Last week I reported on the controversy of the Gardasil Vaccine produced by Merck (it is important to note that GlaxoSmithKline also makes an HPV vaccine called Cervarix). Many women left comments which confirmed my statements and research with personal stories of their once healthy daughters who are now sick and disabled from this vaccine. This week I will look at which states are mandating that school children get the vaccine and one state that passed legislation for the vaccine to be given to children as young as 12 years old without parental consent.
As I stated in my op-ed piece on the Affordable Health Care Act, I am a libertarian. One of my main concerns about the government controlling our health care is mandated vaccines. To those who think that this could never happen, the simple fact is it’s already happening in our schools and in our military. While I’m a proud Marine, I’m ashamed of the fact that the government has been known to conduct ethically questionable experiments on our troops. In my opinion, vaccines are one of those experiments and rather than do they protect the patient, they ask will the people blindly take them?
While in the Marine Corps, I was vaccinated against every possible disease that there is a vaccine for not once, but twice, sometimes even three times (somehow my shot records never made it to my medical records, which I understand is common in the service). This includes the HPV vaccine, Gardasil. When I say it was mandated, I do in fact mean that I was forced to get these vaccines. Per the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) my body was property of the US Government when I was in the service. You probably think I’m kidding; I’m not. During safety briefs before summer holiday weekends we were told to wear sunscreen (check out the dangers of sunscreen here) because if we got a sunburn while off-duty we could be charged with destruction to government property. Now, that was a little extreme and I don’t know anyone who was actually charged over a sunburn (although it wouldn’t surprise me), it was still true – we were government property. I tried to avoid the Smallpox vaccine and successfully did until we were at the airport terminal boarding the plane for Iraq, I was informed by our unit’s corpsman administering it, “If you don’t get this shot you can’t deploy.”
I sarcastically replied, “Okay,” only to turn around and see the Executive Officer (XO) standing behind me.
Not amused by my sarcasm, he said, “If you don’t get the shot I will charge you with disobeying orders Lieutenant.” He was dead serious.
Thankfully, I have not had any major complications (although the more research that I do, I think I have some ongoing side effects from the Gardasil vaccine).
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) school vaccine requirements are determined by individual states, a right which might be revoked now that states are mandated to enforce individuals to purchase insurance per the Federal government.
In 2006, the Michigan Senate was the first to introduce legislation (S.B.1416) requiring girls entering sixth grade to have the vaccine. The bill was not enacted. According to NCSL, “Since 2006, legislators in at least 41 states and D.C. have introduced legislation to require the vaccine, fund or educate the public about the HPV Vaccine and at least 21 states have enacted legislation, including Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington.”
In February 2007, Texas Governor bypassed state legislation and made an executive order that all females going into the sixth grade had to get vaccinated with Gardasil. In May 2007, state legislators introduced and passed the bill H.B. 1098 to override the executive order.
The Virginia legislature also passed a school vaccine requirement for Gardasil in 2007. To see what legislation related to the HPV vaccines and information has been introduced to your state, see NCSL’s chart here.
No Parental Consent Necessary
Can it get worse than mandating parents to give their kids a vaccine that causes severe side effects and does nothing more than an annual pap can do to prevent cervical cancer? Of course it can. On January 1, 2012, California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill AB 499 into law. It states:
“Existing law authorizes a minor who is 12 years of age or older to consent to medical care related to the diagnosis or treatment of an infectious, contagious, or communicable disease if it is related to a sexually transmitted disease. This bill would additionally authorize a minor who is 12 years of age or older to consent to medical care related to the prevention of a sexually transmitted disease. Time-critical preventive services for sexually transmitted diseases include the hepatitis B vaccine, post-exposure prophylactic (PEP) HIV medication (which must be administered within 72 hours of exposure), and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which, if given prior to exposure, may significantly reduce the risk of certain cancers.”
How did we get here?
This is the easy part. Look at who is benefiting the most -follow the money. In this case, the makers of the vaccines are obviously going to benefit if their product is mandated by use of all children the age of 12-26 years old. Similar to when Texas Governor Perry passed the law to mandate the HPV shot shortly after Merck contributed $6000 dollars to his campaign (amongst other ties to Merck); in California, Merck donated $39, 500 to legislators voting yea on AB 499 according to Cal Watch Dog.
The cost of one shot is $120 and the vaccine is a series of three given over the course of a year. That’s $360 for every girl and boy who gets the vaccine. In most states insurance is mandated to cover this vaccine and there are numerous state and federal programs for those who do not have insurance. With all the side effects and even deaths from this shot, why wouldn’t politicians put those tax dollars to use providing un/under-insured women access to pap smears, a screening test that can catch HPV before it develops into cancer far enough in advance that fairly simple steps can be taken to stop cancer before it even develops? Why, because Merck and GlaxoKlineSmith can’t profit from preventing cancer that way. And how much has Merck made from the Gardasil vaccine? According to CNN Money, Gardasil grossed over $1.1 billion in the first nine months on the market. Unfortunately for Merck, the initial sales momentum has flattened out and is declining. The American public are obviously not buying this vaccine, so Merck and others are going to legislators and to have it mandated instead.
What can you do?
As I always say, GET INVOLVED. Get educated. Complacency, apathy and ignorance are how we got to this point (and Citizens United). Be wary of a bill that puts a private company’s profits above the safety and well-being of the individual, especially one that involves the health of your child. It is incumbent upon all of us to assess the safety and risks of any medication or vaccine before taking it.