Strange Brouhaha

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Mandatory HPV Vaccination

We've talked a little bit already about the opposition of some conservative groups to the idea of an HPV vaccine, but I wanted to bring it up again because we saw something on the news last night considering whether to make the HPV vaccine mandatory for 11-year-old girls.

I don't think mandatory vaccination is a big deal; kids already have to have their shots up to date when they register for school. There's really no possible way to object to the fact of a mandatory vaccination (which doesn't mean that there won't be objections); you can't say that the DPT and MMR shots aren't a good thing. The news story went on to say that if a mandatory HPV vaccination was to become a reality, exceptions would be allowed on religious grounds.

I say that there should be exceptions allowed for anyone who wants one. But there would be a requirement: any parent opting not to vaccinate their daughter against HPV should have to--in the presence of a doctor--look the child in the eye and say "HPV can lead to warts, respiratory problems, and even cervical cancer, but I do not care whether you get any of these things. HPV can even be fatal if left undetected and untreated. Even though this vaccine has proven to be 100% effective in clinical trials, I am choosing not to vaccinate you against HPV."

This is what people who would object to an HPV vaccine are, in effect, saying. The "it will lead to promiscuity" line is a dodge. It means "I think my daughter is a whore and I don't care if she dies". They should be required to say it out loud, to their kids' faces. I think an 11-year-old would get the message loud and clear.

(Yeah, I know...I'm being just as cruel. I just think there should be a way to make these people own up to what they really think. Maybe they should have to say it to an assembled group of doctors and nurses. After all, the primary goal here is to shame the grownup, not wreck the kid.)


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