The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Opinion-Who gives order, Perry or docs?

Opinion-Who gives order, Perry or docs?

editorial21407Gov. Rick Perry virtually took on the roles of parent and physician to more than three million Texas girls when he issued an executive order requiring vaccinations against the virus that causes most cervical cancer cases.

Gardasil, the vaccine in question, has been highly criticized because many fear that vaccinating against a sexually transmitted disease will open the door for sexual promiscuity. But the issue really is not and should not be about the vaccine itself.

The main concern that should outrage Texans is that Perry has dodged legislation by issuing an executive order.

Typically executive orders are carried out in one of two cases: to create boards, task forces and commissions or to set policy for government employees.

On a technicality, Perry is within his rights to order schools to require the vaccination; however, because of the extent of those affected, many view the action as an abuse of power.

Considering Perry designated items related to appropriations, water resources and sex offender punishments as emergency items, one must wonder why the HPV vaccine was not also on that list of emergency items for debate.

But if mandating the HPV vaccine is not deemed an “emergency item,” why would Perry hastily issue an executive order making Texas the first state to require the vaccine?

The governor recently issued a statement saying his motivation for the order is in the interest of saving lives. But honestly, it is difficult to overlook the much-publicized ties between Gov. Perry and Merck, manufacturer of Gardasil—the only HPV vaccine available?

Given that Gardasil costs a total of $360 for three rounds, if each of the estimated three million young girls in Texas are vaccinated, Merck could stand to gain approximately $1 trillion in revenue. With figures that high, Merck could certainly afford to reduce the cost and ease the financial burden for consumers and doctors.

It should be noted that throughout the media frenzy, Perry has stressed that parents can opt out of the vaccine.

But what he isn’t saying is that opting out is not a matter of simply saying one does not want his daughter to receive the shot. Under the current guidelines for opting out of a vaccine, parents must submit a request for an exemption affidavit that must be renewed every two years. Without a current affidavit on file, the student cannot attend school until she has been vaccinated.

It is not yet known how that policy will change with the new vaccination requirements.  The speculation is Perry will surely have to ease these requirements to accommodate for Gardasil. But what is the point of mandating a shot only to say it will be optional in the next breath?

The bottom line is that if parents and doctors believe the HPV vaccine is right for their daughter, then by all means they should get the shot.

But if Governor Perry plans to continue to make health care choices for Texas children, the least he could do is offer to baby-sit once in a while.

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