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New Vaccine To Prevent Cervical Cancer: Should It Be A Mandatory Vaccine?

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New Vaccine to Prevent Cervical Cancer:

Should it be a mandatory vaccination?

Recently the Food and Drug Administration approved a new vaccine called Gardasil. This is the first vaccine developed to protect against cervical cancer cause by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The manufacturers, Merck & Co, along with state legislatures are lobbying for this new vaccine to be mandated for girls aged ten through twelve. There have been many recommendations for females aging nine to twenty-six years of age be vaccinated, but one must remember that a recommendation is not equivalent to calling for a mandatory vaccination. The rush for the mandatory inoculation should not be enacted.

The following information will reflect both sides of the argument concerning the mandating of the Gardasil vaccination. The main point in support of the mandating Gardasil is that it may prevent cervical cancer. No other relevant argument as to why the shot should be required has been made. The negative sides of making the Gardasil vaccination mandatory are hidden, but they are in almost every article which provides accurate information about the vaccine. The contradictions of mandating Gardasil include: ethical issues, controversy among religious and cultural conservatives, severe adverse reactions (including deaths), high cost, and unknown long term effects.

For now, everyone is caught up with the fact there is a vaccine which may prevent cancer. This is a great “leap” for cancer prevention. However, are people getting the true facts and hidden details about Gardasil or are they disguised behind all of the hype?

Gardasil is the first vaccine developed that protects against the diseases caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6, 11, 16, and 18, which include: genital warts, abnormal and precancerous cervical lesions, abnormal and precancerous vaginal lesions, and cervical cancer. The vaccine will not protect against diseases due to non-vaccine HPV types. There are more than 100 HPV strains and Gardasil only protects against four of these (6, 11, 16, and 18). CDC analysis found that only 3.4 percent of females studied carried strains covered by the vaccine. Even though the vaccine only protects against these four types, these strains are known to cause approximately 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts. Gardasil works best when given before one has had any contact with certain types of HPV or sexual contact in general, therefore Gardasil is intended for use in females aged nine through twenty-six ( the push is for mandating it for females aged 10-12). Gardasil is given in a series of three injections over a period of six months.

Gardasil is a vaccination which helps prevent certain strains of the human papillomaviruses, also known as HPV. “HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections” (Dawar 456). “More than six million Americans become infected with the virus each year, and more than 50% of all sexually active people will become infected at some time during their life” (New Vaccine). The infection is passed through any sort of sexual activity involving genital contact with an infected person (intercourse is not necessary for the transmission). “Although HPV is so common, a majority of the infections are asymptomatic meaning the person who is infected with the disease will not show any signs or symptoms, so they can pass on the virus without even knowing it. Despite the fact that the majority of those who are infected show no signs, others may develop genital warts, cervical dysplasia, and even various anal and vaginal cancers, including cervical cancer. However, a carrier of HPV will often clear the infection within two years of contracting it without and serious negative consequences” (Thune 44).

HPV is known to be the source of most forms of cervical cancer because certain HPV strains can cause abnormal cells on the lining of the cervix which can turn into cancerous cells in later years. Cervical cancer develops in “the regions of the uterus, the corpus and the cervix. Cancer originating from the cervix is defined as cancer of the cervix” (Fujimoto 192). “Cervical cancer is the most common malignancy in women, and the second most common cancer in women. There are approximately 9,710 new cases of cervical cancer and 3,700 deaths from it each year in the United States” (Saul and Pollack). “The main symptoms of cervical cancer are vaginal bleeding and abnormal vaginal discharge. The treatments for cervical cancer consist mainly of surgery and radiation, chemotherapy. The most popular treatments for cervical cancer is cervical conization or total hysterectomy” (Fijimoto 193-194). “Cervical conization, also known as a cone biopsy, is an extensive form of a cervical biopsy. It is called a cone biopsy because a cone-shaped wedge of tissue is removed from the cervix and examined under a microscope. A cone biopsy removes abnormal tissue that is high in the cervical canal” (Nuovo).

Because cervical cancer is such a large medical issue, the manufacturers of Gardasil, and even some state legislatures believe it is necessary for the vaccination to be made mandatory.

But why such the rush? The vaccine is a great step towards fighting cancer, but it doesn’t answer all questions. If Gardasil became mandatory it would cause controversy among many religious and cultural conservatives. Mandating the vaccine, many believe it would encourage sexual activity in young girls. It also disregards the rights of the parents to make the decision about

their child’s well-being by choosing whether or not the child should have the vaccination. By mandating the vaccination, “people are being forced to undergo mandatory drug therapy, when they have no disease, under presumption that they might get the disease based on future behaviors. This is medically unethical” (DeSoto).

Even though mandating the vaccine has many downfalls, there are also adequate reasons why it should be mandated. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved vaccine protects against four strains of HPV, which is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. Although there are over one-hundred strains of this virus, the four that it protects against are known to cause 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts. “Even if the vaccine is mandated there would be an “opt-out” provision, letting parents citing religious or moral grounds choose not to have their daughters inoculated” (Saul and Pollack). One



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