HPV Vaccine

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John Bambenek has a post on the new HPV vaccine, recently approved and soon to be distrubuted to 12-year old girls in your local middle school. This reminds me of something else I heard on that On Point show I blogged about earlier this week.

The vaccine targets strains of HPV that are known to lead to cervical cancer. The vaccine is thus being touted by some as a "cancer vaccine." The problem is that it only prevents about 70% of cancer-causing HPV strains, and its effectiveness is in such doubt that Janet Gilsdorf, Chair of the HPV Working Group for the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices says an 11 or 12 year old girl receiving the vaccine will hace her chance of getting cervical cancer decreased by 20-66%.

Now, yeah sure 20% less cancer is good. But how many times have you heard this figure mentioned? Isn't it a little disingenuous to tout a "cancer vaccine" whose effectiveness could be as low as 20%? How many young girls receiving this vaccine will have an unjustified sense of being protected from this virus and from cervical cancer?

A real argument can be made that this vaccine will do more harm than goodUnfortunately, there's no way to quantify a "false sense of security," so we'll never know and proponents will continue to paint people with real concerns about this as puritanical fascists while they go on encouraging teenage kids to live in a fantasy land of consequence-free sex.

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on July 14, 2006 8:04 AM.

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