A recent headline story in the Independent caught my eye as an example of 'disease mongering'. My dislike of HPV vaccination will have been made clear from my last post, as I feel it is a somewhat large hammer for a very small nut. The vaccine Gardasil, from Merck is seen in this light by myself and and many others. Age standardised mortality rates of Cervical Cancer in the UK stood at 2.4 per 100,000 in 2008 and falling which is a risk of .0024% if my calculation is correct. Down it seems from 1971 of 7.1 per 100,000 and in most of those years the vaccine did not exist. It is also somewhat easy to cure and in many cases no harm results from infection with even the low percentage of CIN 3 lesions detected only progressing to actual cancer 1% of the time. So why we should vaccinate against such a problem bemuses me, when we ignore many other cancers of much higher rates of incidence.
|Michael Douglas, a throat cancer sufferer.|
The increase is laid at the door of 'yoofs' predilection for oral sex as opposed to the 'missionary position' one assumes, which does lend to them, some inclination against unwanted pregnancies. It's a pity that such a risque form of sex should be viewed as 'risky' by the Professor (honourary) who broke the story; Hisham Mehanna. This practise increases the risk of HPV infection of the throat by this 'staggering amount' (sic), sufficient for him to advocate HPV vaccination. Yet quite a number of Scientists find themselves at odds with this because the protocol remains largely unproven and in most cases the recipients would have to wait some twenty to thirty years for any evidence that it was, to come to light. And of course, the vaccines do not protect from all HPV strains so their effect is at best 70% for 4 to 10 years.
At the moment the NHS continues to roll out the HPV vaccination of young girls but not boys. This story is a 'move' by someone who combines both Private and NHS careers to frighten young women, girls and now anxious parents, to press for this vaccine to be available for all. It seems a cynical ploy to me to once more 'generate' more things to do for an already declining resource fund; the NHS. I could point out that Mehanna receives funding for some of his studies from GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of one of the two major vaccines; Cervarix. But of course I wouldn't do that, would I?