease that can lead to cervical cancer, encourages promiscuity. Perry’s decision has already riled up conservative activists; it might be Bachmann’s best hope to win back those voters.

Of course Ms. Bachmann went on to claim that the vaccine caused serious health problems,

Post-debate, the Minnesota congresswoman sent out a fundraising appeal on the issue with the title “I’m Offended.” In interviews after the debate, she suggested that the vaccine could do permanent damage.

“There’s a woman who came up crying to me tonight after the debate. She said her daughter was given that vaccine,” Bachmann said on Fox News. “She told me her daughter suffered mental retardation as a result. There are very dangerous consequences.”

Bachmann repeated the allegation on the “Today Show” this morning, adding, “It’s very clear that crony capitalism could have likely been the cause, because the governor's former chief of staff was the chief lobbyist for this drug company.”

The statement was such an appalling display of ignorance and  a dangerous thing to say since it might well have resulted in less women getting the vaccine and more women dying of cervical cancer. This action alone was probably the cause of Ms. Bachmann’s withdrawal from politics.

And the good news, the first study of the effectiveness of the vaccine is showing that it is incredibly successful.

The prevalence of dangerous strains of the human papillomavirus — the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and a principal cause of cervical cancer — has dropped by half among teenage girls in the last decade, a striking measure of success for a vaccine that was introduced only in 2006, federal health officials said on Wednesday.

But before anyone gets too self satisfied, note that in the United States the use of the vaccine is no where near what it is in other countries, and as a result women will die who did not have to.

Only about a third of teenage girls have been vaccinated with the full course of three doses, far lower than in other rich countries like Denmark and Britain, where vaccination rates are above 80 percent. Even Rwanda, a developing country in central Africa, has reached 80 percent.

Dr. Frieden said the low vaccination rate in the United States means that 50,000 girls alive today will eventually develop fatal cervical cancer, deaths that could have been prevented if the country’s rate had been at 80 percent. For every year the rate lags, another 4,400 girls will develop cervical cancer in their lifetimes, he said.

How many of those deaths could have been prevented had Conservatives not taken a stand against the vaccine?  Impossible to tell, but if just one death could have been prevented that one death rests at the feet of people like Ms. Bachmann and others who place their own ideological biases ahead of women’s health and well being and even women’s lives.

That’s not harsh, that is harsh reality. 

1 comment:

  1. We'll see what you have to say when 80% of children in Denmark, Britain, and Rwanda develop mental retardation as a result of these vaccines.

    Sorry, I was trying to think like Ms. Bachmann. It was an ill-advised experiment.