Bob McCoskrie – National Director Family First NZ
Published in Christchurch Press 20 January 2009
The previous government’s commitment to spend $160m over four years on the Gardasil vaccine for cervical cancer may have been more as a result of aggressive marketing by the drug company but without adequate research to warrant the huge taxpayer investment. Two recent articles the New England Journal of Medicine suggest that the vaccines against cervical cancer are being widely used without sufficient evidence as to their cost benefit, and their effectiveness in tackling the disease. “Despite great expectations and promising results of clinical trials, we still lack sufficient evidence of an effective vaccine against cervical cancer. With so many essential questions still unanswered, there is good reason to be cautious,” wrote Dr. Charlotte J. Haug, editor of The Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association.
…Parents are ultimately 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. 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. While we are naturally all supportive of any attempts to fight cancer, parental knowledge or consent is essential when it involves children – 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.