Friday, February 1, 2008

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate.

The Minnesota Department of Health, in a wise move has decided not to make the HPV vaccination a mandatory vaccination for all Minnesota children.

HPV which is one of the most prevalent STDs and a leading cause of cervical cancer is transmitted through sexual activity. Normally, mandated immunizations are tied to diseases spread through the air or casual contact, so that's a major difference with HPV.

This decision should be left to parents. With any immunization there are potential side effects so simply immunizing children for everything isn't the answer.

I thought it was interesting that the immunization only lasts for five years and of course the push is to immunize girls earlier and earlier, down into the junior high ages.

And the question has to be asked does simply immunizing more children with the HPV vaccine, send the message that kids are now "protected" from one more of the negative consequences of premarital sexual activity, so it's OK to proceed. Like the condom message which also doesn't prevent the spread of STDs. It should be noted that the HPV vaccine doesn't prevent 30% of cervical cancers, so it's not 100% effective.

The answer? A clear chastity message, parental involvement and regular medical check ups.

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