The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

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The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

Vaccination should not be mandatory

The fruits of a miraculous medical breakthrough became available to the female public June 2006 in the form of a vaccination using a drug called Gardasil. Gardasil is a drug that prevents the contraction of the four main types of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) a sexually transmitted infection that is known to cause cervical cancer in women. This new drug has been recommended by Merck to be administered to all girls and women ages 12 to 26 and has been proven effective with girls as young as nine. Recently Merck, with the help of the special interest group Women in Government, has tried to increase sales of the already popular vaccine by targeting lawmakers. Merck has been heavily lobbying to make this vaccine a required inoculation for the youngest age bracket that the drug is considered safe to administer, nine to 12 year old girls. Currently 17 or 18 states are considering including this vaccination as a required inoculation for pre-teens. This aggressive pharmaceutical company has tarnished its phenomenal discovery by trying to force the drug on the American public. We feel that it is not the government’s job to mandate what should be an optional vaccine. This isn’t to say that the drug should not be administered. In fact, I just received my first out of the series of three shots because I personally feel that it is worth it. However, The WEB feels that the vaccine should be available to those who want it to protect themselves from HPV and cervical cancer, but it should not be pushed upon those who do not want to be vaccinated. The people who do not want the drug to be administered to them should not be penalized, ostracized, or separated for their beliefs. These beliefs are backed by religious, moral, and financial reasons that should be respected. Rick Perry, governor of Texas, already issued an executive order commanding the vaccination of all public school attending sixth grade girls (about 11 or 12 years old). As one might guess, many Texans were appalled and lashed back at the governor’s mandate. Senator Jane Nelson opposed the order and said that Perry was guilty of “often equating HPV with far more pervasive illnesses like polio and other forms of cancer, refusing to acknowledge the fact that Gardasil targets a sexually transmitted disease, and is not in any way threatening to engulf us in a statewide epidemic such as which might warrant the unchecked use of his executive authority.” Many religions oppose medicating illnesses, being resuscitated, or even taking a vaccine. Others feel that their religion guides them to believe that sexual contact is indecent or unacceptable before marriage and thus they do not run the risk of contracting HPV. Morally, many people, parents especially, feel that children are too young at nine, 10, 11, or 12 to take a vaccination for an STI. Some even question our society and claim that children receiving the vaccine are encouraged to be sexually active because “receiving the vaccine means it is okay to have sex.” In addition to the moral and religious reasons for the vaccine to be optional, there are financial reasons for refraining from receiving the vaccination. Although most insurance companies are paying for at least part of the vaccination, the drug is still expensive. Many families would not be able to afford the vaccine even with insurance, and there are even more families that cannot afford insurance (a huge issue in and of itself). The government should refrain from forcing drugs on its citizens. The majority of females will choose on their own to receive the vaccination series and those who do not choose to be inoculated should not be harassed, separated from society (home schooling), ostracized, or forced to defend themselves or their beliefs.

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