What an awful answer in the magazine FAITH! If you spent five minutes doing research [online] – search “Gardasil®” – you would see clearly how related the vaccine is to the modern death machine – which you seem to work for! You should have said “No, I would not recommend the vaccine for anyone as it has caused DEATH in young girls!” Search same site for info on the fall “Flu shot,” and you will see how linked it is to big money and death engineers! I urge you to think outside your educated elitist box! – Mrs. Jaglowski
Dear Faith Magazine,
I was saddened to read the article “Should my 12-year-old get the Gardasil® vaccine?” by Cathleen McGreal last month. In it, she posits that the HPV vaccination (Gardasil®) is akin to the tetanus vaccination. Her article is matter-of-fact and positive. But as a person who has taken a look at the adverse side effects of Gardasil®, I would caution against such a simplified view. Since the introduction of the vaccine, many adverse side effects have been reported, from blood clots to Guillain-Barré Syndrome and even death – in more than 25 cases! While no studies have been completed definitively linking Gardasil® to the aforementioned cases, none have been done to conclusively rule them out, either. More importantly, there have been no conclusive studies on the long-term effects of this drug on the fertility and overall health of young women.
In addition to the adverse effects, there is the argument of very limited efficacy in that Gardasil® only protects against four of the dozens of strains of HPV. There is also the argument that teens who tend to practice risky behavior (like sex outside of marriage) at a greater rate than other subgroups of the populace will be more likely to do so if they are given an even greater false sense of security. Offering a “vaccine” against one of the most prolific STI’s could serve this purpose.
– Thomas S. Frederick Saline, MI
Regarding the medical issues – as with any vaccine, there are risks involved. Parents who are considering this vaccine should do so in conjunction with in-depth conversations with their daughter’s physician. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have added this vaccine to their recommended inoculation schedule for female children. While the vaccine does not protect against all forms of sexually transmitted disease, the CDC indicate it is effective at preventing the four strains of HPV responsible for the majority of cervical cancers. As with any sexually transmitted disease, the only sure form of protection is complete abstinence from sexual activity. However, according to the CDC, “… even people with only one lifetime sex partner can get HPV, if their partner was infected with HPV … and … it may not be possible to determine if a partner who has been sexually active in the past is currently infected.”
The Catholic Church is clear in its teaching that parents should instill strong moral values in their children. This includes raising children to understand the gift of sexuality in the context of a loving, faithful, sacramental marriage – ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring.
Catholic authorities such as the Illinois Catholic Conference stress that the vaccine should be given by parents’ choice and not mandated by the state.
We asked noted moral theologian Dr. Janet Smith of Sacred Heart Seminary to address the moral implications of the vaccine, aside from its cost and/or medical risks.
Her response: I believe Catholic moral principles permit parents in both having their daughters vaccinated and refusing to have their daughters vaccinated. Parents who have concerns about possible adverse side effects, who believe having their daughters vaccinated will send the message that they approve of non-marital sex or who believe their daughters will remain chaste before marriage and will not marry a man carrying the HPV, would be justified in refusing to have their daughters vaccinated.
As an analogy, those going into areas where they may get shot (whether they are going into those areas responsibly or irresponsibly) should take precautions against injury – such as wearing bulletproof vests. Those who have their daughters vaccinated need to be careful to get the best medical information, which is not always that available through the CDC or the American Academy of Pediatrics, organizations which, unfortunately, are not invulnerable to the political currents of the day.
Parents who believe their daughters will remain chaste before marriage, or who have concerns about possible adverse side effects, or who will not marry a man carrying the HPV, and/or who believe having their daughters vaccinated will send the message that they approve of non-marital sex, would be justified in refusing to have their daughters vaccinated. (I would hope many parents could have such confidence about their daughters.)
As an analogy, it would be a waste of money to buy bulletproof vests for those who are not at risk of getting shot and it would be foolish to buy them if, in doing so, one thought one was encouraging people to put themselves at risk.
I believe the CMA has a reasonable position on the issue, though it is more enthusiastic than I am inclined to be about the vaccine: www.cathmed.org/issues_resources/publications/press_releases/cma_issues_statement_on_implementation_of_hpv_vaccine/
The following is an excerpt from the Web site to which Dr. Smith referred:
The Catholic Medical Association (CMA) – the nation’s largest professional organization of Catholic doctors – has released a position paper on implementation of the new vaccine for HPV, Gardasil®. The CMA encourages the use of this safe, effective and ethically acceptable vaccine, but, at the same time, rejects efforts at the federal level and in some states to mandate girls be vaccinated against HPV.
… At the same time, Paul Cieslak, M.D., a CMA member with extensive public health experience, noted, “making school attendance conditional on HPV vaccination does not make sense, because girls who are not vaccinated pose no threat, as they would with communicable diseases, such as mumps, measles and polio, to other children attending school.
“Raising vaccination rates is an important public health goal, but that doesn’t justify every measure that might get us there,” Cieslak commented. “Depriving children of an education in the name of a broad public health goal isn’t being fair to them.”
… Still, the CMA supports widespread use of Gardasil® for girls and women in the age range for which the vaccine has been recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, because it is effective, safe and ethical to use, provided certain conditions are met. Patients and their parents should be given information sufficient to make an informed decision about the vaccine. In addition, the CMA statement explains, support for the vaccine and similar vaccines in the future, should not be used to undermine support for efforts to promote chastity and to reduce extramarital sexual activity.