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The HPV vaccine

Posted Aug 26 2008 4:31pm
Okay, okay, gettin' some emails from people asking what I think of Gardasil, the new vaccine that supposedly guards against some strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) that can cause cervical cancer.

The shots cost $360 and were recently made mandatory for girls (why only girls when boys also carry the virus?) In Texas where, not coincidentally, the ex-chief-of-staff to the governor is--surprise!--now a lobbyist for Merck. No surprise Merck is lobbying other states to make the vaccine mandatory (# of girls x $360 = big profits). If something's mandatory, why do we allow drug companies to make profits? Serious conflict of interest here.

I don't really know about long-term side effects, partly because they haven't done any long-term studies and I don't know if they plan to. Bottom line, here's are article from the NY Times' BUSINESS section on how desperate they are to sell this vaccine. All I know is I don't want lobbyists, advertisers, and politicians making MY healthcare decisions. Eeeek!

THE toughest girl on television isn’t on a show or in a music video. She’s in a drug advertisement. Dressed in an indie-rocker T-shirt, furrowing her fierce, Kahloesque brows and scowling, she says, “I want to be one less woman who will battle cervical cancer.” Cut to a garage, or maybe a basement, where she’s whacking the drums like Tommy Ramone. Then to a shot of her leaning back, nonchalantly flipping a drumstick: “One less,” she says levelly, as if you’re going to argue with her. She’s the coolest girl in the room, whatever room she’s in.

This vision of do-it-yourself authenticity is flogging Gardasil , a vaccine intended to protect women against some strains of the human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease that has been linked to 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. Manufactured by Merck, Gardasil was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in June. The vaccine is available as a series of three shots, costing a total of $360.

A vaccine against cancer: it sounds like the easiest sell in the world. But Gardasil, which can be administered only to girls and women ages 9 to 26, has an audience problem. It has to sell itself to young women"


The mothers appear about halfway through, and they’ve got bad news. In loving tones they break it to their daughters: “Gardasil may not fully protect everyone.” they say. Tenderly they list the side effects .

This is an ingenious ploy : The cool girls want to be “one less”; the moms are the ones putting on the brakes. Having mothers voice the downside of Gardasil reinforces the message that if you get this vaccination , you’re a rebellious, independent thinker:

“Forget the side effects. Forget Mom. I’m gettin’ vaccinated.”

Let my Eeeeeeeeeek cascade down the canyons and to the rivers...

Read more here .

As always, you can use mine:

USERNAME: GreenFertility

PASSWORD: GreenFertility

Answer to secret question: Soylent Green
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