The presentation by the Public Health group made me think a lot about the idea of making vaccinations mandatory. A current contentious issue brought up by the group was the newly developed and heavily marketed vaccine Gardasil. Gardasil is a vaccine to help protect woman against the Human Papillomavirus, HPV, and cervical cancer. The vaccine was approved by the FDA in 2006. Many doctors and parents are encouraging young girls and women aged 9 through 26 to get the vaccine. I myself have gotten immense pressure from many health care professionals to get the vaccine.
However Gardasil has many adverse side effects and can cause very serious health concerns. In class we watched a video of a girl who had developed a severe immune deficit disorder due to the vaccine. This is an example only of a short term side effect. Who knows what kind of long term side effects will arise due to the vaccine. The fact is Gardasil has not been around long enough nor had enough testing done to determine what long term side effects accompany the vaccine.
In the 1960's, thalidomide was used as a treatment for morning sickness in pregnant women in the US and all around the world. The drug had no direct effect on the women taking the medication but it was found out to have severe birth defects in the newborn babies. The most common being lack of development of limbs. This drug, much like Gardasil, was not tested for many years before being put on the market in order to ensure no long term side effects remained. How do we know that Gardasil does not also have a long term side effect as severe as the one accompanied by thalidomide? Although many do not experience any side effects themselves from the vaccine we don't know if the vaccine could affect babies born to mothers who had received it in their teens. How can we even think of putting a drug, not 100% sure to have no long term side effects, on the market and giving it to girls at such a young age?