[SaneVax: Kudos to author Chris Kaiser for openly discussing both sides of the HPV vaccine controversy. If more journalists would be willing to do this perhaps it would restore a little public confidence in the medical industry. Medical consumers need a lot less emotion and name calling. Open honest debate and sufficient information to make informed choices is not too much to ask for.]
Emotions Run High Over Value of HPV Vax
By Chris Kaiser, Cardiology Editor, Medpage Today
There was a battle last week among those who commented on the survey question about human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination.
The one-third of respondents who indicated that HPV vaccination should not be encouraged mentioned quite a few problems and asked quite a few questions, including:
- Where is the data regarding the vaccine’s superiority to pap smear?
- What is the long-term toxicity?
- What about the debilitating side effects?
- Who will pay for a broader educational effort to encourage vaccination?
“Pap smears detect cancer; they do nothing to prevent cancer,” countered one of the 57% of voters who favored vaccination along with a broader educational campaign to encourage it.
There were parallels drawn to the autism/vaccine debate, but in this case, “the tables were turned on us and the parents focus on sexual activity not cancer prevention,” said a reader.
Some readers responded to comments about the potential for the vaccines to cause harm, by comparing them to “medications as common as Tylenol that can produce in some people a rare deathly liver failure,” but this is not a reason to avoid the drug.
Another reader had this response to the naysayers: “Complete ‘junk science’ and ‘fearmongering’ regarding ‘debilitating side effects’ of this vaccine. The benefits far outweigh the risks.”
“That old mantra — that the risk is worth the benefits — is seriously outdated,” said a woman who advised against her grandchildren receiving the vaccine.
What about teaching sexual morality?, a reader suggested. The answer came from another commenter: “Because [sex education is] not a moneymaker for pharmaceutical companies.”
Indeed, Big Pharma got slammed by readers as did the government for its close relationship with industry.