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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Vaccine mandate prompts inspection

Vaccine mandate prompts inspection

By Sara Pintilie/reporter

gardasilGov. Rick Perry recently mandated 11- and 12-year-old girls in Texas receive Gardasil, the vaccine for cervical cancer.

“ The HPV [human papillomavirus] vaccine provides us with an incredible opportunity to effectively target and prevent cervical cancer,” he said in a recent MSNBC.com article.

TCC student Terri Doty is opposed to this decision.

“ It’s utterly ridiculous,” she said, “namely because of Rick Perry’s affiliations with the distributor of the vaccine.”

Perry did not involve the legislature on this particular issue, and he has received $6,000 during his re-election campaign from Merck, according to an article on MSNBC.com.

“ I like the original idea, or the thought of it,” Doty said. “I say no [to the vaccine being mandated] because of the political agenda that is shadowing the well-being of little girls.”

TCC student Chinita Manbeck is in agreement with Perry’s decision.

“ I think it’s a good idea,” she said. “I would like there to be a class on the subject before we get the vaccine. I don’t think enough people know about HPV.”

Another concern with Perry’s decision is that requiring the vaccine could be interpreted as condoning sex at a young age.

Kim Bickford, pharmacist-in-charge at the Rosedale Outpatient Facility in the JPS health network, said Gardasil is only a precautionary measure.

“ Kids are going to have sex when they are ready,” she said. “Whether or not they are vaccinated is not going to play a role in their decision. This vaccine no more condones having sex than the tetanus vaccine condones getting tattoos.”

Gardasil is used to protect women from four different strands of the HPV, a common sexually-transmitted disease, which causes 70 percent of cervical cancer and 90 percent of genital warts.

“ This vaccine is, at this time, only approved in women but can prevent genital warts and lesions that can be transmitted to their sexual partners,” Bickford said. “So in reality it can and will benefit sexually active men as well.”

Since Merck launched the “One Less” campaign, Manbeck said she has become aware of HPV and cervical cancer.

“ The first time I heard about HPV was in the commercial I saw about six months ago,” she said.

Though the campaign brings light to the issue at hand, TCC student Lilian Canizales said she does not have enough information.

“ I’m guessing a lot of people [are affected by HPV and cervical cancer] if I’m getting asked,” she said.
Doty said she believes the virus doesn’t really affect her.

“ If HPV is such as threat,” Doty said, “why is Texas the only one on the bandwagon?”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2005, 20 million people in America contracted the virus. Fifty percent of sexually active adults will, at some point in their lives, get an HPV infection.

“ The only negative responses I have heard are from those people who have not enough information about the vaccine to get a clear picture about it,” Bickford said. “Once they know the facts, they seem to be very supportive of the idea of mandatory vaccination for young girls.”

The longest study done on Gardasil is about four years, according to Webmd.com.

“ The only concern I see at this point is possibly long-term effectiveness,” Bickford said. “A booster shot might possibly be needed in the future.”

Possible side effects of Gardasil are itching, swelling at the injection site, fever, nausea and dizziness.

Many medical insurances, such as Medicaid, now cover the vaccine cost, $360 for the three-shot series, and the vaccine has become more available in Tarrant County.

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