Aug. 21st, 2009

ENRAGED!

Aug. 21st, 2009 08:49 pm
joreth: (Bad Computer!)
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/19/health/research/19vaccine.html?em

So a new study has come out studying the effects of Gardasil now that 7 million girls have had it. It turns out that out of 7 million people, only 20 have died. Out of those 20, not a single one can be conclusively connected to Gardasil and the majority of them *can* be conclusively connected to something else.

This year, 4,070 women will have died from cervical cancer.

Let me repeat that.

Over four thousand women will have died THIS YEAR of cervical cancer.

Regular pap smears keep that number as low as it is. But not everyone has access to regular health care, even with Planned Parenthood and low-income clinics. And even with screening, some cancers just can't be treated.

So let's say that Gardasil really was responsible for every single one of those deaths. You have a .0000002 chance of dying from taking the vaccine.

And yet, people are pointing towards this study and saying such stupid things as:

"no level of risk is acceptable when inoculating a healthy population against a disease that can be prevented through screening."

"I wouldn’t accept much risk of side effects at all in an 11-year-old girl, because if she gets screened when she’s older, she’ll never get cervical cancer,"

"You don’t have to die from cervical cancer if you have access to health care."

This is absolutely infuriating!  And this was from a doctor!  You ought to hear the stupid things the laypeople say about vaccines!

First of all, you are *supposed* to innoculate a healthy population.  It's what keeps them healthy.

Second, although regular screening does significantly reduce the chances of dying from cancer, and even from having pre-cancerous cells live long enough to turn into cancer, it does not, automatically, mean that you will not get cancer.  That's what vaccines do.  Screening just looks for it after you've already started developing it, hopefully in enough time to treat it.

On top of that, HPV is the cause of anal cancers, throat and mouth cancers, and has even been found in relation to skin and other cancers - none of which get screened with the regularity that pap smears are recommended.  So my number of 4 thousand women dying?  That doesn't count the numbers of people dying or suffering & surviving, from these other cancers.  

Farrah Fawcet, you know, died of HPV-related anal cancer.  I realize her death was completely overshadowed by the much more important news of Micheal Jackson's death on the same day, but that doesn't absolve this idiot doctor from making such ludicrous statements like "you don't have to die from cancer if you have access to health care".

Do you want an early-warning system that tells you when the perimeter has been breeched hopefully early enough to do something about the invaders?  Or do you want an impenetrable shield that prevents intruders from getting in at all?  Screening does not confer immunity.  Vaccines do.

Third, there is absolutely no way to predict who will have access to healthcare and regular screening services in the future.  I was raised middle-class.  I went to private school.  I grew up in the suburbs.  I lived in the 3rd most expensive city in the world to live in.  I had medical coverage under both my parent's employer-provided plans.  I had regular checkups and extensive dental work.

I am currently uninsured and unemployed.

If I want to be screened annually, I have to pay out of pocket, or I can wait, week after week, at the free clinic and hope that this week, maybe, I'll get there early enough to be seen.

Or, I could have gotten a vaccine when I had my parents' healthcare coverage (yes, I know they didn't have it when I was a kid, but this applies to kids today) and I could now spend my money on food and rent because that portion of my health has been cared for.

The US does not have the fabulous healthcare system these people want to think it does.  I don't understand why people are so opposed to giving children the opportunity to avoid, not just death by cancer, but also expensive, painful inconvenience by LEEP procedures, regular and expensive screenings, and humiliating experiences.

Even if the US *does* have fabulous healthcare, compared to other nations, not every individual has equal access to that fabulous healthcare, and there is no way to predict which children will have access to that fabulous healthcare when they need it in order to screen for the cancer that they will have to be exposed to since they weren't allowed to take a shot that gives them immunity from it.

ALL vaccines carry some risk, as do ALL treatments for ALL ailments.  Even asprin has side effects (and that was developed from a "natural" cure, let's not forget).  The reason why we continue to use any of these options is because the benefit outweighs the risk.  In some cases, the risk isn't even all that minimal, like with the case of vaccines.  Some of these treatements have SERIOUS and highly probable health risks.  Chemotherapy is no walk in the park, but the alternative is a certain death, while the therapy is a less-certain death and more certain damned-uncomfortable time.  And we continue to choose them because the benefits outweigh the risks.

The side effects from Gardasil are known, disclosed, and no different from any other vaccine.

The death toll associated with Gardasil is not only inconclusively related, but in many cases it *is* conclusively related TO OTHER THINGS.

It is utterly absurd that people continue to stand here, shouting and hand-waving and wringing their hands in fear of something that has absolutely no scientific basis in reality and, even if it were true, would STILL be far outweighed by the benefits.

Please, get vaccinated whenever possible, get educated, get screened, and get tested.

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