Family First NZ is welcoming a decision by a South Island high school (Westland High School) to refuse to allow the gardasil vaccine to be administered at the school, and is asking for other schools to make a similar stand.
“Ultimately the decision to vaccinate or not should be made by the parent after having received full and balanced information on its merits,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “At the moment, students are being proselytized with unbalanced information through their schools or health organizations, and parents are being bullied into an uninformed response.”
“The recent revelations that the free meningococcal vaccinations given to children, and which were marketed as the answer to that horrific disease, actually provide only short term protection resulting in a false sense of security for parents, also applies to the Gardasil vaccine.”
A recent report in the New York Times pointed out the vaccines have been studied for a relatively short period — both were licensed in 2006 and have been studied in clinical trails for at most six and a half years. Researchers have not yet demonstrated how long the immunity will last, or whether eliminating some strains of cancer-causing virus will decrease the body’s natural immunity to other strains.
And a Harvard study concluded that it might make more economic sense to rely on Pap smear screening alone which has effectively reduced cervical cancer death rates to very low levels.
“By spending $177m on this vaccine, there is less money available for other health issues including drugs like herceptin and heart disease medication,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“It seems that the government has been a victim of aggressive marketing worldwide by the vaccine makers with many questions regarding its effectiveness still unanswered – including its duration of protection, potential side-effects, and its cost effectiveness. Regular pap smears are still necessary and have been proved to be most effective in the fight against cervical cancer.”
“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,” says Mr McCoskrie.