Cervical Cancer Vaccine
Cervical Cancer Vaccine
It is commendable that the government seeks to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in New Zealand and save the lives of an estimated 30 women each year from death from cervical cancer. It is disappointing that the government’s strategy for achieving these objectives is by introducing a vaccine next year for 300,000 girls between the ages of 12 and 18 years of age. The name of the vaccine has not been released but it is believed to be Gardasil which was approved by Medsafe in July 2006.
Right to Life is concerned that the promotion and use of this cervical vaccine will give the wrong message to the youth of this nation. The message is that we don’t expect you to keep yourself safe by being chaste before marriage and faithful within marriage, so we are giving you a vaccine to keep you free of Human Papilloma Virus, [HPV]. If the government were really serious about keeping our teenagers safe from HPV the cause of cervical cancer, it would be promoting abstinence education in our schools in place of the dangerous and pernicious comprehensive sex education that promotes contraception and the false “safe sex “ message with condoms. The vast majority of parents want their children to be chaste. They know that if they are sexually active, it can result in sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies.Why then would parents want to undermine this message by having their daughter vaccinated with the implicit message that says “I don’t trust you.”
There is an urgent need for a comprehensive and informed debate in our community on the introduction of this vaccine. Is the vaccine safe? The Federal Drug Administration in Atlanta in the United States approved the use of the vaccine in June 2006. It reports that since approval there have been 7 deaths of young women associated with the use of Gardasil. There have also been 1637 reports of adverse reaction up to May 2007, 371 were serious reactions.
The vaccine programme is being introduced as voluntary. In the United States there were a number of States that sought unsuccessfully to make it compulsory, is it the intention of the government in the future to make it compulsory for all young women to be vaccinated?
The cervical screening programme is an important part of the effort to reduce cervical cancer. The introduction of the vaccination programme could encourage women who have been vaccinated to disregard the need for regular cervical screening.The vaccine is effective with only two strains of HPV. This could result in an increase of cervical cancer and not a decrease.
It should be of concern that there is no extensive research on the long term results of this cervical vaccine.