Thursday, February 5, 2009

ACOG Joins The Fray Over Mandatory Gardasil Vaccinations

Activists were riled last year when vaccination with Gardasil—an alternative HPV vaccine, Cervarix, has not yet been approved in this country—became mandatory for all female immigrants aged 11 to 26 seeking permanent residence in the US.

It’s mandatory because any vaccinations on the government’s ‘recommended’ list automatically become mandatory for immigrants. If Merck succeeds in getting the vaccine on the recommended list for boys and for older women, as it is hoping, then those segments of the immigrant residency-seeking population will also eventually have to fork over the dosh and proffer up their arms.

$360 for the shots, plus the cost of administering them, plus the risk of any side-effects, is not trivial for the average immigrant—particularly when the vaccine is of dubious worth, and when Gardasil is not recommended for anyone who is pregnant. Merck’s data also seems to indicate that it would be unwise to vaccinate with Gardasil if you already have an HPV infection.

“Although ACOG strongly recommends the HPV vaccine, it does not support mandatory HPV vaccination. Prospective immigrant women should have the same opportunity as American women to make an informed decision about whether or not to be vaccinated against HPV,” said the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in a press release.

So, with a letter to the acting director of the CDC, the organization has added its weight to the more than 100 organizations that are asking the CDC and ACIP (the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) to remove the HPV vaccine from the list of required vaccinations for would-be residents via a modified recommendation.

Kudos to ACOG for taking a rational stance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

FYI- there is a book on “The HPV Vaccine Controversy: Sex, Cancer, God and Politics” authored by Shobha S. Krishnan, M.D, Barnard college, Columbia University. It is available at and Barnes and Noble .com and is written without the influence of any pharmaceutical company or special interest groups. Link to the book: