HPV Mandatory Vaccination – "Private wealth should never trump public health"

Lawrence Gostin, JD and Catherine DeAngelis, MD have co-authored an extremely well-written editorial outlining the arguments against mandatory HPV vaccination in the May 2, 2007 issue of JAMA. The editorial can be accessed for free from the JAMA website.

Public health authorities, pediatricians, and infectious disease specialists, rather than political bodies, should drive mandatory vaccination decisions and policies… Since the manufacturer stands to profit from widespread vaccine administration, it is inappropriate for the company to finance efforts to persuade states and public officials to make HPV vaccinations mandatory, particularly so soon after the product was licensed. Private wealth should never trump public health.

The authors are careful to steer clear of arguments that oppose the vaccine on moral grounds. In my opinion, groups using these arguments have muddied the waters by framing this as a moral issue, when in fact, the most cogent arguments against mandatory vaccination are made from a public health perspective, and are medical, economic and scientific.

Hopefully this editorial can be used to combat the continuing attempts in states across the country to introduce mandatory HPV vaccination.

The driving force behind mandatory legislation has been Women in Government, a group of female state legislators that receives funding from HPV vaccine manufacturers for it’s “Campaign to End Cervical Cancer”. According to their map above, mandatory HPV vaccine legislation has been introduced in half the states as of March 14, 2007. To my knowledge, such bills have been vetoed in Texas and New Mexico, withdrawn in California and tabled in South Carolina, but approved in Washington DC.

2 Responses to HPV Mandatory Vaccination – "Private wealth should never trump public health"

  1. Just leaving a comment on the Texas situation. You are right, the lege just vetoed Governor Goodhair Perry’s (to use Molly Ivins’ term) executive order for the mandatory HPV vaccination. The con(servative)s object on the grounds of inappropriate use gubernatorial power and lobbying of Merck (which were both covered in the editorial above). Meanwhile a lot of the Dems supported it, reasoning that the ends justify the means. Of course, the cons were all for Gov. Goodhair using his powers on issues they like (e.g., mandatory school budgeting).

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