Controversy has been stirring in the hands of state lawmakers as Merck, maker of the HPV vaccine Gardasil, pushes to mandate the immunization to attend public school. Gardasil is a new vaccine that protects against the four most common strains of the Human Papillomavirus, also known as HPV. Due to its 90-100 percent success rate in its testing, the FDA gave Gardasil a special expedited approval for production.
According to CQ Press, conservative lobbyists are against the mandate for a vaccine against an STD in the public school system. They say there are insufficient reports on longer-term results, and also claim that it “encourage[s] inappropriate sexual activity and override[s] parental autonomy.“ Gardasil supporter William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University, however, claims that it is “a hugely impressive advance for women's health.”
Cervical Cancer is a disease that will affect 11,000 women in America this year alone and an estimated 3,700 will die from the disease. Public health experts say that Gardasil “targets cancer-causing HPV strains 16 and 18, which cause 70 percent of cervical cancer, and types 6 and 11, which cause 90 percent of genital warts. “
Muree Anne Dougherty of Augsburg College responded to the vaccine with lackluster support. “ I don’t know how I feel about the schools forcing kids to take [Gardasil], but I don’t think a lot of parents realize how common HPV is…how big of a threat it is to their daughters.“ She supports the movement to raise awareness about HPV in schools. “If people know more of the facts, they won’t need to mandate it, I believe most people will want [Gardasil]. “
Feedback from another Auggie, Jessica Rogers, was a bit more heated. “This is a disease that kills almost 4,000 women a year and we have a significant preventative,“ says Rogers. “The country has a duty to protect us from that. Even if it means a mandatory vaccine.“ She was reminded of the vaccinations that were required of her in middle school. “ Hepatitis is considered an STD, and the government requires vaccinations against that, I don’t understand the hesitation by some parents.”
Gardasil protects against the four main strands of the virus that are “known carcinogens,“ leading to cervical cancer. The vaccine will be administered to females from 9-26. However, physicians recommend the vaccine the most for girls ages 11 and 12. For more information on Gardasil and the Human Papillomavirus, go to medlineplus.com and search for HPV.
(This is for the people responding to my facebook inquiry, feel free to comment, I do check them)