Can't vaccinate against reckless behavior

Dear Editor:

Recently there has been a glut of full page newspaper ads for the Gardasil vaccination. Until recently the ads encouraged vaccination for young girls/women, but now have been extended to include boys. Gardasil (Silgard, Cervarix) is said to protect against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

Basically, of the 100 types of HPV some 30 of those are sexually transmitted and are believed to cause cervical cancer. Yet the vaccination only protects against four of them. Some information regarding side effects is noted in the ads. With a closer look at the side effects, you wonder if it is worth the risk to inflict this on our young girls.

A couple years ago a television newscast reported that some 800 girls across the country had suffered varying degrees of paralysis resulting from the Gardasil vaccination. Young women were shown in different stages of impairment. One girl in her mid-teens seated in a wheelchair resembled a person who had had a major stroke. Her parents, both physicians, thought they were doing something to benefit their daughter. I have searched for that news item for reference, but to no avail. However it is something I have not forgotten.

For males the vaccine is licensed to protect against genital warts and anal cancer. The vaccine has only been available to boys for two years, so data of any harmful effects would not be as extensive as for the girls.

The Center for Disease Control has noted some 18,000 adverse effects from roughly 35 million doses administered. Among those are anaphylactic shock, grand mal seizure, foaming at the mouth, coma, and paralysis. Sixty-eight have died. Now that isn’t many unless your loved one is among the 68. Note that while the vaccination immunizes against only certain strains of HPV, it is not a cancer preventative.

Pharmaceutical companies want states to require these shots for two reasons. It would help cover the cost of research and development of the vaccines and it would relieve them of any financial burden if/when the vaccines produce detrimental side effects. If the government mandates the vaccine, the drug company is off the hook for any victim claims. A bill in Springfield that had been sponsored by Debbie Halvorson to mandate the vaccination was thankfully defeated.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends the injections, so federal health officials usually adopt what that group recommends. Doctors and patients are then asked to comply. There is a push to vaccinate the kids beginning with 11- to-12-year-olds along with any other of their required vaccinations.

It would seem that society has been remiss in educating the young in matters of personal behavior and instead resorts to looking for cures for the resultant ills of irresponsible and reckless behavior. Still parents would be wise to give a lot of thought to these vaccinations, at least while they are still allowed to make decisions for their kids. Parental rights have been rapidly eroding in recent years.

Mary Sue McWilliams
Palos Heights