Posted by: bridget | 10 January 2007

DC Debates Mandatory HPV Vaccine

D.C. may be the first jurisdiction in the US to require that girls receive the new HPV vaccine. The incidents of cervical cancer in the district are about 50% higher than the rest of the country. While mandatory vaccination would certainly provide a public health benefit (especially if found safe for and used by boys as well, to further reduce transmission), the pachyderm questions the wisdom of such legislation. Polio, smallpox, and measles vaccines serve an important role in directly improving public health: one cannot avoid those diseases once they begin to spread – the secondhand smoke of diseases, if you will. Conversely, HPV is not airborne or transmitted through normal contact.

While the pachyderm believes that DC has the ability and the right to legislate this requirement, she disagrees with the idea of the government as a surrogate parent, having never bought the idea that a few elected people have more child-rearing wisdom than the general population. There is little justification for micromanaging children’s health and even less for usurping the role and the rights of parents. This idea becomese even more noxious when one considers that the vaccine can be administered until age 26: women can, upon reaching the age of majority, decide to receive the vaccine themselves.

Edit: Texas is following suit. Nationally, only about 10,000 of the 150 million American women will develop cervical cancer; about 35% of those will die from it, and it is unknown how many of those deaths could be prevented by the vaccine. That is less than one-tenth the number of people killed annually in automobile accidents, yet the nation is pushing to make this vaccine mandatory (and, in doing so, impose a $400 levy on parents of young girls).


  1. What infuriates me is the lengths gone to avoid the notion of ABSTINENCE. God forbid we surrender the fiction that sexual promiscuity is “empowering” for women. HPV in women is almost always caused by having multiple sex partners.

  2. Ditto. What is WORSE (and what I said badly) is that these girls are in middle school. Yes, middle school. They can get the vaccine at age 18 if they want to screw… but liberals think that only a repressed Puritan would say that. GRRR.

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