Dem Sen. Patty Murray Wants Congress To Urge ‘Broader Use of Vaccines,’ Including HPV Shot

One dose of the vaccine Gardasil, developed by Merck & Co.
Harry Cabluck/AP

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) says she hopes Congress can “encourage broader use of vaccines,” including the one for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease that may cause cervical and some other cancers, a report at states.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states:

HPV vaccines are safe and effective. They can protect males and females against diseases (including cancers) caused by HPV when given in the recommended age groups (see “Who should get vaccinated?” below). HPV vaccines are given in three shots over six months; it is important to get all three doses.

All boys and girls ages 11 or 12 years should get vaccinated.

Catch-up vaccines are recommended for males through age 21 and for females through age 26, if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger.

The vaccine is also recommended for gay and bisexual men (or any man who has sex with a man) through age 26. It is also recommended for men and women with compromised immune systems (including people living with HIV/AIDS) through age 26, if they did not get fully vaccinated when they were younger.

“Bottom line…children across the country need to be vaccinated,” Murray said in her remarks at the hearing on Tuesday.

“The HPV vaccine is a great example,” Murray continued. “It prevents life-threatening cancers, including cervical cancer, which impacts thousands of lives in the United States each year. Despite that, CDC reports that take-up rates for the vaccine are still unacceptably low, meaning people continue to be exposed to deeply harmful illness that could be prevented.”

“For many parents, the HPV vaccine is a parental rights issue. Some say there’s no reason to give their young children a shot that anticipates a promiscuous lifestyle choice,” reports “Even the CDC admits that the current vaccine does not prevent all forms of the virus.

At the hearing, Murray asked Tennessee Department of Health director Dr. Kelly Moore how state and local health departments can promote the HPV vaccine.

“Certainly we know that a lot of young women and men are not being protected against this virus yet, who could be,” Moore replied.

She added that the HPV vaccine is “safe, it lasts and it’s very, very effective.”

“And we bundle it with other routine vaccines,” Moore said. “So it’s given at the same time as the T-dap vaccine for pertussis protection in middle school, and the first meningitis shot, and it’s just part of the routine, pre-teen immunization bundle.”

In 2011, during a Republican presidential debate, then-Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) was criticized for his 2007 executive order that required young girls in Texas to be vaccinated against HPV.

Then-Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) reproached Perry, “I’m a mom of three children, and to have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat out wrong.”

In his column at Townhall on Monday, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), a retired OB/GYN, bemoans “the recent panic over the outbreak of measles “ that “has led many Americans, including some self-styled libertarians, to call for giving government new powers to force all children to be vaccinated.”

Paul himself states that, were he still practicing medicine, he “might try to persuade” a mother “to change her mind” about not vaccinating her child.

“But, if I were unsuccessful, I would respect her decision,” he added. “I certainly would not lobby the government to pass a law mandating that children be vaccinated even if the children’s parents object.”

Paul explains his view of the HPV vaccine executive order signed by Perry:

By giving vaccine companies a captive market, mandates encourage these companies to use their political influence to expand the amount of vaccine mandates. An example of how vaccine mandates may have led politics to override sound science is from my home state of Texas. In 2007, the then-Texas governor signed an executive order forcing eleven and twelve year old girls to receive the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, even though most young girls are not at risk of HPV. The Texas legislature passed legislation undoing the order following a massive public outcry, fueled by revelations that the governor’s former chief of staff was a top lobbyist for the company that manufactured the HPV vaccine.

The former congressman recommends handling the “panic” in a different way:

The same principles that protect the right to refuse vaccines also protect the right of individuals to refuse to associate with the unvaccinated. Private property owners have the right to forbid those who reject vaccines from entering their property. This right extends to private businesses concerned that unvaccinated individuals could pose a risk to their employees and customers. Consistent application of the principles of private property, freedom of association, and individual responsibility is the best way to address concerns that those who refuse vaccines could infect others with disease.

“Giving the government the power to override parental decisions regarding vaccines will inevitably lead to further restrictions on liberties,” Paul wrote. “After all, if government can override parental or personal health care decisions, then what area of our lives is off-limits to government interference?”


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