Rick Perry wrongly attacked on HPV

The attack on Rick Perry for his 2007 executive order mandating the HPV vaccine for sixth grade Texas girls is wrongheaded.

First and generally speaking, vaccines are a tremendous public health achievement and boon. The global anti-vaccine movement is junk science-based.

Next, HPV seems to be associated with an awful lot (90%) of cervical cancers. Though we don’t know whether and how HPV actually causes cervical cancer, it seems like a pretty good place to start combatting it. According to the CDC,

Among women who had not been previously exposed to a targeted HPV type, the clinical trials demonstrated 93% vaccine efficacy in preventing cervical precancers due to HPV 16 or 18.

That’s a pretty compelling case for vaccinating adolescent girls, particularly since the vaccine is safe and its side effects are minimal.

Finally, preventing the transmission of deadly infectious disease is a legitimate government activity. A minimally intrusive approach — i.e., a vaccine with few if any side effects, is a no-brainer.

What Rick Perry did was to act in the best interests of public health. Contrast Perry with Barack Obama who is a menace to the American standard of living and, thereby, public health.

While it is fair to debate Perry’s actions, he’s not the problem; Obama is. Americans need to maintain that focus.

The goal in 2012 is not to elect Perry or Mitt Romney or Michelle Bachmann or any other particular GOP candidate per se so much as it is about not re-electing Obama.

25 thoughts on “Rick Perry wrongly attacked on HPV”

  1. “…we are looking for a candidate…” –Steve Milloy

    No. We are seeking the truth, Steve. I guess I’m done with JunkScience.com. Enjoy the shark jump. Later, brother. It was a good journey. We’ll always have the truth. 🙂

  2. Sorry, Steve Milloy. You are jumping the shark. Ideology has no place in science, even when you are talking JunkScience. Point out the junk but leave the politics to lesser people. Mixing politics with science inevitably biases the science. Look at GoreBull Warming. Apparently, you are losing sight of this vital condition that used to be important to you. Seriously, stick to whether or not things are “true” or “false” and leave ideology out of it.

  3. Scizzor, I don’t think that Perry was corrupt in this instance. The Gardasil incident is a good example of paving the road to heck with good intentions and how half-thought out knee-jerk actions can do more harm than good.

    As for the Islam, and while it might be whitewashed, I am very concerned about the way I have heard some people speak. The “Obama is a Muslim” rumors confirmed the attitudes of many. He is attempting to overbalance the opinions of an already cynical student population and prevent hate crimes.

    Now please consider that I loathe the man.

  4. I understand your point, Mr. Milloy. However, I would like it if we could reduce the EPA-bashing and Obama-bashing and the takeover of the topic by climate change.

    We got much poorer when JunkFoodScience went down. I’d like it if we could get back to that sort of detailed analysis of medical literature, pull up stuff from the JREF about pseudoscience, the Bad Astronomer about extra-planetary phenomena and what it is not, and other stuff along the same lines.

    This article is a good example. There was a LOT of bad science involved in the Gardasil launch. Papers could and have been written about the misunderstandings and positions of all involved. In the end, the ruling items were the post that I made two screens up. The vaccine was just too expensive and too unproven. However, instead of launching into a discussion about science, you jump to a criticism of Obama’s policies. It may be relevant to the day, but it is not really about science anymore.


  5. To not talk politics is to ignore the realities of the topic and our times. The focus of this site is junk science, which is defined as faulty science used to advance a special agenda (including a political one). We are also concerned about solutions — which necessarily involves discussing politics.
    Right now, we are looking for a candidate to stop the one of the most important science abusers of our time — the EPA.

  6. HPV clears from the body eventually. I know because I once had it and was recently tested and it’s gone. Also, giving Gardasil to adolescent girls assumes they are having sex. Gardasil is recommended for 9 to 11-year old girls. And California passed AB 499 which allows giving Gardasil to minor girls without their parents permission. It’s an attack on parental authority! The drug has numerous side effects. I think politicians ought to stop playing around with science. http://www.calcatholic.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?id=12c9e871-11f2-44fe-afd7-91d204a6c405 .

  7. I don’t think it hurts to talk politics once in a while on this website. The question nobody has brought up is my main concern about the Gardasil mandate: Perry’s connection to Merck through his ex staffer/now Merck lobbyist. Merck donates to Perry, and a Republican group he heads. Is this an example of crony capitalism? Or just plain corruption.

    Another example of Perry’s crony capitalism, but with a different angle is his forcing Texas schoolchildren to be brainwashed with Aga Kahn’s shined up, false, fantasy version of Islam. I smell a rat here.

    Perry tells the conservatives what they want to hear, then stabs us in the back with his lib/progressive stand on other issues.Some of us only hear the anti EPA, anti global warming speeches, and ignore, or poo poo the rest. But not me.

    Texas Dad has it right.

  8. Have you forgotten about the Federal-government mandated program to vaccinate school children against polio in the 1950s. I was one of those vaccinated, and I hold no grudges against the government’s doing this, and I’m a small government guy.

  9. I thought this was a “Science” based website. I’m surprised to see this site making political policy comments. You should stick to whether or not the “Science” proves that the vaccination is safe and effective. The idea of whether or not the government should force ANY injection on the public is best left to political websites. But, since it was mentioned here… I personally believe that allowing government to force any medical practices on the population is very wrong. Don’t forget the days when eugenics was popular. It wasn’t just Nazi Germany that practiced eugenics. The intellectual world thought it was the right thing to do at one time. Even the United States was responsible for rendering people infertile when those people were deemed to be “unworthy” of reproducing. It’s a dangerous game. The government should educate but not dictate nor mandate. Of course, this is all my own opinion. I’m entitled to it though some will disagree.

  10. As the parent of two teen daughters here in Texas, I remember the controversy. I would have preferred that Gov. Perry issue a “recommendation” that the inoculation be administered, not a mandate.

    I would prefer that the state allow my daughter’s primary care physician and we the parents discuss the pros/cons, etc. and then allow us to chose what we feel is best for our children.

    It’s not the medication I’m opposed to, its the way in which it was handled.

  11. The EPA is killing America. Perry is by far the most vocal candidate on that issue. We applaud that. We would applaud any candidate who vocalizes opposition to EPA. We applauded the RINO Huntsman when he did. We would applaud Democrat who criticized the EPA for the right reasons.

    As to the HPV controversy, sure he should have handled it differently, but if we demand perfection from candidates — and destroy them WHEN they’re not — we will allow Obama another four years to put the finishing touches on the destruction of our economy, standard of living and country.

  12. Perry acted like any dictator. He does not and did not have the authority to act. His authority extends to asking the ligislature for a law to get what he wanted. When did junkscience.com become a Perry shill?

  13. How many girls in Texas that were 10 years old were sexually active? Mandating everyone get something that only a small percent need is wrong.

  14. You are all wrong. Let someone who was actually there make a comment

    The issues with Gardasil were
    1: It was extremely expensive, over $300 per vaccination.
    2: Persistence was unknown. Mandating ten year olds get it won’t work if they needed boosters at 18.
    3: Side effects were moderately known. Long term side effects were unknown.
    4: Finally, cervical cancer is caused by several strains of HPV, not all of which are prevented by Gardasil.

    I need to find the calculation I did for the Daily Cougar, but assuming 100% of cervical cancer deaths were prevented the numbers worked out to approximately $200,0000 per life saved. That’s much more expensive than building hospitals. It’s not an efficient use of medical resources.

  15. You argument then recommends that we vaccinate only those certain segments of the population in which the teen and pre-teen pregnancy rate is out of control. Again, the disease does not impact through indirect contact and is otherwise totally preventable.

  16. I am shocked that you have fallen prey to equating the prevention of a disease transmissable through indirect contact with a disease transmissable only through direct and intimate contact. Perry’s actions make him as much a problem as BHO, government invading the lives of individuals based on that which the government deems correct by misusing the general welfare clause. Vaccines preventing diseases with serious morbidity and mortality which are transmisable through indirect contact impact the entire population. Vaccines to prevent cervical cancer do not. Not to mentioned the appearance of inappropriate relationship between the governor and the entity selling the vaccine.

  17. Robert – Unfortunately, when some citizens out-of-control activity causes the remainder of citizens significant hazard, then it IS the government’s OBLIGATION to intervene.

    In this case, the near-unrestricted sexual activity of some caused enough of a problem to others as to cause the government to step in.

    Oh, and FYI, teen AND pre-teen pregnancy among certain segments of the population in the State of Texas IS out of control.

  18. I’m no friend of big government, but this is not a simple issue. Vaccination for things like measles depends on having a sufficient pool of vaccinated individuals. In the UK we’ve seen the effects of anti-MMR junk science – the number of measles cases is rising as the pool of unvaccinated children has risen.

  19. Freedom is one of the most important aspects of your American way of life – you have spent billions trying to convince the world that this is your primary objective – Rhetoric probably, however from outside the USA, you have always been touted as the land of the free. I fully endorse vaccination – the early courses for babies and then later for all with issues such as Tetanus/ cervical cancer etc etc ‘However’ not at the expense of removing individual freedom – despite how mislead so many of the ‘anti’ medical logic, brigade are!

  20. The primary issue is not the vaccine. The issue is making it mandatory to receive the vaccine. You think that’s a legitimate goverment activity? No government agency should have that authority, at least, not in America. And by making this mandatory, it makes the vaccine suspect regardless of the “official” science of the governmental CDC.

  21. Presumably HPV is not caught by lesbian sex.

    So why aren’t men being vaccinated too?

    That protects their partners as well as themselves.

    With the other mechanism that you need a significant percentage to be vaccinated, including men makes a big different?

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