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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Meanwhile in a Sane Country

posted by on August 7 at 14:27 PM

While we dither and more women become infected with a virus that will one day kill them (Christine Gregoire? WTF?), British Columbia is moving on the HPV vaccine.

Girls in B.C. elementary schools could receive a controversial vaccine aimed at fighting human papilloma virus (HPV) as soon as the coming school year.

B.C. was not expected to start vaccinating children until 2008, but Health Minister George Abbott has told CBC News that could change when he receives final advice from provincial health officer, Dr. Perry Kendall.

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while i'm a *huge* proponent of this vaccine [i work in hpv research], i don't think it's wise to begin mass inoculating young girls with a preparation that's been on the market for barely a year. i know, i know - it's probably safe and has proven so in clinical trials, but say there's an adverse response that only happens 1 in 20,000 people; in a study of 30-40,000 people you might see this event happen once or twice; in a population of millions, 1 in 20,000 suddenly doesn't seem so rare.

i say wait a few years for more data to come in. and just ignore all those stupid christian fucktards who think it's a license for pre-marital sex.

Posted by brandon | August 7, 2007 2:54 PM

Everyone knows that Canadian elem. schoolgirls are WAY sluttier than American elem. schoolgirls.

Posted by monkey | August 7, 2007 3:32 PM

brandon makes a good point, it's better to play it safe with this sort of thing. however, we can still get a program moving towards general inoculation while data is processed and trials are further analyzed, if problems arise, program can be derailed. this, of course, requires us to not ignore the fucktards but instead call them on their bullshit.

Posted by douglas | August 7, 2007 4:46 PM

@2 - what an American viewpoint.

To Canadian guys (and Americans who aren't insane) they are just super sexy and nice.

My guess is you're bummed cause they can smell an axxh013 a kilometer away. And won't go near you.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 7, 2007 4:48 PM

It is not just the health of small girls which is being used as a religious/political football. I work at UW in health care. Last year UW announced that the vaccine would be given free to any (female)student who wanted it at Hall Health, the campus health center. Guidelines for inoculation include young women who test negative for HPV antibodies or who are "sexually naive" up to the age of 26. Since the whole series costs about 300 bucks that is a good thing for students right? Not acording to a vocal few. An organized protest by individuals who did not necessarily even have children at the University of Washington complaining that oficials were sanctioning extra-marital sex prompted admin. to drop the free vaccine program. Now though it is still available nobody gets it free. I just don't get it. Don't people realize that you can be exposed to HPV during MARITAL sex too? AND-A recent study found HPV virus in scrapings from under teen age boys' fingernails! You can get it from toilet seats!

Posted by inkweary | August 7, 2007 4:57 PM

I'm not one of those anti-vaccine nutcases but, given that this thing was pretty much developed during the Bush years, I'm concerned about how well it was tested before being put out on the market.

Was it a bunch of Bush biostitutes in a big ol' "corporations-are-so-great" daisy chain approving this, or did some real scientists have a crack at it?

Posted by catalina vel-duray | August 7, 2007 6:28 PM

My 14 year old daughter started getting the series a few months ago. I think anyone who is against it, either right wing religious nutcases or left wing "can't trust pharmaceutical companies", is missing part of their soul.

Posted by mikeblanco | August 7, 2007 6:43 PM

@1 - that kind of tradeoff enters into any use of a vaccine. The point is that yes, there will be a very small number of adverse reactions, but that also needs to be balanced against the possible number of cases of HPV (and eventual cervical cancer) that will result from the vaccine _not_ being administered as a matter of course. Overall, everything I've heard indicates it's worth it.

Posted by tsm | August 7, 2007 7:09 PM

Fuckity Fuck Fuck!!!
Look what Fucking Dan Fucking Savage Fucking wrote in Fucking October Fucking 2002

Excerpt from \\\"Say Yes To War\\\" by Dan Savage October 2002

\\\"War may be bad for children and other living things, but there are times when peace is worse for children and other living things, and this is one of those times. Saying no to war in Iraq means saying yes to the continued oppression of the Iraqi people.\\\"

Posted by ... | August 7, 2007 8:49 PM

I don't think the vaccine should be limited to women under 26. I don't want cervical cancer, either.

Posted by Diana | August 7, 2007 10:24 PM

Diana, the reason the vaccine has a recommended cutoff of 26 years is that the vast majority of women over 26 who have had sex have already been exposed to HPV. That is a guideline not a policy. If you are over 26 you can have a blood test to see if you have prior exposure. If not you can have the vaccine. The vaccine only works if you have not yet had HPV.

Posted by inkweary | August 8, 2007 10:41 AM

While I wholeheartedly agree with making the vaccine widely and cheaply available, I have to disagree with your characterization of HPV as "a disease that will one day kill them." HPV *CAN* lead to cancer, it's a contributing factor, but it will in no way definitely or even probably kill the vast majority of people who get it. If you are sexually active, you have very likely been exposed. Many people's bodies clear the infection.

There is so much fear mongering about STIs, and that builds up shame. Let's have a reasonable attitude about the diseases so many we can actually have a rational response to them.

Posted by exelizabeth | August 8, 2007 12:44 PM

And in a response to #13, there are so many different strains of HPV, so even if you test positive for one, you may want to get the vaccine anyway if it would be effective against a strain you don't have or that they can't test for easily.

Posted by exelizabeth | August 8, 2007 12:47 PM

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