Feb. 5th, 2007 @ 10:25 am
:sigh: So, our lovely how-the-hell-did-he-get-reelected-governor has passed legislation mandating that all females entering the 6th grade MUST have the HPV shot. Not "recommended", you understand - REQUIRED.
On the one hand - great. I've already started Herself on the cycle - 3 shots over a period of 6 months. I'm lucky - I can afford to pick up the cost ($360) if my insurance balks (it'll hurt, but I can do it - so far, they haven't squawked, but it's early yet.) My doc and I discussed it when it first came available - he has studied it, weighed the pros and cons, and decided that he would highly recommend it to all his female patients. Since he doesn't have a record of jumping on a bandwagon for no good reason, I felt good about signing Herself up for it.
On the other hand - Horrid! What about all those folks who simply can't afford the cost? Or the time off to take their girl-children to the doc for a series of 3 shots? What right does the government have in telling me I need to add another 3 shots to my child's record?
And, the cynical side of me wonders how much of a kick-back the state is getting from this.....
Yes, I think it's an important shot. Yes, I had already decided to get the series for Herself. But here's the thing - I had a chance to decided FOR MYSELF that this was a Good Thing. Gut-instinct was "HELL Yeah, let's do it!", but I asked the doc for his opinion - I figured he knew more about it then me (I was right - he's been following it since he first heard about it. I trust him. A Lot)
I guess I'd feel better about the legislation if I knew that he was making it mandatory for the Insurance companies to pick it up - and was setting up a way to subsidize it for the folks who don't HAVE insurance. (And, I don't know if the TX CHiP program - state funded, low-cost child health insurance - will cover this. That hasn't been mentioned yet, as far as I know.)
Oh, and one more thing - it hasn't been around long enough to know the long-term effects...should it really be mandatory when we don't really *know*? I'm willing to do it - if it protects even 50% of the females against cervical cancer, then let's give my daughter the benefit of the odds. But not everyone feels that way. I had a brush with cervical cancer when I was carrying her - it turned out to be a false alarm, but those were the hardest 4 months of my life, not knowing if I was going to be able to carry her to term, or if I'd have to risk her life to save mine. (My ob said his responsibility was MY life, no ifs, ands or buts. THAT was comforting....Not.) I'd rather give her the chance to never have to make that decision...but that's Me. And my daughter. Not yours.
What a legal muddle this is!
part of the trouble I have with it is that it's not known how effective it is (or what side effects it might have either). So in effect we're using our teenagers as guinea pigs for a vaccine that might turn out to be useless or worse harmful.
It wouldn't be the first time that a drug given almost automatically turned out to have horrible consequences. In the 40s and 50s, a lot of women were given Stilbestrol
during pregnancy which turned out to cause vaginal cancer in their daughters. This was a huge deal in the late '60s early '70s when all of a sudden women in their early 20s were getting cancer.
Then there was Thalidomide
The other thing that concerns me is, if young women think they are "safe" because they're vaccinated, they might well be less careful about safe sex practices and thus increase their risk of STDs -- some of which can be just as nasty as HPV, if not more so.
If I had a daughter, I wouldn't get her vaccinated against HPV, because I don't think the vaccine is effective enough to make it worth the risk. Especially if being vaccinated leads one to believe one is "safe" and thus can take more risks. And FWIW, I too have had my brush with cervical cancer -- to the point of cone biopsies and regular paps ever since (which sucks given other issues in my life!).
You do raise good points.
I had/have concerns over the long-term effects, since we are, actually, *testing* this for the drug company. Our doc mentioned them as well, but he feels pretty good about it.....so, we go ahead. Might be a mistake - but it's one *I* made, not one the State made for me. At least I made it with my eyes open.
As for the whole unprotected sex aspect.....Herself is almost 10. I gave her "It's Perfectly Normal" (or whatever the title is) last year, and she's been reading it (and re-reading it) - so far, no questions, and the whole "letting a boy touch me anywhere" thing is "GROSS!" :grin: I've brought up the subject, and gotten No Response..so I wait. We will have The Talk (and a better talk than my parents gave *me*), and yes - if it looks necessary, *I'll* provide a box of Trojans. (Not happily, but - if it's gonna happen, it'll happen no matter what I say, so I might as well do my part to make sure she's safe).
I haven't heard any propaganda about getting the shot = safe sex 4evar!!!11, but that might come later. We'll see.....
I wouldn't worry overmuch about the shot=safe sex 4evar!!!11 In the first place, it's only for *one* sexually transmitted disease, so any teen/young adult who thinks about safe sex isn't going to think the shot made them safe. In the second place, any teen who *would* think shot = safe sex, doesn't stop to think about safe sex to begin with....
I have mixed feelings about the legislation. I guess my question is -- are there other diseases where the shots are mandated by law? I know my schools required measle vaccination, but was that a school system rule, or a state law? If the latter, there is precendent, and I'm less bothered. Most important though would then be whether or not insurance is mandated to cover it.
Re: Other vaccinations - yes, it's state law (here in TX) that kids going to daycare/public/private schools must be vaccinated against...6 diseases. Mumps/Measles/Rubella, Hep A (and B, I think? Could be wrong there..) chicken pox, polio, TB...and maybe something else. I can't remember - they have to have the full list by 5.
I gave Zeph the same book at about the same age. It took a while for the questions and commentary to come up (be prepared for some you don't want to answer!). I point blank refused to discuss what I had and hadn't done: "All you need to know about my sex life is that on one particular occasion I had sex with your dad and you are the result of that."
He's now 17 and I have a good supply of Trojans on hand.
I read an article that the drug company gave your governer $6,000 in his last re-election campaign.
I have alot of issues with requiring someone to get some medical treatment. What happens to that million in one girl who dies from it, The one who was Only getting it because it was REQUIRED for her to get it for school. A shot for a virus that is not like polio and spreads by general contact. I have not read enough about it to have any real clue other than what I just said and that's mostly my opinion that Goverment needs to get out of my doctors office (amungst many other places, but I am a libertarian after all).
See - I hadn't even thought of *that* - but yeah, what of the 1 in a million chance of fatal reaction? *I* can take that chance, but I don't want someone ordering me to take it. :sigh: