Writing in The Nation, Karen Houppert provides the most comprehensive overview I’ve seen of the controversy surrounding making Gardasil mandatory for middle-school age girls.
Gardasil, as we’ve discussed before, is is the only FDA-approved HPV vaccine. Houppert outlines who’s for it, who’s against it and all the reasons why it’s become such a huge issue.
Today, as thirty-one state legislatures consider mandating the vaccine for middle school girls, skepticism about the wisdom of embarking on this swift and widespread inoculation program has bubbled up from critics who span the political spectrum. These strange bedfellows include Christian conservatives and their abstinence-only ilk, who have long argued that safe sex encourages profligate sex; a slew of Big Pharma critics, who see how Merck (which stands to make $4 billion a year on the vaccine by most estimates) is angling to corner this huge new vaccine market; the growing antivaccine movement, which objects to all such school-entry requirements; the parental-rights folks with a libertarian strain, who bridle at any mandates regarding their children’s health; and a smattering of women’s health advocates, who worry that the pace of the vaccine’s introduction is jeopardizing its ultimate success.
What’s all the noise about?