Sunday, August 14, 2011

Still Unclear About the Concept....

Trolling my usual blogs tonight, I come across this. I shouldn't worry about it, but I do. Maybe it's because the story is all wrong.

From the 2007 archives, I bring you the real story of Rick Perry and Gardasil. This, in particular, is the part that still bothers me:

The American Academy of Pediatrics is not advocating mandatory Gardasil vaccination, either. One source of opposition from pediatricians is cost. Buying enough H.P.V. vaccine for 100 girls would require a practice to lay out nearly $40,000 in advance. Many doctors say that the insurance reimbursement for giving the vaccine is not adequate to compensate them for administering it.

Dr. Bocchini of the American Academy of Pediatrics also said too much of the Gardasil focus was being placed on 11- and 12-year-olds, when legislatures should be focusing on trying to obtain funding to vaccinate girls and women in the 13-to-26 age group, many of whom are not covered by the federal vaccine programs aimed at children.

“A number of people are just not going to be able to get this vaccine,” he said.
Perry could issue an executive order that all school children get the vaccine. What he couldn't do was authorize the funds to pay for it. Think back to "The Response" and the much larger crowd in Houston that day, waiting for free school supplies and free vaccinations. And most of those vaccinations don't cost nearly what Gardasil costs. (Need I remind you Texas still leads the nation in the number of uninsured children. Something else Rick Perry doesn't like to talk about.)

Yes, this mandate was overturned by the Texas Legislature, largely on the grounds Perry now tries to hide behind, and for the reasons TBogg (and others) will roundly criticize. Their argument, however, assumes Perry has either banned access to Gardasil, or removed any public funding for it. The first isn't true, the second never existed. So Perry's argument exists in a never-never land that doesn't affect anyone but only tells us what we already know about him. All he really did was try to mandate something the general public didn't support, for reasons that had precious little to do with cancer prevention. You also have to consider that Perry targeted 6th grade girls: because they were most likely to have sex and get cervical cancer? No, because they were most likely to be in school. They made the best captive cohort, in other words. If you are going to suggest to parents of 11 year old girls that their daughters are already having sex, you really need to be prepared for some resistance to that message. Even if you mean well.

The real story here is Perry doing the bidding of his campaign contributors, something he has shown himself to be quite adept at. If you follow the link to my archives, you will see that there are still serious questions (or were as recently as 2 years ago) about the use of Gardasil, questions Rick Perry wasn't interested in at all. (If you follow the TPM link, you'll note there is no mention of the cost of this vaccine, which was another sore issue; efficacy aside, this was essentially an unfunded mandate.) There were (and are) definitely serious questions about mandating Gardasil as a public health measure, as well as questions about educating the public (parents, especially) about the need to use this vaccine on the same basis as vaccines for polio or chicken pox.

These are questions Perry wasn't interested in then, and isn't interested in now. Nor, I'm afraid, is anybody else.

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