Vaccine carries unnecessary risk
I am appalled at the fact that in the fall of 2008 the B.C. government is looking to turn our girls, in grades 6 and 9, into human guinea pigs by providing, free of charge, the new vaccine Gardisal. Gardisal is reported to only protect against four strains of the HPV virus, yet there are 100 other strains out there that it does not protect against.
I am also appalled at the lackadaisical approach we seem to have towards it. Like lemmings off a cliff, we are falling head over heels in belief that this is a safe and effective vaccine to protect our girls. Protect our girls from what?
Merck Frosst Canada, the makers of the vaccine, states that Gardisal does not offer total protection against cervical cancer nor does it offer protection against any other STD or pregnancy for that matter. So why would we agree to such a wild notion? Not since the polio epidemic has Canada ever introduced such a massive inoculation campaign. Campaigns of this type may be needed when a disease reaches epidemic proportions but cervical cancer has never come close to being an epidemic.
Canada has one of the lowest rates of cervical cancer worldwide and the Canadian Cancer Institute ranks it the second lowest cancer threat. Many factors have been linked to cervical cancer including smoking, diet, and birth control pills. Yet we are talking about taking healthy young girls, giving them a vaccine that has not had extensive testing done and praying that the outcome will be a good one.
The federal government is prepared to spend almost $258 million to fund, what some consider to be, the biggest science experiment in decades to hit Canada. The B.C. government’s reasoning for targeting girls in these grades is merely out of convenience. Perry Kendall, B.C.’s medical health officer, has stated that they already have a vaccination program in place for these grades. We protest when animals are used for testing, so why are we not questioning why they want to experiment with our girls?
What is not known are the long-term effects the vaccine will have on the girls who receive it. As more and more girls are vaccinated the adverse reactions are starting to pour in. The clinical trials have not been extensive nor for any length of time. There is no indication how long the vaccine will last when given to girls in Grade 6. What we do know is that teenagers feel invincible as it is, so with the vaccine will our girls think they are protected against everything? We protest when they want to put condoms in the schools as some think it is giving our girls permission to have sex. Is giving them a vaccine that may protect them against four strains of a virus not the same thing?
As a parent you need to ask yourself if you want your daughter to be a human guinea pig. You also need to ask why the government is not taking some of the $258 million and using it for education and better access to free clinics. Before you follow the masses to the cliff do your own research. Our society is truly focused on instant gratification and as parents it may seem easier to get your daughter the vaccine than have to say the word “condom.”