One mother who had recently had her daughters given the vaccine was upset. She was completely unaware of issues surrounding it. I wonder how it is that I don't watch the nightly news, read the daily newspaper, or listen to NPR or any talk radio, and I still know about stuff like this. And I wonder how other people can be completely oblivious to it.
I was irritated by the first global email, and this "reply all" was equally annoying. I offered up the 5 seconds it took me to delete it and went about my day. Then several other woman did their "reply all" rants about how vaccinating against cancer is good. Who can really argue against that? Cancer = Bad...No Cancer = Good. Pretty simple, right?
Nevertheless, I felt compelled to do my own "reply all" (surely upsetting everyone, like me, who can't stand having strangers argue in my own personal inbox). I explained that the issue that seemed to be raised in the first email was not the vaccine itself but the government mandate. I explained that HPV is not a public health risk in the way that polio or small pox had been. I am opposed to government involvement in the minutiae of personal lives. Doctors can be forceful enough in
Of course, Merck knows well that doctors will only reach those potential customers whose parents actually bring them to the doctor every so often. There are legions of kids who might miss out on this chance to line Merck's pockets, so Merck feels the need to lobby state congresses. By making it a state law, thousands of kids who might otherwise never have the opportunity to get stuck in the arm will now be ordered to do so.
Unfortunately, you don't even need to lobby the state congress if your buddies are high enough up on the food chain:
By using an executive order that bypassed the Legislature, Republican Gov. Rick Perry — himself a conservative — on Friday avoided such opposition, making Texas the first state to mandate that schoolgirls get vaccinated against the virus.
That's right, one man gets to unilaterally decide what's best for all schoolgirls in Texas. Nice of him, huh? How about nice for him:
Perry has ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company's three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Perry's former chief of staff. His current chief of staff's mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.
The governor also received $6,000 from Merck's political action committee during his re-election campaign.
A top official from Merck's vaccine division sits on Women in Government's business council, and many of the bills around the country have been introduced by members of Women in Government.
Merck is doing an excellent job of mucking the waters of what should be a crystal-clear issue: do we, the people, want laws and executive orders based on what is best for us, or what is best for large corporations? It is one thing to mandate that insurances cover the vaccine. It is one thing to mandate that the state pay for those who have no insurance. It is quite another to mandate that children receive it, especially when the public health is not at risk.
** UPDATE (3/1/07): For all you you have come here via a Google search, I've reiterated my main points in a newer post.