Sunday, October 2, 2011

News Brief: Remark on HPV Could Ripple for Years

Marie J Murphy

During last week’s debate for republican presidential candidate, Michelle Bachmann was quoted questioning the safety of the recently produced vaccine that protects against cervical cancer. The vaccine safeguards against the acquisition of HPV, the cancer inducing sexually transmitted infection. Bachmann announced that the vaccine is dangerous, although semi-recanting after being attacked by opposing medical experts. Dr. Wharton, a deputy director at the CDC, exclaimed that the rates of immunization are not meeting goals, especially with the high levels of transmission, and that Bachmann’s statement will do little to help the cause. Opinions of politicians, regardless of their validity, have a large impact on public opinion and can be very damaging to public health efforts, especially when they lack of factual basis involve highly controversial topics. In the case of the HPV vaccine, there is already a low uptake of the regimen because of social stigma and its identification as “the sex” vaccine. Since it is administered around the ages of early puberty, many parents will not approve it for their children for fear that it encourages sexual acts. Misconceptions about the vaccine continue to drive its lack of application in the general population. Despite its effectiveness, misunderstanding of the purpose of the vaccine hinders the widespread application.According to Dr. Deborah Saslow, the director for breast and gynecological cancer at the American Cancer Society, the vaccines are “93 to 100 percent effective at preventing infection with HPV Type 16 and Type 18” (Grady). As of this year, more than 35 million doses of the two cervical cancer vaccines have been disseminated in the United States, with projections likely to drop because of continued political involvement in the debate, which can not be afforded.

Reference: Grady, Denise. "Remark on HPV Could Ripple for Years." The New York Times. Web. <> Sep 19 2011.
blog comments powered by Disqus

TuftScope: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Health, Ethics, and Policy

TuftScope is a student journal published biannually in conjunction with Tufts University since 2001. Funding is provided by the Tufts Community Union Senate. The opinions expressed on this weblog are solely those of the authors. The staff reserves the right to edit blog postings for clarity and to remove nonfunctional links.

  © Free Blogger Templates Autumn Leaves by 2008

Back to TOP