Study shows low rate of cervical cancer vaccination

I’ve detected another round of TV ads touting the benefit of cervical cancer vaccinations. “We chose to help protect ourselves against cervical cancer and other HPV diseases. Now the choice is yours,” women in the ad say. Major guilt trip.

The Minnesota Legislature dabbled with the idea nearly two years ago before the sponsor withdrew the bill. There was already some pushback from some parents who said vaccinating girls against a sexually-transmitted disease was tantamount to saying “it’s OK to have sex.”

There was also some discomfort with some of the cash supporting the pro-vaccination campaigns around the country was coming from Merck, the company that made the drug, Gardasil.

Today, federal researchers report that only 1 in 4 girls have gotten the vaccine. About 4,000 people are dying from cervical cancer every year.

“The overall trends are good news,” said Dr. Lance Rodewald, director of the Division of Immunization Services at the CDC′s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. His study measured progress on four area of immunizations, including the virus that causes cervical cancer.

Part of the reason for the low immunization rate — aside from moral objections — is the cost : about $360. Three doses are required before a girl is sexually active. But a recent study suggests another reason: the vaccine may not be cost effective.

Still, the issue is one where the feds and the state of Minnesota disagree. Federal health authorities recommend the vaccination. The Minnesota Department of Public Health does not recommend it because after five years, the effectiveness is in question.

Some people may not have a choice. A federal rule added Gardasil to the list of vaccinations that female immigrants ages 11 to 26 must get before they can obtain “green cards.”

  • Fiona

    Regardless of the potential positive impact on the health of young girls this vaccine may have, it is NEVER okay to force people to put something inside of their body that they do no want there. If we can’t control what goes inside of our own bodies, we have no rights at all.

  • brian

    Girls have sex. They will whether they are vaccinated or not. They will whether they have sex-ed or not. Get over it!

    That said, I think the other reasons not to make it manditory are reasonable. There is a risk associated with all vaccines. I don’t know the prevelance of HPV, so I can’t say whether that risk is justified.

  • Alison

    Framing this as whether or not it is ok for the GIRL to have sex is a huge mistake. You are protecting the girl if she will ever have sex in the future. If a girl ever gets married and has sex with a man, it is her problem if the man ever had sex with another woman and is a carrier.

    No, this shouldn’t be a required vaccine, but this bit about encouraging teen sex is pure BS.

  • Western WI Rugger

    In January 1981 my mom gave birth to my youngest sister. While pregnant the HPV virus she was carrying developed in to full blow cervical cancer. The cancer went undetected until the spring of 1981 when she went to the doctor and didn’t come home.

    Although she was told by her doctors death was very likely, she survived and recovered from the cervical cancer. Being the medical anomaly my mother was she then developed mesotheloma 10 years later and ultimately died from a form of leukemia 18 years after her initial diagnosis. Her Oncologist stated at the time of her death, that the leukemia was likely caused by the massive doses of radiation and chemo she had endured.

    18 years of medical treatment vs. 3 doses of vaccine for $360? Tell me which is more cost effective.

    For any women to have the HPV test (PAP) come

    back positive is incredibly scary. The first thing you think is am I going to die?

    I think the problem adults have with this vaccine is that it forces them to talk to their kids about sex. Will it make the problem go away if we don’t talk about? I doubt it.

    If a vaccine can keep my daughter from going through the same things my mother went through and the fear that my friends and sisters have had to endure then she will start getting them as soon as her doctor recommends it.

    When she is old enough I will make sure that I talk to her about relationships and sex. After all, this is how you ensure that your children learn the morals and beliefs your family follows.