Mission: make the HPV vaccine as useless as possible

March 16, 2007

Last week I wrote this piece over at jspot, basically arguing that mandating the HPV vaccine will be totally meaningless if there’s no money to pay for it. Only one state (my home state of NJ, I am proud to say) has included a discussion of funding alongside their proposed mandate.

So I was less than shocked to read that republican senator Phil Gingrey has proposed a bill that would prohibit the use of federal funds for the HPV vaccine (as reported by the Washington Times). Wonderful. The bill, if passed, would not prevent states from mandating the vaccine, it would just prevent Medicaid or regular school vaccination coverage of the vaccine. Props to Kaiser Daily Health updates for linking to the actual text of the bill, which says the following:

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons states that there is no public health purpose for mandating HPV vaccine for schoolchildren. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease. (emphasis mine)

You get HPV from sex, ergo, it is not a public health issue? I can’t even get into how twisted that is. This is not about 12-year olds having sex, it’s about the fact that the vaccine is most effective when given at this early age! I don’t really want to rehash what I said at jspot, but basically anyone who can afford to pay for this vaccine out-of-pocket is probably someone who gets regular pap smears, which would detect any abnormal HPV/cervical cancer cells early enough to treat it. Those who would really need the vaccine, therefore (women who do not have health insurance and therefore do not have regular checkups at the gynecologist) are the very women whom Gingrey is trying to prevent from accessing this vaccine! Truly disgusting.

According to the Times, the bill won’t pass as a stand-alone but Gingrey can and likely will try getting this issue into the 2008 appropriations bill for the Health and Human Services Department. Gingrey, by the way, is an ob-gyn and is anti-choice (surprise!).


One comment

  1. And sexually transmitted diseases aren’t a public health concern because? I’m still trying to figure that one out.
    If the vaccine isn’t given to just about everyone it’s pretty much useless on a macro leve. Basic epidemiology, people.

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