Texas To Order Vaccinations

By Nagognog2 · Feb 4, 2007 · ·
  1. Nagognog2
    In light of the story on the UK ordering anti-drug vaccinations, this should send a shiver up your spine. Step 1?

    Texas Gov. Orders Anti-Cancer Vaccine

    AUSTIN, Texas - Some conservatives and parents' rights groups worry that requiring girls to get vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer would condone premarital sex and interfere with the way they raise their children.
    By using an executive order that bypassed the Legislature, Republican Gov. Rick Perry - himself a conservative - on Friday avoided such opposition, making Texas the first state to mandate that schoolgirls get vaccinated against the virus.

    Beginning in September 2008, girls entering the sixth grade will have to receive Gardasil, Merck & Co.'s new vaccine against strains of the human papillomavirus, or HPV.

    Perry also directed state health authorities to make the vaccine available free to girls 9 to 18 who are uninsured or whose insurance does not cover vaccines. In addition, he ordered that Medicaid offer Gardasil to women ages 19 to 21.

    Perry, a conservative Christian who opposes abortion and stem-cell research using embryonic cells, counts on the religious right for his political base. But he has said the cervical cancer vaccine is no different from the one that protects children against polio.

    "The HPV vaccine provides us with an incredible opportunity to effectively target and prevent cervical cancer," he said.

    Opponents say Perry should have let the Legislature decide whether to impose a mandate.

    "He's circumventing the will of the people," said Dawn Richardson, president of Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education, a citizens group that fought for the right to opt out of other vaccine requirements. "There are bills filed. There's no emergency except in the boardrooms of Merck, where this is failing to gain the support that they had expected."

    Texas allows parents to opt out of inoculations by filing an affidavit objecting to the vaccine on religious or philosophical reasons. Conservative groups say such provisions still interfere with parents' rights to make medical decisions for their children.

    The executive order is effective until Perry or a successor changes it, and the Legislature has no authority to repeal it, said Perry spokeswoman Krista Moody. Moody said the Texas Constitution permits the governor, as head of the executive branch, to order other members of the executive branch to adopt rules like this one.

    The federal government approved Gardasil in June, and a government advisory panel has recommended that all girls get the shots at 11 and 12, before they are likely to be sexually active.

    Merck could generate billions in sales if Gardasil - at $360 for the three-shot regimen - were made mandatory across the country. Most insurance companies now cover the vaccine, which has been shown to have no serious side effects.

    The New Jersey-based drug company is bankrolling efforts to pass state laws across the country mandating Gardasil for girls as young as 11 or 12. It doubled its lobbying budget in Texas and has funneled money through Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country.

    Perry has ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company's three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Perry's former chief of staff. His current chief of staff's mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.

    The governor also received $6,000 from Merck's political action committee during his re-election campaign.

    A top official from Merck's vaccine division sits on Women in Government's business council, and many of the bills around the country have been introduced by members of Women in Government.

    Merck spokeswoman Janet Skidmore would not say how much the company is spending on lobbyists or how much it has donated to Women in Government. Susan Crosby, the group's president, also declined to specify how much the drug company gave.

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  1. darawk
    I don't think this is so bad. There are many vaccines children are required to get to be in public school, this isn't anything new.

    That being said, the idea of forced vaccinations is one I dislike in general, but it's at least not a new policy.
  2. sg43
    SWIM thinks its a great idea, well mostly because SWIM contracted HPV but since he is a male it is not such a big deal, except for the expensive and painfull treatment he had to go through.

    Also he recently met someone who now has cervicial cancer because of it.
  3. Riconoen {UGC}
    Next it's tracking chips in your arms. Seriously I think the government has no bussiness ordering you to do anything with your own health.
  4. Shiacmkmleer
    Florida might do this too


    Florida may require vaccine for girls

    Some key state lawmakers want to require Florida girls to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer.


    [email protected]

    PRECAUTION: Nicole Giacopelli, 17, gets a shot of the new cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil from her pediatrician, Dr. Jill Stoller, in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.
    TALLAHASSEE - Top Florida lawmakers want every 11- and 12-year-old girl in the state to get a vaccination that would protect them before they risk getting a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer.
    The proposal, backed by Republicans and Democrats, mirrors legislation under consideration in about 20 other states, including Texas, where Gov. Rick Perry issued an executive order Friday that bypassed state lawmakers to mandate the vaccine.
    Proponents describe the vaccine Gardasil as a life-saver. Clinical trials show the vaccine blocks four types of the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, which causes genital warts and about 70 percent of all cervical-cancer cases. The World Health Organization lists cervical cancer as the second most common cancer among women.
    Dr. Martin Myers, director of the nonprofit and independent National Network for Immunization Information, said he's ''wildly enthusiastic'' about Gardasil, describing it as a ``milestone in public health.''
    But he said he is concerned about immunizing so many people so fast. His big worry: It would spook parents who would decide to opt out of other immunizations such as for measles and diphtheria.
    ''This might be too fast,'' Myers said. ``There are many moral, ethical and social issues that have not been fully discussed yet.''
    A number of Christian activists say they're concerned that the measure -- though it would allow parents to opt out -- would nevertheless promote promiscuity in children. And they point out the legislation right now benefits just one pharmaceutical firm, Merck & Co.
    Merck, which stands to earn more than $1 billion next year from Gardasil, helps fund Women in Government, an advocacy group touting the vaccine, and helped write the proposed legislation.
    If mandated in Florida public schools, Gardasil would be the only vaccine to guard against a noncontagious disease. The bill calls for the shots next school year and would affect at least 60,000 Florida girls.
    State Rep. Ed Homan, a Tampa Republican and an orthopedic surgeon, said he's pushing Gardasil for one reason: It works.
    ''This has to do with health. Not religion. Not sex,'' Homan said. ``There are people who don't want their kids to have measles vaccines and mumps vaccines. That's fine. If they want their kids to get sick, they can opt out. If we had let this mentality reign years ago, polio would be a major crisis today.''
    The vaccine's three shots add up to $360, but Homan and Merck say it costs much more money to treat cancer victims than to prevent their disease. Nationwide, about 10,000 women yearly get cervical cancer; 3,700 die from it.
    Conservative activist Carol Griffin, of the Eagle Forum family group, said she understands trying to save lives, but she doesn't like government giving such strong approval to a vaccine closely linked with sex.
    ''What's the message here in Florida? It looks like they're trying to increase the sexual activity of our young girls,'' Griffin said.
    Griffin also questioned the claims of Merck, which faced lawsuits over claims about the safety of the drug Vioxx, and just won approval for Gardasil in June. Gardasil is in use in a number of state and federal programs for the poor.
    ''What's this going to do to people in 20 years? They don't know. There are side effects,'' Griffin said, echoing similar concerns from the Florida Catholic Conference, which is lobbying to allow parents to opt in to the program, rather than requiring them to opt out.
    The Florida legislation has yet to be debated in any committee heading into this spring's 60-day lawmaking session. A spokeswoman for Gov. Charlie Crist said he is busy with Central Florida tornado relief efforts and hasn't taken a position on the legislation.
    The bill likely will have a tougher time in the more conservative House than in the moderate Senate, where Catholic conservative Mike Fasano, a Port Richey Republican, is sponsoring it with former Senate President Jim King, the Jacksonville Republican who chairs the rules and calendar committees.
    Fasano gave a similar reason for backing this legislation. ''In the end, this saves lives,'' Fasano said.

  5. Riconoen {UGC}
    Jesus Christ monkey balls it's United Stalinist America all over again....
  6. Jatelka
    The only "moral, ethical and social issue" here is that this vaccine PREVENTS WOMEN GETTING CANCER
  7. Shiacmkmleer
    yea but still REQUIRING it although if I had a daughter I'd strongly recomend that she get this vaccine I don't like the government requiring anything
  8. Riconoen {UGC}
    Exactly. the government has no bussiness requiring anything that has to do with our personal health.
  9. old hippie 56
    Here what East Texans are saying about this subject.

    Reaction to HPV vaccinations mixed
    Some health officials believe it could lead to false sense of security; legislators plan to fight the order

    By BRIDGETTE R. OUTTEN , News Messenger

    Saturday, February 10, 2007

    Both state Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler) and Rep. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) have voiced opposition to Gov. Rick Perry's recent mandate that all girls in Texas schools entering the sixth grade be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV).

    HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that, if left untreated, causes cervical cancer.

    The order is scheduled to take effect September 2008.

    And while legislators can see potential benefits but are concerned about morality, cost and parents' rights, local health officials are in a similar predicament and have questions about issue ranging from girls being lulled into a false sense of security regarding sex to how long the vaccine will actually last.


    On Feb. 2, Perry made public an executive order making it mandatory that all girls ages 11 and 12 prior to entering the sixth grade be vaccinated with Gardasil, a new FDA-approved drug that prevents four types of HPV. The strains Gardasil protects against include HPV Types 16 and 18, which cause 70 percent of cervical cancer cases; and HPV Types 6 and 11 which cause 90 percent of genital warts cases, according to the drug company's Web site.

    "The HPV vaccine provides us with an incredible opportunity to effectively target and prevent cervical cancer," said Perry in a press release announcing the order. "Requiring young girls to get vaccinated before they come into contact with HPV is responsible health and fiscal policy that has the potential to significantly reduce cases of cervical cancer and mitigate future medical costs."

    Perry's determination for the vaccination is already under scrutiny, as there have been reports of ties between him and executives of Merck & Company pharmaceuticals, manufacturer of Gardasil for females 9 to 26.

    If the order stands, Merck will make billions of dollars, as the vaccination requires three injections over six months, a total of $360 per treatment.

    Side effects include nausea, dizziness, headaches and some redness at the site of injection, according to the Web site.



    But Hughes and Eltife are against the mandate, saying that first and foremost, Perry should not have circumvented the Legislature on the issue.

    "This is too big to be done with the stroke of a pen without full and thorough debate," said Hughes, adding that he normally supports the governor. "But we're not sure the governor even has the power to make such an order."

    Hughes filed a bill last week that prevents the vaccine from being made mandatory and he has prepared a rider to the state budget to prevent any funding from going toward a mandatory HPV vaccination program, saying that such a decision is between a child, her parents and her doctor.

    Hughes said that the idea of the vaccination was not new to him, but the process had just been started to find out if the treatment would be a good idea, how it would affect students and such.

    "We don't know what all the side effects might be," Hughes said. "And there's some speculation that this is an attempt for Merck to grab the market share right now because they are the only ones with the vaccine."

    Eltife agrees that Perry should not have used an executive order and that the issue of the vaccine should be between the parents, the doctors and the children.

    "I would like to see the governor rescind the order," Eltife said.

    'A lot of doctors say that to mandate at this point would be premature," he added. "...The use of an executive order for this is unwarranted. It's not an emergency. At the very least, it's misuse of an executive order."

    Eltife said he is not opposed to the state providing funding for those who want the vaccine, but both he and Hughes say the program should be opt in rather than opt out.

    To opt out, parents must complete an official form from the state stating either philosophical or religious reasons and have it notarized. It is then kept on file for two years before the process has to be done again.

    "We're not going to back off on this," said Hughes. "...This doesn't have to be a huge fight but we will fight for it if we have to."


    Dr. Robert Palmer, Harrison County's authority for the state health department for more than 30 years, supports the mandate and said that it's safe.

    "I think it's a good idea," he said. "The trouble is, who's going to pay for it?"

    The more sexual partners a female has, the greater is her risk of contracting HPV, a virus that acts as an irritant to cells on the cervix, according to Palmer. Over time, and if a female hasn't had a pap smear in five to 10 years to catch early mutations, those irritated cells can become cancerous.

    The idea behind Perry's order is to vaccinate females before they begin having sex.

    But if the county had to come up with the money to vaccinate thousands of girls entering sixth grade every year, Palmer doesn't think it could do it.

    "The state's going to have to (or) somebody's going to have to come up with some money to pay for this," he said. "There's a lot of people in our school system in that age group. Parents can't afford that."

    Shots Across Texas, a program that assists with many vaccinations already, may offset some of the cost, said Linda Stobaugh of East Texas Border Health Clinic.

    But primarily "who's going to pay for that?" Ms. Stobaugh asked. "You and me. Taxpayers."

    Perry has also reportedly set aside $72 million for underinsured and unisured girls to receive the vaccine.

    Ms. Stobaugh said she has mixed feelings about the whole issue.

    "From the health official point of view, it would be good," she said. "Kids are having sex earlier and earlier and parents don't know where they are or what they are doing."

    And there are girls who have been having sex, but can't or won't go to the doctor and won't go to their parents.

    But the vaccine might cause a false sense of security for such students and it won't stop the spread of Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS or herpes, warned Ms. Stobaugh.

    In the Marshall Independent School District, Nurse Theresa Crandell, supervisor of the health department for the last year, said her role is simply to make the transition for parents easier and offer as much information as possible about the virus and the vaccine.

    However, Ms. Crandell and her husband are the parents of a sixth grader, and from a parent's perspective, she is concerned.

    "I'm not sure they know enough about it," Ms. Crandell said of the vaccine, citing that so far, the vaccine only protects girls for about five years.

    "If it has to be repeated in five years, when girls are in eleventh grade, we have the expense of sixth graders and 11th graders," she said.

    Ms. Crandell also agrees with Ms. Stobaugh about girls feeling safer about sexual activity.

    "They may get the wrong idea and think 'I'm protected against this,'" she said.

    Palmer believes that misinformation in the media might affect female adults the same way.

    "It's been (insinuated) that with the vaccine, you no longer have to get a pap smear," he said.

    Also, the governor's plan seems to be at odds with the state's "abstinence-only" sex education curriculum, Palmer agrees.

    "I know some say, 'Well, we're going at this the wrong way; we should teach abstinence,'" Palmed allowed. "Well, I agree, OK. But some people, no matter what you teach them, will participate in dangerous things.

    "...It's kind of controversial," he said. "(But) if anyone can answer that question: how do you keep people from doing things that injure their bodies?...I don't know. I've been doing this a long time and I don't know."

    Palmer said that Gardasil can potentially "wipe out 75 percent of cervical cancer" but there are other causes of cervical cancer and there are other things to look for in a pap smear. This is especially important since doctors are now concerned that with one cause of cervical cancer essentially eliminated, another cause can become more prevalent, Palmer said.

    As of now, health officials in the county, city and school district have been flooded with information on the pending vaccinations, which will require sixth grade girls to have them before they can go to school, as with any other vaccination.

    "We want them to go to school," said Ms. Crandell, stressing that the district will do everything it can to make sure parents are given the proper instructions and pros and cons of the vaccine — regardless of any of the district health staff's personal feelings on the subject.

    "If I have to get it for my child, I have to get it for my child," she said. "(But at the district) the children are our priority."
  10. Broshious
    If I'm not mistaken there are vaccines required already. Seems these only apply if you want your child to attend school(I'm guessing most parents do).
  11. botas
    for the swims out there wondering why the government would want to require this, think about it. first of all, by requiring, this helps gain the pharmaceutical companies revenue that can in turn be taxed by the government. furthermore, by reducing the amount of people that suffer from this it keeps more able workers in the economy that can also be taxed. a person sitting at home getting treatment for an assload of warts can't make money, and in turn, the gov't can't tax them. so basically you have a law that helps the economy and *supposedly* betters health, (although the peace of mind this would provide MAY lead to more people getting other STD's...). well... at least you have a law that makes the government more money...
  12. emineo
    Sex education in Texas schools consists of abstinence.

    No one finds it hypocritical, ironic, conspiratorial, or stupid, that a sexually transmitted disease vaccine will be required in a state that has 0 sex education policy?

    I wouldn't necessarily argue against the benefits of the vaccination, but required vaccination should only be for unavoidable communicable diseases.

    Having sex is avoidable and rather intentional.

    Comparing this to polio is asinine unless you have ever found yourself mysteriously infected with chlamydia or gonorrhoea.

    If Gov. Perry is so intent on sparing his constituency from disease, he should launch an education initiative in Texas paid for by Merck about the vaccination and offer to subsidize the vaccination while still leaving it optional. That's called choice, aka freedom.
  13. El Calico Loco
    Never mind that this vaccine is relativity new. The ones pushing this have no idea what the long-term consequences might be; it might perhaps be worse than the relativly slight chance of contracting cervical cancer due to HPV.

    Though, in reality, it is not so much that they don't know...it's that they don't care. It's a feel-good initiative to score points for that slimeball Perry.

    (Aside: though he is a slimeball, that slimeball is responsible for one of my all-time favorite quotes from a politician: "Adios, Mofo." :) )

  14. Shiacmkmleer
    The vaccines that re required now (i believe) are things that can be spread from person to person through normal contact... not sexual contact
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