Family First is warning parents to beware of attempts by calls by the Prime Minister to vaccinate schoolgirls as young as 12 against the HPV Virus.
The Australian and UK governments are funding the vaccine (Gardasil) for 12 – 26 year olds and it has been suggested in New South Wales that parental/legal guardian consent should be withdrawn. This means that girls as young as 12 could be vaccinated for a sexually transmitted disease without the knowledge or permission of the parents.
Family First is opposed to the vaccine for a number of reasons:
1.The effectiveness of the vaccine is yet to be confirmed
According to the Auckland Women’s Health Council, the vaccine has had only limited trials on girls under 16. Two recent studies in the New England Journal of Medicine highlighted the risk that other HPV types could take the place of those removed by the vaccine. The vaccine also does not protect women from many other common STD’s such as Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, hepatitis B or HIV/AIDS.
Even the Health Ministry in NZ says Gardasil is still in the early development stages and its effectiveness is yet to be fully evaluated. And the American National Cancer Institute said it was a risky move.
In May, American public-interest group Judicial Watch said eleven deaths were related to Gardasil, and that there were more than 3,700 reports of adverse reactions (52 life-threatening, more than 100 hospitalised) to the inoculations based on its analysis of documents it obtained from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
2.An unnecessary gamble
Is mass vaccination necessary? Sigrid Fry-Revere, Director of Bioethics Studies at the Cato Institute, recently wrote in the New York Times expressing doubts about the vaccination programme in the state of New York, where all girls from 11 years old are to be vaccinated.
She said: “Gardasil is not all it’s cracked up to be. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that among women aged 14 to 24, the rate of all 37 types of sexually transmitted HPV combined is 33.8 percent. More importantly, the rates for HPV 16 and 18 – the two types responsible for 70 percent of all cervical cancers – are astronomically lower: only 1.5 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively… It’s worth noting that the American Cancer Society sees its fight against cervical cancer as a success story even without Gardasil. When the disease is detected early through Pap testing, the survival rate is more than 90 percent.”
3.Is it safe for a child’s moral character?
Parents are being bullied into a medical response to a moral issue – similar to the myth of safe sex which has been misrepresented to teenagers for far too long. We are accepting by default that kids are going to be sexually active at a time that is not suitable or safe for them. This vaccine is like giving a 12 year old a condom and saying “just in case.” What is the underlying message that child is receiving?
It is ironic that we want to legislate to stop boy-racing, eating meat pies at school, and smoking – yet when it comes to at-risk sexual behaviour, we pump false information about supposed “safe-sex” programmes and then want to vaccinate children to protect them from the harms of that behaviour!
Parents should be concerned that this vaccine programme promotes promiscuity and represents “governmental overreach.” It also re-ignites the debate on issues such as the role of parents and parental authority, and public suspicion of vaccines and pharmaceutical companies.
While Family First is supportive of any attempts to fight cancer, we are opposed to any efforts to force it on girls without parents’ consent – especially when the infection is not a communicable disease but a consequence of behaviour – and while the jury is out on its long-term effectiveness.