It’s difficult to ignore, if not downright impossible, all this talk lately about cervical cancer, HPV and Cervarix/Gardasil, a vaccine that’s currently being heavily promoted in the Philippines. Particularly because two of the loudest voices telling women to vaccinate are RH bill proponents, this is an issue about which people on both sides of the debate should be informed.
Rina Jimenez-David’s defense of HPV vaccine inventor Ian Frazer is cute, but in no way touches on the pros and cons of the vaccine. The piece is misplaced hero worship and irresponsible reporting at best, dangerous and misleading disinformation at worst. Gushing accounts of Frazer’s accomplishments and future plans can hardly be adequate data for women deciding whether to get this vaccine or not. Parents equally need to be aware of the risk-benefit ratio if they are to have their daughters vaccinated. Jimenez-David asked Ian Frazer about the autism-vaccination link, but conveniently neglected to ask whether there are other health issues people need to consider prior to vaccination. In her other article on HPV, she focuses on the costs of “the golden standard” (Pap smears) versus the cost of the vaccine. Does she mention anything about risk factors? No. Just like her support of the RH bill, the attention is directed towards a quick fix, without a corresponding evaluation of real need or long-term implications.
Pia Magalona, on the other hand, along with her daughter Maxene are spokespeople for Cervarix. Magalona is slated to participate in the RH bill debate on GMA 7, to be taped today, May 17th, and aired on May 22. Since the HPV vaccine is an important part of her advocacy, her stance on the RH bill is worth scrutinizing. The future of Filipino women’s health hangs in the balance, as RH proponents are fond of saying. It behooves us then, we who will be the subjects of this great experiment, to carefully examine what they’ve said and what they haven’t.
[Note from SaneVax: This is exactly what every country in the world should be doing prior to implementing and new vaccination campaign….examine the evidence pro and con…then make an informed choice based on sound scientific facts. There is no other way that makes sense.]