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    Megan McArdle and Byran Preston’s Definitive Defenses Of Rick Perry On Gardasil

    Megan McArdle and Byran Preston’s Definitive Defenses Of Rick Perry On Gardasil

    First McArdle on Gardisil:

    As it happens, the arguments in favor of Gardasil are pretty strong:
    HPV causes most of the cervical cancer in this country.  Gardasil and Cervarix, the two approved HPV vaccines, protect against the two most common strains, which together cause about 70% of cervical cancer in this country, as well as the two strains most commonly found in genital warts.
    HPV is not rare; the CDC estimates that at least half of all people who ever have sex will get it.  You cannot protect your children from it by ensuring that they have strong moral foundations–unless you plan to also guarantee that the person they marry has never had sexual contact with another person.  Even devout Christians who are home-schooled and go to an evangelical college can have a moment of weakness–and of course, Christianity is supposed to welcome people who have found Christ later in life.
    HPV is no longer confined to cervical cancer.  Presumably thanks to a boom in the popularity of oral sex, which has gone from a minority taste in the 1950s to part of the standard repertoire of most couples, HPV is now popping up in an increasing number of head and neck cancers, as well as anal cancers (mostly among gay men).  Unlike cervical cancers, we don’t do routine screenings for throat cancer, so this may soon be a bigger problem than cervical cancer.
    HPV may not even be a traditional STD much longer.  No one seems to know whether oral transmission is possible–I
    know that with oral gonorrhea, it’s pretty rare, because the bacteria only infect the throat, not the lips and tongue.  But if the oral transmission route is possible–as it is with herpes–then your kid might get cancer through french kissing.
    The primary purpose of vaccination is not necessarily to protect the vaccinated individual  …
    The vaccine is extremely effective, and the reported side effects incredibly low.

    Then Preston on the story of Heather Burcham, a 31 year old who died of cervical cancer, but not before being a key Perry ally in the fight to defend the mandate:

    Fox aired this interview earlier today, with two friends of Heather Burcham. She died at the age of 31 due to cervical cancer, but in her last months she became an advocate for Gardasil, the 100% effective HPV vaccine. Gov. Rick Perry and Heather Burcham became friends in her dying months. Though he was governor at the time, Perry made time to check in on Burcham and visited her away from the glare of the press.

    Watch the interview with Burcham’s friends, and decide for yourself if anything that Michele Bachmann has said about Perry, crony capitalism and Gardasil makes any sense.

    And of course, read/watch the whole thing(s).


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    et’s discuss the handling of Gov. Perry. This is to my mind the central issue at hand. Let’s first consider the executive order issue by Gov. Perry. Gov. Perry issued an executive order making it mandatory that children of a early-teen age have the vaccine. In addition, the governor provided an “opt-out” provision whereby certain parents could apply for an exemption to the order.

    As to the “opt-out” provision, the Association for American Physicians and Surgeons issued the following statement:

    “Opting-Out” of HPV Vaccine WILL NOT WORK for Many in Texas

    Governor Perry is misleading legislators and families in Texas by claiming that they will be able to “opt-out” of having their 6th grade daughter vaccinated with the vaccine for the sexually transmitted virus HPV. For many families currently, the exemption isn’t worth the piece of paper it is printed on. Besides the simple fact that parents should not have to get permission from the state to make informed consent medical decisions for their own children, here are four reasons why “opting-out” of sate mandated vaccines doesn’t work for many families in Texas: (… .

    It was only after the Texas legislature intervened that the executive order was lifted. Today Gov. Perry says his decision was a mistake and that he said he should have had an “opt-in” instead. So, was Gov. Perry right then or now?

    Then there is that “small donation” matter. Gov. Perry mentioned that he was not for sale at $5,000. One wonders what the price would need to be? As it turns out, it was more like $30,000 in Merck direct donations. Moreover, the Washington Post revealed this week that the Republican Governors Association was a top donor to Gov. Perry. Point being that Merck stepped up its donations to the RGA when Gov. Perry was named to head it. In fact, Merck donated $380,000 to the RGA since Gov. Perry was named its head. The RGA has contributed $4M to the governor over the past 5 years.

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