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Monday, March 05, 2007

Hard-selling Merc's HPV vaccine

Michael Fumento emails,
To hear the politicians say it, Merck's new HPV vaccine is the greatest health advance since penicillin. Hence, like Polio shots, it should be mandatory for all 11 to 12-year-old girls. Only those "nut cases" on the religious right could oppose a miracle like this, right? Wrong. Indeed, as I
write in The Weekly Standard some of those politicians and allegedly neutral groups lobbying them
are being paid off by Merck. The reality is that this vaccine provides protection 70% of the time against the HPV strains that causes about 1 in 75 U.S. female cancer deaths a year. Moreover the incidence and death rate of that cancer, that of the cervix, has been steadily dropping for decades. It also takes about 30 years on average for those few HPV infections that do cause cancer to reach the point where they are life-threatening, during which time all of those women should be receiving regular Pap smears that would catch the cancer from HPV - or other causes - in its tracks. Yet for this we're going to mandate a series of three injections costing $360 total? And we're in such a hurry to do it that we can't wait for the almost
inevitable approval of a competitor vaccine later this year? Hey, you can't
blame Merck for trying - but you can blame our elected officials.
In the article, Michael states,
a study just released by the CDC says about 27 percent of U.S. females aged 14 to 59 years have it. Importantly, only 2.2 percent of those women are carrying one of the two virus strains most likely to lead to cervical cancer
That means that fewer than six out of a thousand women aged 14-59 carries one of those two virus strains.

This article is a must-read, particularly if you have daughters.

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At 4:56 PM, Blogger Linda said...

The stats on infection rates are thoroughly inflated. I've written about it on my blog repeatedly.

Yes, HPV is quite common. However, the pro-vaccine people jack up the stats by lumping the non-genital varieties together with the sexually-transmitted type, and not splitting the non-cancer-causing strain from the type that causes an unslightly condition, but is noncancerous.


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