Saturday, 27 September 2008


I'm not entirely sure where I stand on the HPV vaccine thing.  On the one hand, I am wary of the possibility that this will encourage promiscuity (I'm ok, I've had the jab, so I'm not going to get any STDs, so I can have "safe" sex), and it might give a false sense of security (Ok, I don't need to worry about cervical cancer as I've had the jab)  On the other hand, the vaccine will help to reduce the risk of cervical cancer.

I did wonder about whether this was being brought in rather too quickly.  It had the feeling (and this was gut reaction on my part, based on the little information on the vaccine which had made its way into the media) of a knee-jerk reaction on the part of the government.

Then the Catholic school in Manchester banned it, even though the Church said that the vaccination wasn't against Church teaching...

Then I read what Joe had to say on Catholic Commentary.  It would appear that the school is a victim of media spin.

Apparently, the school had been involved in trials of the vaccine.  Several students involved in the trials suffered side effects (nausea, joint pains, headache and high fever) so the school governors decided against having the vaccine given at school, but recommended that pupils dhould receive the jabs through their GPs.

Now that really puts a completely different spin on things!

And maybe my gut reaction was right after all!


Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Gardasil is the Merck version. The Brits have bought Cervarix from GSK instead because 1) it's cheaper, and 2) it only vaccinates against 2 of the possible 30 - 40 types of HPV out there.

I'm told that HPV can be thrown off by a health immune system, but the problem is the large number of different forms of the virus you can get. The body can deal with one or two. But when kids sleep around, they can have a lot more than their bodies can deal with. So the idea of a vaccine that will guard against only two or three isn't much help if the kids are sleeping around, as kids tend to do.

Also, let's not forget that the FDA has not yet approved Cervarix, but that Gardasil has killed 21 people.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

St. Monica's gave the side effects as the reason not to have the jab at the school this time, but last year, Msgr. Whatsisname gave a very clear moral reason not to do it at all. And he got slammed for it. I have a feeling that this time he is using the "side effects" thing as a reason not to have it at his school and isn't mentioning the moral reasons because the diocese has told him to shut up about that stuff.

Mulier Fortis said...

Thanks Hilary... I missed your two articles... blame the fact that I've been too tired to blog much!

gemoftheocean said...

as far as the moral "message" Paulinus (over at Fr. Blake's) had mentioned that a woman may be perfectly virtuous...then marry a man who was/is not adverse to sleeping around.

BUT - I'd agree this stuff is too new to trust. Phen-Phen[sp?] anyone?

Let guinea pigs be guinea pigs. Not young girls.

Joe said...

Having followed the links to Lifesite news from the first comment above, I find myself (not for the first time) un-impressed by the quality of reporting carried by Lifesite news.

The clinical/medical information about the HPV vaccines is certainly useful. But the quotation of Mgr Allen does seem to spin his remarks to support a position opposite to what may have been intended - I cannot see any in principle moral objection to the HPV vaccine, but Mgr Allen is quite right to point out that accompanying this there needs to be an education for chastity and marriage, something that would be clearly expected of a Catholic school regardless of whether or not it is allowing pupils to receive the HPV vaccine at school. That the government may be seeing the vaccination programme as a "moral answer" is something well worth warning about - but it does not constitute an argument to say Catholic schools should not co-operate with the programme.

I fear that Lifesite news has quoted Mgr Allen in a way that will prove to be most unhelpful.

antonia said...

I agree with Joe. I can see no moral objection to the vaccine, and I have read many commentaries from Catholic doctors who say the same.

I don't think it would contribute to promiscuity because I don't believe that the fear of catching HPV is stopping any teens from having sex at the moment, so it doesnt make sense to claim that the removal of that 'fear' would result in a huge increase in promiscuity.

There are also plenty of other diseases that can be caught via sex, which this vaccine does nothing to protect from. The fear of catching HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhoea etc, could still act as a deterrent. But the problem is noone thinks it will happen to them.

the social/media pressure, breakdown of the family and of moral/religious beliefs as well as governmental attitude is what actually contributes to promiscuity.

Additionally, not all virgins marry virgins.
a chaste woman may marry a man who had not previously been chaste, and he may pass on HPV to her, and then she is at risk of cervical & vulval cancer because of it.

In my mind the prevention of cervical & vulval cancer is a big big GOOD, and the HPV vaccine is not a immoral means of achieving that, so why be against it?

Additionally, there have been studies of HPV transmission via carers' hands onto the face of infants, and it has been found under people's nails and in public areas (door-knobs, waiting rooms etc). ( I can provide the papers for this if you want)

So it is not SOLELY a sexully transmitted diseases; it can be transferred from skin contact ( makes me think....shared towels? swimming pools?)

I wouldn't wish cancer on anyone, whether they be the most promiscuus person or not, which is why I would support the use of the vaccine.

My only concern would be the physical adverse effects of the vaccine, and there seem to be a number of reports on this. That is the only area over which I would urge caution and probably do some more research.

antonia said...

Also, re-reading Hilary Jane Margaret White first comment;

The reason the vaccine is only against 2 strains of HPV is because these 2 strains cause over 95% of all cervical and vulval cancer.

There are lots of HPV strains, but some of these only cause skin warts on the hands or feet, or if they do affect the genitalia they dont cause cancer.

Also, what you say about the body only being able to fight off one or two strains but then being too overwhelmed to fight off any more, is not correct.

The body can fight off all strains of HPV, including the ones that cause cancer. But sometimes, in some people, the virus 'hides' itself in the cells, so the body cant 'see it'. It is then, when the virus hides in cells for several years that it starts taking over and turing the cell cancerous, producing full-blown cancer.

The problem is that once the virus is in the cell, there is no way at all of getting rid of it. This vaccine stops the virus getting into the cell in the first place.

God Bless

George said...

Ok so the UK wants to use the cheaper, more ineffective vaccine than Gardasil which is being used in the States. Well folks just look at what the more expensive version has to offer (thanks to Lifesite News):

Gardasil - 18 Dead, Thousands Suffer Complications
Growing opposition and flat sales trigger Gardasil manufacturer Merck stock sell-off
By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

July 8, 2008 ( - The public interest group Judicial Watch recently obtained more than 8,000 reports, under the US Freedom of Information law, of adverse events in girls and young women after they were injected with the HPV vaccine Gardasil.

The reports reveal everything from massive wart outbreaks to seizures, paralysis and death.

Ten deaths have been reported since September 2007, bringing the total to 18 since the vaccine was approved for use in 2006.

In this year there have been 140 reported "serious" complications, 27 of which were categorized as "life-threatening," as well as ten spontaneous abortions and six cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a very rare (1 in 100,000 in a healthy population) immune response to foreign antigens such as infectious agents or vaccines, that paralyzes the afflicted person.

"Given all the questions about Gardasil, the best public health policy would be to reevaluate its safety and to prohibit its distribution to minors. In the least, governments should rethink any efforts to mandate or promote this vaccine for children," stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women of Canada commented on the lack of proper testing before Gardasil was pushed through the approval process and the consequences of its widespread use.

"The long-term consequences of Gardasil are not known. The manufacturer admits this and agrees it does not know its effect on young girls' cancer risk, on their immunity system, on their reproductive system, or its genetic effects. In due course, we will know this, possibly in twenty or thirty years from now when these young girls, the innocent subjects of the Gardasil experiment have become grown women and then report the consequences of their having taken the medication in their childhood on medical advice."

Cynthia Janak, a freelance journalist and researcher, reported to the American Life League that she found evidence in the FDA's documentation that they knew that HPV is not the actual cause of cervical cancer but that the actual cause is a "persistent HPV infection that may act as a tumor promoter in cancer induction."

Janal explains: "What we have here is proof that there is scientific evidence that has been published in the past 15 years that states that HPV infection does not bear a direct relationship to the forming of cervical cancer. It also tells us that HPV, if allowed to will be taken care of by our own body's natural processes. . ."most infections are short-lived and not associated with cervical cancer." With this being said, why do we need Gardasil when our own body is more than capable of eradicating HPV? What we need is a government policy to assist women with the cost of getting follow-up tests when persistent HPV infection is present. This would make more sense and our government would save so much money on these types of programs instead of $360 each for the Gardasil vaccination."

The Judicial Watch press release concluded that "It could well be that the vaccine may not do a thing to protect anyone from cervical cancer, regardless of the claims being made by Merck Pharmaceutical. What the vaccine is causing is death and immense suffering among those who have been vaccinated."

After CBS News ran a story about the reported side effects of Gardasil, citing the 8,000 adverse event reports and giving details of a few serious complications - seizures, chronic pain, paralysis, and death from blood clots, the Wall Street Journal reported that Merck & Co.'s shares dropped 4.8% triggering a sell-off of the company's stock and a downgrade of their rating on the New York Stock Exchange.

Read related coverage and articles:

Why Medical Authorities Cannot be Trusted on Gardasil HPV Vaccine By Gwen Landolt

Ontario Catholic School Board Rejects HPV Vaccine on School Premises

Controversial HPV Vaccine Causing One Death Per Month: FDA Report

And by the way I send my kids to a Catholic school so that they can be helped with understanding the rather counter cultural views that should be the moral foundation and backbone of every Catholic - ie that the beauty of the sexual experience is reserved for one man and one woman as husband and wife within the confines of marriage. I have greater aspirations for my daughters than expecting them to have multiple sexual partners starting from the age of 12!

This is another poke at the family and parental rights to decide what is best for their children.

George said...

Here's a good YOU-TUBE link for more information on the HPV vaccine issue:

Seems like there's a lot more controversy within the scientific ranks than anyone is letting on. Why should 'they' be using my girls as guinea pigs in order to make their $zillions, when the whole question of HPV and cervical cancer remains a big unknown? I am not prepared to risk my child's health at this time and the risks are VERY real! The right message for our children should be to make moral choices for chastity before marriage and fidelity within marriage. Sorry if that's too late for many out there, but we have to draw a line in the sand and start anew.

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