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On Gardasil Mandates, Vaccination Rates, and Annoying Websites

February 26, 2008

Newsweek has a current piece asking why Gardasil vaccination rates are less than might have been anticipated. Don’t run off to read the story just yet, though, for two reasons: 1) there’s nothing new in this piece, which reminds us that the shots are expensive, people are afraid it will turn their daughters in sluts, not enough people understand the HPV/cervical cancer connection, and so on; 2) doing so will bombard your ears with an automatically launched video and sound on the unrelated beef recall story.

Dear website managers everywhere: Please don’t force me to listen to and turn off video or audio on your site just because I went there, especially if it’s unrelated to the story I’m reading. I don’t pop into your office and start blathering about things – don’t make your websites do the same to me. I promise, it’s even more irritating than an all-flash homepage. MySpace users, this means you and your profile songs, too.

Meanwhile, the Women’s Bioethics Project blog is talking about whether Gardasil mandates are responsible. The author raises some good points, about long-term effects, the unknowns with regard to cost effectiveness over time, and expected competing vaccines that would allow for more choice. My only comment is that it’s difficult to make such an expensive vaccine accessible without requiring it – many states and counties will provide additional financial assistance when a vaccine is mandated. Counterintuitively, mandating a vaccine (with generous opt out provisions) make actually give many people more choice with regards to the >$300 shot series than not doing so, because it would help make it affordable through county health departments. Of course, this could be circumvented by providing assistance for all vaccines regardless of school entry requirements.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 26, 2008 12:11 pm

    Good point, Rachel — as you can see, our bloggers don’t agree on everything! Make sure to comment on that post on our site!

  2. February 28, 2008 3:32 pm

    I have a feeling this one is going to be a long battle.

    I think if people are high at risk to get HPV they should get the vaccine, but those who are in monogamous relationships obviously don’t need it. My biggest issue with the vaccine isn’t the vaccine itself, but the way it’s being marketed as a cervical cancer vaccine. Most teens and young women don’t realize it doesn’t protect against cervical cancer, it only protects against HPV, so a lot of people are getting this false sense of security that they won’t be at risk for cancer.


  3. Diane permalink
    March 2, 2008 12:28 pm

    I will probably get my daughter vaccinated, but she is only 14 and not, AFAIK sexually active. My hesitation has nothing to do with morality, but with the long term safety of the vaccination. I don’t want her to be a guinea pig. I remember DES.


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