Tag: mandates

Why Mandate the HPV Vaccine?

Ever since they were approved and recommended, in 2007, more and more kids are getting vaccinated and protected with the HPV vaccines.

Without mandates, fewer kids are getting HPV vaccines.
Without mandates, fewer kids are getting HPV vaccines.

So why should they be added to the list of vaccines that are required to attend school?

Why Mandate the HPV Vaccine?

One common argument against mandating HPV vaccines is that HPV infections aren’t contagious.

That isn’t really true though.

HPV infections are contagious – through sexual contact.

And we know that about half of teens in high school are having sex…

But still, some argue that they aren’t contagious like measles and chickenpox…

So why mandate the HPV vaccine for students?

“Because HPV is easily transmitted through sexual contact, the vaccine’s full promise may only be realized through near-universal vaccination of girls and young women prior to sexual activity—a notion reflected in recently proposed federal guidelines. And history, as supported by a large body of scientific evidence, suggests that the most effective way to achieve universal vaccination is by requiring children to be inoculated prior to attending school.”

Achieving Universal Vaccination Against Cervical Cancer in the United States: The Need and the Means

Because mandates are the best way to get everyone vaccinated and protected.

“School immunization requirements serve 2 purposes: (1) to protect children from infectious diseases while in a setting with high rates of disease transmission and (2) to achieve higher immunization rates in society for better herd immunity and lower disease rates.”

Barraza et al on Human Papillomavirus and Mandatory Immunization Laws
What Can We Learn From Early Mandates?

And in the case of HPV vaccines, lower rates of HPV infections means less cancer.

“When we require vaccines for school, we get more children immunized. When we get more children immunized, we prevent diseases—including cancer. When we have a vaccine that works and is safe, we should be making sure that it is given to as many people as possible, and requiring a vaccine for school does just that.”

Claire McCarthy on Why Public Schools Should Require the HPV Vaccine

And that’s why we should mandate the HPV vaccine for school.

“Vaccinating as high a proportion of the population as possible is not simply a box to be checked by public health officials; it is a moral imperative, for several reasons. The most fundamental reason for promoting universal vaccination, as has been argued for other vaccines, is that it is in the best interest of the children receiving the vaccine.”

Michele Bayefsky on The Ethical Case for Mandating HPV Vaccination

Especially since, like other vaccines, the HPV vaccine is safe, with few risks.

Most importantly, understand that the misinformation and propaganda that scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids against HPV infections is not helping them make an informed choice.

More on HPV Vaccines

Whose Rights Are Taken Away By Vaccine Mandates?

Why do some people continue to bring up anti-vaccine talking points and act like they are asking some profound questions?

What about my choice to send my kids to school and not worry about their being exposed to measles or another vaccine-preventable disease? #JustAsking
What about my choice to send my kids to school and not worry about their being exposed to measles or another vaccine-preventable disease? #JustAsking

I’m just asking…

Whose Rights Are Taken Away By Vaccine Mandates?

Do they not realize that these anti-vaccine talking point have been refuted a thousand times already?

For example, while ‘where there is a risk, there should be a choice” makes a catchy slogan, it is obvious that these folks only care about the rights, risks, and choices of those who don’t want to vaccinate their kids.

Remember that parents nearly always have a choice on whether or not to vaccinate their healthy kids, even if they live in a state without non-medical exceptions.

You don’t have that choice if your child can’t be vaccinated though.

And they very obviously only care about their imagined right to send their intentionally unvaccinated child to school, where they pose a risk to those who can’t be vaccinated and who have immune system problems.

Don’t parents who vaccinate and protect their kids have rights?

What about their right to send their kids to school and not have to worry about being unnecessarily exposed to a vaccine-preventable disease?

That’s especially important if their child can’t be vaccinated or can’t be fully vaccinated, including those with immune system problems or cancer, who may be immunodeficient because of chemotherapy.

More Anti-Vax PRATTS

What about the $4 billion in payouts from VAERS?

That’s actually from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund, during a time when billions and billions of doses of vaccines have been given. And while the the great majority of those vaccines are given safely, since vaccines are not 100% safe, we have the Vaccine Court to help folks get compensated if they do suffer a vaccine injury.

But folks should be concerned that there are 200 new vaccines in the pipeline right?

Nope.

In fact, the “200 vaccines” in the pipeline include:

  • 124 for infectious diseases, including 36 to prevent or treat HIV, 25 to prevent influenza, including new nasal flu vaccines, 8 for RSV, and 8 for ebola
  • 105 for cancers
  • thirteen for allergies
  • eight for neurological disorders
  • seven for other conditions

So the only concerning part is that most won’t make it out of the pipeline and few are actually new vaccines to treat infectious diseases…

Of course it is also very concerning that they continue to push this kind of misinformation that scares parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

Why isn’t the media covering that more?

How about covering the fact that anti-vaccine folks continue to push the idea that vaccines are not tested against placebos, against saline placebos, aren’t tested together, and aren’t tested in long-term studies, despite the fact that they are?

Do We Need Vaccine Mandates?

It might surprise some folks, but vaccine mandates aren’t new.

What is relatively new are all of the exemptions that were added to the very effective vaccine mandates that helped eliminate measles in the United States.

Bob Sears warned us these measles outbreaks were coming. Of course, many people blame him for stoking those fears that made parents avoid the MMR...
Bob Sears warned us these measles outbreaks were coming. Of course, many people blame him for stoking those fears that made parents avoid the MMR…

It should be clear that we now need vaccine mandates without non-medical exemptions as too many people have been abusing these vaccine exemptions.

It’s a big part of the reason why we are seeing a rise in measles and outbreaks of other diseases.

How many will be enough?

Do we have to wait until more kids are dying before we get your attention?
Do we have to wait until even more kids are dying before we get everyone’s attention? Do we have to go back to the pre-vaccine era?

Do we need to wait until more kids are dying before we strengthen our vaccine mandates?

Or better yet, how about we put an end to spreading anti-vaccine propaganda and encourage more people to get vaccinated and protected so that we don’t need mandates?

Vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are very obviously necessary.

And for what it’s worth, science isn’t something that gets “debated in an open court of law.”

Debating science in the court room got us The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes or the Scopes Monkey Trial, which made it unlawful to teach evolution in schools.
Debating science in the court room got us The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes or the Scopes Monkey Trial, which made it unlawful to teach evolution in schools.

Neither should laws be made simply because our legislators are influenced by a very vocal minority of people who want to take away the choices and rights of everyone else so that they can send their intentionally unvaccinated kids to school.

More on Parental Rights and Vaccine Mandates

Is Gardasil Helping Merck Pay for Vioxx Lawsuits?

Why do some folks think that the Gardasil vaccine is being pushed to help Merck pay for their Vioxx lawsuits?

The latest anti-vax conspiracy theory from Bobby Kennedy.
The latest anti-vax conspiracy theory from Bobby Kennedy.

The usual suspects…

Is Gardasil Helping Merck Pay for Vioxx Lawsuits?

Could it be true?

“Three years after withdrawing its pain medication Vioxx from the market, Merck has agreed to pay $4.85 billion to settle 27,000 lawsuits by people who claim they or their family members suffered injury or died after taking the drug, according to two lawyers with direct knowledge of the matter.”

Merck Agrees to Settle Vioxx Suits for $4.85 Billion

Merck settled most of those lawsuits in 2007.

“But for Merck, which has already spent more than $1.2 billion on Vioxx-related legal fees, the settlement will put to rest any fears that Vioxx lawsuits might bankrupt the company, or even have a significant financial impact. While eye-popping, the settlement payment represents less than one year’s profits for the company, the third-largest American drug maker.”

Merck Agrees to Settle Vioxx Suits for $4.85 Billion

All together, Merck has paid more than $8.5 billion to settle litigation and pay fines and legal costs.

“Merck’s recovery is proceeding as planned. The stock is up from $44 when we wrote about it to just shy of $55 on Oct. 22, a gain of nearly 25%. The latest push came from strong third-quarter earnings aided by robust sales of Gardasil, new diabetes pill Januvia, and asthma drug Singulair. The company’s cost-cutting program also helped.”

Update: Merck recovers from Vioxx

And they long ago recovered from the lawsuits, with their stock price now at about $87, reaching multi-year highs.

Is Gardasil driving their profits?

“Our performance in 2007 shows that the customer-focused, more efficient business model we began implementing more than two years ago is working,” said Richard T. Clark, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We have a strong portfolio of products, a robust pipeline of potential new therapies and a leadership team focused daily on improving operational performance. This positions us to build on our record of delivering essential breakthrough medicines and vaccines like JANUVIA, ISENTRESS and GARDASIL to the global marketplace.”

Merck Announces 2007 Financial Results Reflecting Revenue Growth from Key Products

It certainly didn’t hurt, but Merck’s biggest seller is now the “blockbuster” cancer drug Keytruda.

Back in 2007, it was Singulair, which is now generic.

Gardasil makes up a smaller percentage of Merck’s total sales.

Anyway, profits from Gardasil have been rising in recent years because of sales in China and Europe, not mandates in the United States.

  • Keytruda – $3.07 billion in the last quarter
  • Gardasil / Gardasil 9 – $1.32 billion
  • Januvia / Janumet – $1.31 billion
  • Proquad/M-M-R II/ Varivax – $623 million
  • Bridion – $280 million
  • Isentress / Isentress HD – $250 million
  • Nuvaring – $241 million
  • Pneumovax 23 – $237 million
  • Simponi – $203 million
  • Implanon / Nexplanon – $199 million

But did Merck really have a “HPV: Help Pay for Vioxx” plan?

Where is the document from Merck that says "this time we have no liability and we can't get caught?"
Where is the document from Merck that says “this time we have no liability and we can’t get caught?”

Did their recovery require Gardasil becoming mandatory around the world?

Kennedy’s Help Pay for Vioxx Bombshell is a Dud

With just a little research, it is easy to review Merck’s plan after Vioxx.

“I tell the (Merck) organization if you want Vioxx off the front page, if you want it out of the news, we have to put Gardasil on the front page and have to put Januvia on the front page,” Richard Clark, Merck’s CEO said at the Reuters Summit in New York on Wednesday.

It included closing five manufacturing plants and 3 research laboratories and laying off 11 percent of its work force. And introducing new drugs and vaccines, including Januvia, Isentress, Keytruda, and yes, Gardasil.

But since there are currently mandates for Gardasil in just two states, Rhode Island and Virginia, and the District of Columbia, it is pretty obvious that their recovery didn’t hinge on vaccine mandates.

Still, since Gardasil is approved and recommended for children when they are 11 to 12 years old, it shouldn’t be surprising that Merck did lobby state legislatures to make it mandatory, like other vaccines that are needed to attend school.

And as much as folks like Bobby Kennedy wish there was a new scandal, it is very easy to see that Merck is doing well because they have a vaccine that prevents cancer, a drug that treats cancer, and other important products.

“One activist who frequently criticizes pharmaceutical companies, Vera Hassner Sharav, and a co-author suggested that the H.P.V. vaccine stood for a campaign to “Help Pay for Vioxx” losses. “

Furor on Rush to Require Cervical Cancer Vaccine

What’s really surprising is that Bobby Kennedy‘s bombshell “Help Pay for Vioxx” idea isn’t even new.

“A fourth factor that soured many policymakers on mandates was consternation over the involvement of the vaccine’s manufacturer, Merck, in the policy process. Merck undertook a multifaceted marketing campaign to promote the passage of mandate legislation. Representatives of the company met with legislators and hired political consultants to promote the vaccine. Merck also provided unrestricted funds to Women in Government, a national organization of female legislators. Many of the bills to require HPV vaccination were introduced by Women in Government members.

Although Merck’s lobbying was a key catalyst in the initial push for mandates, many stakeholders came to view the company’s efforts as a liability. As media coverage called attention to the company’s aggressive tactics, suspicion grew that policy decisions were not being based on the product’s merits, and people who were otherwise supportive pulled back. The belief that mandate bills were an effort to make money for the company overshadowed whatever principled arguments might exist for them.”

Colgrove et al on HPV Vaccination Mandates — Lawmaking amid Political and Scientific Controversy

An article in the New York Times talked about it way back in 2007…

Merck is doing very well even though Gardasil is only mandated in two states and Washington D.C.
Merck is doing very well even though Gardasil is only mandated in two states and Washington D.C.

It sure does sound scarier to say that you discovered all of this during a lawsuit instead of a simple Google search though. But that’s how propaganda works.

#SaidNoDoctor, except Dr. Jay Gordon, who made this statement about the HPV vaccine on the Ricki Lake Show.
#SaidNoDoctor, except Dr. Jay Gordon, who made this statement about the HPV vaccine on the Ricki Lake Show. Although he says he has changed his mind and now recommends it, how many kids weren’t vaccinated and are at risk to develop cervical cancer because their parents listened to him and they weren’t vaccinated?

Fortunately, many parents aren’t buying it anymore.

“Coverage estimates for HPV vaccination are low despite evidence of the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety. This large pool of unvaccinated adolescents in the United States means that considerable public health benefits are not being realized; many vaccine-preventable cancers caused by HPV will occur… Mandating HPV vaccination for school entry is a move that will protect the public’s health by preventing HPV-related morbidity and mortality.”

Barraza et al on Human Papillomavirus and Mandatory Immunization Laws

They know that HPV vaccines are safe, with few risks, and more and more are vaccinating their kids, although even more kids would get vaccinated and protected if Gardasil was finally mandated like other vaccines.

More on Gardasil and Vioxx Lawsuits

Why Did Germany Make the MMR Vaccine Mandatory?

Have you seen the news about the new law that called for mandatory measles vaccination in Germany?

A new law that calls for mandatory measles vaccination in Germany.
Maybe we just need laws against this kind of misinformation about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases…

It’s true, although it certainly won’t cause “death and injury rates” to sky rocket.

Why Did Germany Make the MMR Vaccine Mandatory?

So why did it happen?

“Often, there is a lack of information or targeted disinformation that prevents people from getting themselves or their children vaccinated and exposure to avoidable health hazards.”

Opinion of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Paul Ehrlich Institute, Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedical Drugs, On the Quality and Safety of Vaccines

Germany has been one of the countries most affected by measles outbreaks in Europe over the past few years, with over 5,000 cases since 2015.

And at least three measles deaths, including an unvaccinated toddler. Plus additional deaths from SSPE.

This toddler in Germany who died in 2015 was not vaccinated for measles.
This toddler in Germany who died in 2015 was not vaccinated for measles.

And almost all of the cases are among those who are unvaccinated.

This led to the reestablishment of endemic measles virus transmission in Germany in 2017, even as we are supposed to be working towards eliminating measles.

So what does mandatory measles vaccination in Germany mean?

“The bill stipulates that all children from the age of one on entering the school or kindergarten must have the measles vaccine recommended by the Standing Vaccination Commission. In the case of care by a childminder, proof of measles vaccination usually has to be provided.

The same applies to persons who work in community facilities or medical facilities such as educators, teachers, day care workers and medical staff (if these were born after 1970). Asylum seekers and refugees must also have the vaccine protection four weeks after admission to a shared accommodation.”

Vaccination is designed to protect children from measles

Passage of the Measles Protection Act (Masernschutzgesetz), which goes into effect on March 1, 2020, also means that parents can be fined up to €2,500 if they don’t vaccinate their children, daycare centers can be fined for admitting unvaccinated children, and certain unvaccinated workers, including healthcare workers, can be fined.

“Since measles vaccination is highly effective and very well tolerated, the German Ethics Council is of the opinion that every person is morally obliged to have him- or herself vaccinated against measles and, if applicable, to provide appropriate immunisation for his or her own children.”

Ethics Council: Increasing measles vaccination rate by a package of measures rather than by mandatory vaccination

While some oppose the law, including the German Ethics Council, it is important to note that few people see mandatory vaccination as the first step in getting folks vaccinated and protected. It is typically one of the last measures taken after everything else has failed and outbreaks are once again getting out of control, with people dying needlessly of an easily preventable disease.

Don’t want vaccine mandates to come to your community?

Then stop scaring people away from getting vaccinated and protected with misinformation and propaganda!

Vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are obviously necessary.

More on Mandatory Measles Vaccination in Germany