Kudos to Texas governor Rick Perry for signing an executive order requiring a vaccination for girls that helps prevent cervical cancer. Conservatives in Texas and elsewhere have opposed similar moves, arguing that vaccinating against a sexually transmitted disease encourages premarital sex. Apparently, they see encouraging cancer as less serious than encouraging sex. It’s possibly the most spurious argument that’s been floated in recent years on a major issue, and that’s saying something. Do tetanus vaccinations encourage kids to play with rusty nails? For that matter, do conservatives seem to think that people need to be encouraged to have sex? There are already a million discouragements out there: social pressures, risk of STD’s, pregnancy, etc. And yet, for some reason, life keeps going on.
Of course, Big Pharma certainly had a role in the decision- as it will in the other 49 states, most of which will likely end up creating similar laws. At $360 a pop, Merck will certainly be pleased about the droves of Texas schoolchildren sporting vaccination punctures when school starts next fall. The problem, of course, with a selective vaccination for something like HPV is that by the time a person is identified as being ‘at risk’ for the virus it protects against, they’re already at risk for having contracted it. Sometimes, it turns out, making a politically connected corp several hundred million bucks turns out to be good for everyone.