walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

HPV vaccines, redux

The NYT has a five page article here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/20/health/policy/20vaccine.html

You know me: I don't trust doctors, I don't trust vaccines, I think a lot of this stuff has risk that doesn't make it worth the benefits and I think even more of it is too expensive to justify, considering all the other worthwhile things we could be spending the money on (like, say, more BPA and/or pthalate laden plastic toys for deprived children. Wait. Never mind).

Highlights:

Duration of protection is in question (has been all along, apparently) so three years or so out a booster shot might be needed. Ask yourself: why the heck would you vaccinate a 12 year old girl against a disease she'll only get by having sex when you may well have to have it boostered several times before she hits college where it's really going to count?

There's been huge compliance with this thing. The article develops in some detail the financial conflicts of interest involved in efforts to mandate compliance. Because so many girls have gotten this vaccine, we're seeing a lot of reports of adverse effects including 20 deaths. Yes, Virginia, we _get_ that some if not all of those 20 deaths may be a straight up case of post hoc ergo propter hoc and nothing to do with getting the shot(s). Nevertheless, a pretty strong argument to delay if possible.

But most amazingly, the article takes seriously the cost/benefit issue in terms of what we _aren't_ doing because we're spending a billion or so on this puppy. Given that at best, it protects against 70% of the HPV out there when the studies were conducted, and therefore you'll _still_ have to get regular pap smears, you have to ask yourself: how much would _you_ pay, or ask your taxing authority to pay, to reduce the fears associated with an abnormal pap smear for 1 in some large number of women? Because the odds of saving _anyone_ with this thing are slim.
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