Merck & Co., the huge drug company, hit the jackpot.

Sure, it’s the spreading nanny government and – surprise, surprise, it’s fueled by money!

As always – follow the money – but it’s more than that. The lives and safety of our children are at stake no matter what the PR says.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed an executive order Feb. 2, requiring all girls entering 6th grade in Texas be vaccinated against some of the viruses that cause cervical cancer.

The vaccine in question is new, approved by the FDA on June 8, 2006 and added to the regular childhood immunization schedule on June 29. Talk about fast track! It’s Gardasil, made only by Merck, which says three shots over six months are necessary.
Cost? $360 or more, depending on the physician.

The vaccine is said to protect against some strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) which causes some forms of cervical cancer.

There are more than 100 types of HPV; 30 to 40 are sexually transmitted; 15 are associated with cervical cancer. Tests indicate Gardasil protects against 70 percent of those, and 90 percent of genital warts.

Actually, regular Pap tests and proper treatment could solve the problem.

The vaccine doesn’t prevent any other sexually transmitted disease and does not prevent pregnancy.

We don’t know the effect if it’s administered to a girl who already has been infected with HPV – or if it’s given at the same time as other routine shots.

Girls in the 6th grade are 11- and 12-years-old but Merck says that all females, aged 9 to 26, should have the shots.

That adds up to a nice pile of bucks for Merck and right now, we’re only talking Texas. They’re aiming for the whole country – and after that, the world, probably subsidized by U.S. tax dollars in Third World countries.

What a stroke of luck that the governor of Texas decided this vaccine is such a good idea for little Texas girls.

Luck had nothing to do with it.

Perry’s a Republican who’s apparently forgotten the concepts of ”smaller government” and ”government out of our lives.”

He’s also lost the concept of representative government proposing and passing laws.

Perry avoided dealing with that pesky elected legislature and got the law by signing an executive order.

Some conservative.

He’s also a Christian who supposedly wants the votes of those similarly inclined but this move raises questions he might not be comfortable answering.

On the surface, he’s got the answers. Cervical cancer is a terrible disease. According to the CDC, there are 9,700 new cases of cervical cancer in the U.S. annually, with 3,700 deaths.

Perry says a vaccine to prevent it is no different from the polio vaccine.

Not exactly. First, the vaccine is barely 8-months-old, scarcely enough time to know how it will work. The truth is, even Merck doesn’t know how long the vaccine would be effective. A year, five years, 10?

In addition, new and possibly dangerous side effects could emerge as the vaccine is more widely used over a longer time period. We don’t know if these girls, years later, might develop arthritis, auto-immune diseases or brain disorders.

Perry ignores the side effects we already know: in just six months, 82 cases reported to the government, involving neurologic symptoms, joint pain, fever and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Remember when the highly touted Swine Flu vaccine in the late ’70s caused the same conditions?

An immunopathological reaction to the vaccine in some people is believed to have caused about 500 cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome resulting in death from severe pulmonary complications for 25 people. More people died from the vaccine than died from the Swine Flu itself.

Fewer than 2,000 people were involved in the testing of Gardasil – with 102 adverse reactions, including juvenile, rheumatoid and regular arthritis, and 17 deaths, which were said to be unrelated.

So, our children would be forced to be injected with three doses of a vaccine that could cause serious side effects and we don’t know the long term safety or efficacy.

It’s human experimentation and the government is pushing it.

It’s especially disgusting when that push is for ”poor” children to be inoculated. Sounds like a marketing ploy and in California, it may work. Gov. Schwarzenegger has asked for $11 million more in funding for the shot for 50,000 MediCal recipients aged 19 to 26.

The idea behind the vaccine is to inoculate children before they begin sexual activity. Many parents are concerned the vaccine will be perceived to be total prevention of cervical cancer and genital warts (which it isn’t) and be subtle permission to experiment with sex, perhaps at a younger age than might normally be expected.

Gov. Perry also waxes enthusiastic saying that by preventing cervical cancer, we’ll save money.

Ah yes, money, and here come some of those uncomfortable questions.

How independent was Perry’s decision? How influenced was he by his clear connections with Merck.

First of all, Merck is spending millions across the country to get states to require the vaccine. At this point, some 10 states are considering that.

TV is inundated with what appear to be public service spots but which are commercials for Gardasil aimed at mothers, young girls and women, encouraging them all to have the shots. The idea is ”don’t be left out.” The spots are slick and professional. That kind of propaganda isn’t cheap.

They’re all over California TV. Not surprisingly, Sally Lieber, the same state legislator who wants spanking outlawed, has also introduced AB16, which would require the HPV vaccine for California girls.

Surely Gov. Perry knows Merck is pushing the vaccine and has doubled its lobbying budget in Texas.

Doesn’t it trouble him that Merck has inroads into his own office?

There are three Merck lobbyists in Texas; one is Perry’s former chief of staff, Mike Toomey.

State representative Dianne White Delisi (R) is the mother-in-law of Perry’s current chief of staff. Delisi is also a state director for ”Women In Government,’ a national advocacy group which has gotten money from Merck. According to the Associated Press, a top official from Merck’s vaccine division is on the business council of ”Women In Government,” and (surprise!) members of that group have introduced many of the bills in other states.

On top of that, it’s reported Perry got $6,000 from Merck’s PAC during his last campaign.

We’ll see whether Texas will tell their governor he’s out of line.

However, with all the money and PR involved across the country, it’ll be difficult for politicians to resist the wall of money thrown at them by a company with a patent and deep pockets.

There’s a difference between vaccinations for rampant contagious diseases like measles and requiring new vaccines for diseases that ”exist” and are only contagious through risky behavior.

It’s already been done. The government requires newborn babies be inoculated against Hepatitis B, when the only way to get that disease is by sex or IV drug use.

It’s an invasion of parental rights and bad medicine.

But it is good business, for drug companies and the government. We’re moving toward mandating every new vaccine on the market. But our children have too many shots now. Every new one further burdens their immune systems. We simply don’t know the effect of that.

Not long ago, an anti-diarrhea vaccine was approved and touted and used, until it killed and injured so many babies that it was withdrawn. Oops!

Every ”oops” is someone’s life – but the company has lots of expensive lawyers plus government protection for mandated vaccines. How nice for them.

Mixing medicine and politics is bad medicine. Just wait until they develop an AIDS vaccine. Any bets on how long it will take them to require everyone to have it?

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