A bill that would require sixth-grade girls to be vaccinated against an STD that causes cervical cancer is likely to meet opposition in the Texas Legislature.
Although the bill includes opt-out provisions, critics argue that the measure would take away parents' rights, send the wrong message, and cost more than many parents can afford to pay.
The drug typically sells for $150 to $200 a shot, and many private insurers do not cover it.
The vaccine, called Gardasil, targets the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the country, and the cause of nearly all cervical cancers. It causes about 10,000 cases of cervical cancer, and 3,700 deaths, in the United States each year.In December 2006, a similar bill was shot down in the Michigan legislature. California and Kentucky are also currently considering bills that would make the vaccine mandatory.
I was glad to see a similar measure die last month in the Michigan legislature. However, the health of about 162,000 sixth-grade girls living in Texas may be affected by the legislature's final decision, as well as the coffers of Merck, currently looking to a means to pay for all those lawsuits and legal fees associated with their killer drug, Vioxx.
The fight to protect your children from another useless, unnecessary, unproven and potentially toxic vaccine has merely started. Just remember, cervical cancer is virtually 100 percent avoidable without a vaccine.
Cervical cancer is well documented to be caused by an infection acquired through sexual contact. So it is behaviorally avoidable. Also, a New England Journal of Medicine study found the use of condoms reduces the incidence of HPV by 70 percent.
By comparison, Gardasil counteracts four varieties of HPV that cause 70 percent of the cases of cervical cancer and 90 percent of genital warts.
Also remember that, according to the CDC, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in America -- more than 6 million women contract it annually -- yet the immune systems of many women are strong enough to clear up these infections on their own, which is why it only causes 3,700 deaths each year.
If you really want to protect yourself against HPV, in addition to wise sexual practices you can strengthen your immune system by:
On Vital Votes, reader Ron from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, posts: