Based on the assigned readings, I would conclude that there is adequate evidence that the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine is safe to administer and quite effective in prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Political and social movements that are challenging the administration of the vaccine base their arguments on baseless and unverified theories, which have no scientific foundations.
In my view, the use of HPV vaccine in controlling STIs can be more effective because most HPV infections are transmitted through sexual contacts. Doctors argue that genital HPV infections are the major cause of cervical cancer and warts, and thus reducing HPV infections is one way of reducing cervical cancer infections. To determine the effectiveness of the vaccine, CDC conducted a research, which found out those outbreaks of HPV infections were greatly reduced in schools that have mandated the vaccination by the drug. In contrasts, those who did not receive the vaccination have acquired the HPV virus at least twice as many times as those who received. In my opinion, this was adequate prove that the HPV vaccine is effective and beneficial.
In my view, I agree with the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because young girls aged between nine years and twenty very sexually active, and hence mostly likely to be engaged in sexual activities, as compared to their women counterparts aged between thirty to seventy years. A study by CDC revealed that teenage girls are the most affected. It was further revealed the infections normally come shortly after the onset of puberty, which is characterized by increased sexual activities.
However, opponents of the new vaccine argue that it is only capable of suppressing only a few types of Human Papilloma Virus strains. They claim that at least two-thirds of those who had received HPV vaccine suffered from moderate to severe pain at the site of injection. In my view, such post-injection pain can be reduced by administration of painkillers or other relevant drugs. Some of the opponents also argue that HPV vaccine contains placebo, which might cause neurological disorders and deaths in the future. A research by CDC revealed that there is no cause and effect relating these deaths to the vaccine. According to Dr. Nardo, there is no proof that the vaccine will continue protecting the target person after a period of more than five years (Nardo, 2007). However, no evidence have been tabled to prove these claims, thus they lack basis for strong reasoning.
Medical researches and the media have reported that papilloma virus is the most sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States of America. It thus implies that a large number of people get infected annually. This might be detrimental to the population and the society as a whole. In my view therefore, the invention of HPV vaccine was a major development in public health concerns. The vaccine is capable of protecting and individual against four strains of HPV, including the two strains that cause cervical cancer.
According to Dizon and Krychman, more than five million people in USA get infected with human papilloma virus every year. Additionally, the number of women diagnosed with cervical cancer every year is approximately ten million (Dizon & Krychman). Therefore, I think that introduction of HPV vaccine has more social benefits. Mandating its vaccination should thus not be viewed as an intrusion on the parental rights, but rather a deliberate action by the government to take good care of its citizens. Given that most people have failed to abstain from sex even after intensive awareness campaigns and public educations, everybody should be required by law to get immunized with the vaccine. In my opinion, personal and traditional beliefs and practices should be given less concern that this is an issue that affects the society, at large, and not a single community.
According to CDC, the vaccine also helps in reducing cervical cancer. It will thus be a double advantage or benefit to the female fraternity. As per the assigned readings, more than seventy to eighty percent of women aged fifty years must have acquired HPV infection. This implies that the infection rate is so high and thus calls for adequate prevention and control measures. What benefit for parents it will be to continue holding their traditional beliefs when the death rate amongst women due to HPV infection and cervical cancer is skyrocketing? Many sexually active young women have not been able to abstain effectively from sex, and thus the vaccine will assist in reducing infections.
In my opinion, for a parent to accept the idea of HPV vaccination, he or she must ascertain the ability of the drug to offer adequate and reliable prevention to his or her child. The parent must have also heard of previous successful performance of the drug in inhibition of HPV infection and reduction in chance of developing cervical cancer. This entails obtaining reliable information from trusted friends, family members and relatives. The parent can also obtain first-hand information from medical experts.
On the hand, a parent may reject the idea of HPV vaccination when he/she lacks adequate information about the vaccine that would enable him/her make an informed decision. The parent can also ignore calls for HPV vaccine due to ethical concerns, for instance, possibility of getting for the girl child engaged in unprotected or irresponsible sexual behaviors on the assumption that she is well protected.
Similarly, where the parent strongly holds traditional beliefs and value as herbal medicine, possibility of natural healing, prejudice on government action, religious beliefs and other philosophical concerns, he/she is more likely to reject the HPV vaccination. A parent with a different political view with the government can thus view such decisions as government’s intention to impose decisions on the people.
Additionally, a parent may reject the HPV vaccination because of its expensive nature. A complete dose of HPV vaccine costs approximately five hundred US dollars, a price that only few people can afford. This might be unfavorable to families with financial deficiencies. Despite the above mentioned reasons for rejection of the idea, the government right to protect its future generations from harmful effects of decision made by their parents.
In conclusion, the opposition faced by the HPV vaccine should not be something to scare, because other vaccines such as polio and measles have faced similar political, religious and ideological opposition, even when their benefits are directly and openly visible by the society. For instance, when the vaccine against hepatitis targeted injection-drugs users only, it did not become effective; hence, there is great need to make immunization by HPV drugs universal and not an individual issue to decide over. Making HPV vaccination mandatory would thus be more effective than if it targets certain persons only. HPV vaccination should be a mandatory public health measure.
Furthermore, the State decides what kinds of drugs or treatments should be used based on the public health needs of the society. Other HPV protection techniques such complete abstinence from sexual intercourse, being faithful to one partner or regular use of condom cannot be effective enough because they do not offer protection against involuntary exposure such as rape cases. The drug offers protection for more than 70 percent of viruses known to cause cervical cancer. It will help reduce cancer cases among women. The HPV vaccination issue should not be politicized, but rather given adequate considerations especially the social and health benefits to be reaped.