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Srdjan Kamenko

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When it comes to vaccine intervention for disease control, should personal liberty go before the benefit to society?

This question is extremely important when one considers current news on the Human Papillomavirus vaccine. The main vaccine, Gardasil, has been widely used on women ages 9-26 since its introduction in 2006. The vaccine first made waves in 2007 when Texas governor Rick Perry issued an executive order to mandate the vaccine for all young women in Texas. Even though it was met with much opposition and ultimately failed, the question still remained: should we have a mandatory HPV vaccine for all women? The two sides of the argument clash, each bringing significant evidence to bear on the issue. Mathematical models indicate that with a vaccine as effective as this one (about 100%), mandating the vaccine will stamp out the virus types targeted by the vaccine. HPV is the most common STI with 45% of college age women currently infected. Freeing society of such a dangerous virus, the number one cause of cervical cancer, is a highlight of the pro-mandate argument. The opposition suggests that personal liberty is at stake, and that parents should have the choice to vaccinate their children if they believe the vaccine is worth it for them. What do you think? Is it reasonable to limit personal liberty for the good of the community in the face of a spreading killer virus?

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  • Mar 8 2012: In order to mandate this drug I feel as if you would have to mandate it to the entire population. Although there is no way to test a man to determine whether he does or does not have it, he is still a possible carry of HPV. If you do not mandate it for the entire population you are singling out half of the population that can carry and spread the disease. HPV is the primary cause for cervical cancer, but only covers 70% of the cause of it. The other 30% of this still goes on to cause cancer. On the other hand it protects against 90% of genital warts which is found on both men and women. The vaccination does not have as high a percentage of blocking cervical cancer as it does for genital warts. So although I agree that this vaccination should not be mandated for the purpose of taking away our rights to decide what we are going to do with our bodies, I believe that if it is mandated then it should mandated to the entire population.

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