Saturday, 13 October 2007

There May Be Trouble Ahead...

Not content with the furore over the MMR jab (which, IMHO, could have been avoided simply by allowing parents to opt for immunisation with three separate jabs for measles, mumps and rubella - it was the triple jab which occasioned the autism controversy), the Department of Health wants to bring in a new jab: the plan is to give jabs against the human papilloma virus (HPV) to all girls in Year 7 (that's the old First Year of secondary school for any middle-aged readers from England, and 11-12 year-olds for the rest of you.)

The Daily Mail has an article on it (I was in the garage a long time), though either they got the age-range wrong, or the Year Group for whom the immunisation programme is planned. Year 7's are 11-12 years old.

There are (surprise, surprise!) questions as to how safe this vaccine is.

Dr Szarewski [a researcher from the Wolfson Institute, London, who researches the effects of HPV] said safety data showed vaccination caused very few side-effects apart from a sore arm and some people who experienced flu-like symptoms.

But Jackie Fletcher of the vaccine awareness group JABS said: "We're worried about side effects reported in the U.S. including Guillain Barre syndrome, fainting spells and short seizures."

HPV is, of course, spread through sex, and the more partners a woman has, the more likely she is to contract HPV. Is it just me who finds it odd that no-one is mentioning abstinence as a sure-fire way of avoiding the virus?

...and how much do you want to bet that these 11 year-olds will be handed out condoms by the school nurse, to accompany the jabs... just to be on the "safe" side?


Anonymous said...

Hello!I live in America and read your blog daily.I enjoy it very much.Thanks for your insight.I find your blog very informative.I have a question for you.I know 2 women,both abstained till marriage,both had husbands who cheated on them.Both these suffered from early stages of cervical cancer.I had male offspring,but now have 2 grand-daughters.Right now my thinking is that I'd like them to have the shot.Abstinence is required by both parties for a lifetime and sometimes people make mistakes.Also,people do not always fall in love with people of the same belief system.There are many reasons why a young woman may fall in love with someone who has not abstained.I'm just wondering,with very much all due respect,if you could respond to this comment.Thanks very much.

Mulier Fortis said...

Anonymous - thank you for your kind words.

Yes, what you've said is very true: I was merely pointing out that no-one had mentioned the role of abstinence, or even the correlation between the number of partners and the risk of cervical cancer resulting from HPV infection.

(I believe that HPV is not the only cause of cervical cancer - this is why the jabs are only expected to be 70% effective)

Also, I think that the health concerns are being ignored.

I have no problem with people choosing to have the jab, I just do not think it should be a blanket jab for all girls. Oh, and notice that there is no attempt to give HPV jabs to boys - despite the fact that they can pass it on.

Having an HPV jab doesn't mean that you are guaranteed to be immune: it could induce a false sense of security, and lead to a lessening of vigilance through smear tests (which are pretty effective in identifying pre-cancerous cells... provided the tests are carried out regularly)

I am not calling for the jab to be banned. I think it is a dangerous move to impose it on everyone, assuming that they will go on to have lots of sexual partners. I have several friends who have abstained before marriage. I just think that the message needs to be spread more widely.

Beth said...

My baby won't be getting that shot.

deb said...

I am waiting a few years to get my daughters this shot. I am not convinced that enough testing has been done on its safety for the general population.

By the way, does anyone else my age find it odd that we were told that using condoms would protect us from all STDs despite the fact that the medical community knew that HPV caused cancer and wasn't stopped by condomns.

Also, although most forms of cervical cancer can be traced to this virus some women might still get cervical cancer despite the shot. That is because HPV doesn't protect against every virus that causes cervical cancer.

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

My daughters wont be getting this either.
However I understand what 'anon' has said. I too have a friend who having been in a very abusive marriage ended up with cervical cancer.

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