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Wednesday, September 14, 2011



As a physician I must protest the lack of understanding of the value of immunizing young girls with a most useful vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.

It has been shown that four types of human papillomaviruses (HPV) cause 70% of cervical cancers and 90 Y of genital warts. This vaccine is one of the most significant medical discoveries in the past 10 years.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, as he admitted in a recent debate, probably made a mistake in how he tried by mandate the immunization of young girls, but he was right on target on attempting to accomplish a good medical deed. He probably should have made it voluntary and allowed families to opt into taking the vaccine.

The criticisms, mainly from Michelle Bachman and Rick Santorum were nothing less than demagoguery. If I hear Bachman say again that it was wrong to inject young 12- year old girls with the vaccine, I am going to vomit. Bachman just does not appreciate the value of the vaccine, the recommendations of which are to administer to 12–13 year young girls.

The government in almost all states requires the children be vaccinated against Polio, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Whooping Cough, and Tetanus. Parents cannot opt in for these vaccines. These vaccinations are required by law. Parents can opt out usually for religious reasons.

So what is the beef about giving a vaccine to prevent one of the leading causes of cancer death for women in the United States? Although in the past 40 years, the number of cases of cervical cancer and the number of deaths from cervical cancer have decreased significantly – a decline largely the result of many women getting regular Pap tests, which can find cervical pre-cancer before it turns into cancer -- , the usefulness of the HPV vaccine as a tool for prevention cannot be denied.

I suggest that Bachman and Santorum get off their demagoguery of mentioning the injection of 12-year old girls as if it were a crime and learn about the usefulness of vaccines before they speak and attack a Governor who was trying to do the right thing.

I was a great supporter of Bachman but after her display in the debates, she comes off to me a “just another politician.”

nicola michael Tauraso, M.D.

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