Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The HPV Vaccine from Gardasil

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**Contains adult content.

I made an appointment to meet our new doctor last week. I figured I had better get all of our paper work turned in so we can get an appointment real quick like if anyone needs one.

When he asked me if all of the children are current on their vaccines, I told him that they are, with exception of the vaccines we felt were unnecessary.

I told him that since I never hear of anyone dying from an ear infection, which is not a contagious disease, we skip the Prevnar vaccine. (Am I the only one noticing that there seems to be a new vaccine that is a MUST HAVE every couple of years?)

He didn't look too happy about that, but when I told him that we also do not approve of the HPV vaccine from Gardasil, he looked disturbed and this is the conversation that followed:

Dr: "You REALLY SHOULD consider it."

Me: "We have considered it. (Duh. How could we object to it if we haven't considered it?)

Dr: (more forcefully) "You should RECONSIDER it."

Me: "Since it is a vaccine for a preventable disease, we prefer to teach responsibility instead."

Dr: "80% of women contract the disease. One could be your daughter."

Me: "80%? Of all women? Have a sexually transmitted disease?"

Dr: "It isn't transmitted only sexually."

We talked about a few other things like what to do for urgent medical care and office hours, but the whole time I couldn't stop thinking about the statistic he quoted.

As soon as I got home I looked it up and this is what I found from the CDC website:

"Genital HPV is a common virus that is passed on through genital contact, most often during sex."

"At least 50% of sexually active men and women acquire genital HPV infection at some point in their lives."

"Most people with HPV do not develop symptoms or health problems."

"Individuals can also lower their chances of getting HPV by being in a mutually faithful relationship with someone who has had no or few sex partners."

Is it just me or did that doctor completely misrepresent the facts to pressure me into having my daughters immunized from a sexually transmitted disease?

After I did my research I contacted a doctor friend of mine (and father of 11) and he confirmed that he agrees with my stand and will only give the vaccine if the parent of the girl insists on it AFTER he has explained that there is a sure fire way to prevent these kinds of diseases and it doesn't come in the form of a shot.

I certainly did NOT appreciate the tone taken with me in regard to "reconsidering" and I believe I will look for a doctor who is more reasonable about letting parents decide what to inject into the bodies of their children.

I feel like this vaccine would be similar to a vaccine that prevents alcohol poisoning. We all know that every year some high school or college kid turns up in the news having died from a drinking binge. What if there were a new vaccine offered that would prevent the death even though massive amounts of alcohol could still be consumed?

That way the kiddies could still have their drinking binge fun and the parents can rest easy knowing they will be safe, if not responsible.

I would rather teach my children personal responsibility instead of immunizing them from all forms of foolish behavior.


Lene said...

Wow!! Sounds like you need a new doctor - one who has some respect for the parents of his/her patients. Make sure you tell them why you are leaving!!

JunkMale said...

Harumph. Take your business elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lene, but since he lacks that respect, I doubt he will care about your opinion of HIM.
I left our first pediatrician after he made me feel inadequate on several occasions. I really was inexperienced, but not stupid, thank you very much. I didn't bother to tell anyone at the office that I thought he was the back end of a horse because I figured they already knew, and he obviously thought he was too cool to care.
You, on the other hand, have plenty of experience (with multiple pediatricians), and know you can do a lot better. I hope you find the one that will honor your decisions. Discuss them with you to know you had your data, maybe, but honor your supreme position as The Parent!
Alice McD

Traci Best said...

I totally agree with you! You did the right thing standing up to him like that.

That is one of those situations where I am glad that we go to a large church and I can find doctors (gp's at least!) whom I know their 'stand' on things! That dosn't always happen...but it sure is comforting when it does!

Way to go! ;)

Nikki said...

Wow, I would totally switch doctors if I were you. The only reason why I might consider that immunization for my daughter is rape. Someone pointed that out to me. But like you, I plan on teaching the importance of abstinence, responsibility, etc. I've personally never had any other partners and neither has my husband. So I have no need of it myself. Come to think of it, why do I really need a pap smear then? hmm anyways, the only reason I could think of justifying that vaccine is in the case of rape. But I also haven't read into it yet and how it would work.

It is really disturbing though that he wouldn't really listen to you. I need a doctor that listens to me. Otherwise- buh bye.

Erin said...

I guess I'm here adding my voice to the choir, but I agree 100%. I am not anti-vaccine by a long shot, but these new vaccines are really making me uncomfortable and this one, in particular, offends me. They are misrepresenting it, they are pushing it, and I do think it isn't addressing the real problem of promiscuity. That said, you won't change his mind, so I hope you find a new doctor soon.

Anonymous said...

How can you ensure that someday when your daughter does go to have sex or engage in sexual activity she wont be exposed to it by a guy who doesnt even know he has it given the cancerous strains are asymptomatic. She could be COMPLETELY abstinent until the day she marries and contract it that day from her husband who may have gotten the virus from a previous sexual engagement. We are not talking about a vaccine the prevents chickenpox or Hep b this is vaccine that prevents CANCER-why on earth would you deprive your daughter of that protection-we go to physicians because they gives us advice on how to protect ourselves and get better when we are sick. You teach your children all you want but do you live in reality to the things kids do despite the teaching-your dr was correct in hi statistic number however it is 80% of sexually active will have had HPV by the time they are 50. Reread some further statstics before making a final decision.

Smockity Frocks said...

Thank you for the link. I had already been to that site. In fact, it is precisely the site I linked to and quoted from in my post. Here is an exerpt:

"There are about 40 types of HPV that can infect the genital areas of men and women. Most HPV types cause no symptoms and go away on their own. But some types can cause cervical cancer in women and other less common genital cancers— like cancers of the anus, vagina, and vulva (area around the opening of the vagina). Other types of HPV can cause warts in the genital areas of men and women, called genital warts. Genital warts are not a life-threatening disease. But they can cause emotional stress and their treatment can be very uncomfortable.

Every year, about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and almost 4,000 women die from this disease in the U.S."
(emphasis mine)

Did you notice that "most HPV types cause no symptoms and go away on their own."? Pardon me for depriving my daughter from something that causes no symptoms and goes away on its own.

Also, "every year, about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and almost 4,000 women die from this disease in the U.S." is hardly as concerning as the supposed statistic of 80% which I still haven't seen in any of my research.

This vaccine is being marketed as saving women from cervical cancer. Why is it being pushed on EVERY girl, aged 12-28, without inquiring or couseling about risky behavior when only 12,000 women out of MILLIONS get the disease each year? And how many of those 12,000 women have their own behavior to point to as a cause for the disease?

Kelly said...

I totally agree with you on this vaccine and on having a dr. who respects the authority (and intelligence) of the parent! My daughters will not be getting this one!

Pat's Place said...

Please, please, please find a doctor who will, first of all, LISTEN to you! Then, find a doctor who will discuss these things rationally with you. After all, you were well prepared and KNEW what YOU were talking about. He showed NO RESPECT for you and your decisions. No way, no way would I return to that doctor! He makes my blood boil just thinking about the conversation that he did NOT have with you. Grrr!

Pat's Place said...

AND, I applaud your decision!

DangitAnge said...

You know, I'm opposed to this vaccine too. But a friend of mine made a good point. What if her husband some day is NOT a virgin on their wedding night and passes it on to my daughter?

While I have no intention of getting this vaccine for my 11 yo, perhaps in years to come, it may be necessary, based on who God had for her to marry.

Anonymous said...

You are missing the whole story on HPV-It DOES NOT ALWAYS go away on its own. If a female is sleeping with the same partner OVER and OVER she WILL not clear it, she will just keep getting it back-it is VERY difficult to treat in males unless they have a strain that causes warts. If a girl has an immune sytem or other underlying condition she would have the potential to NOT clear it as easily as others-AGAIN-YES most HEALTHY females will clear it. The scary thing is they dont know if it is truly cleared or lying dormant in the females body and could be reactivated by something in her system later on-I had a friend who had it, cleared it-had NO sexual contact for 2 months-NONE-got a staph infection then low and behold a week later had a PAP that tested positive for HPV-Youcant rule out these possiblities. Talk to an OB GYN and they will tell you this. The idea of giving a girl as young as 12 the vaccine is so her immune system builds up the level it needs to protect her BEFORE she could ever become exposed-hpv is transmitted not only thorugh intercourse but through Oral sex, hand to genital and genital to genital contact. It is sad to say that we live in a society today where these children are engaging in these activities-there is still so much unknown about HPV and that is why I personally feel you may be better safe than sorry-
I applaud your doctor for encouraging to vaccinate her and at the same time applaud you for standing up to him-it is YOUR decision and YES he should respect that-I am with you on that. You should leave him if he made you feel uncomfortable. I do feel though that some mothers can be naive and think that it would never happen to their daughter-TRUST me I am speaking from experience with this. Part of physicians' job is to encourage patients to prevent themselves from getting a disease before something happens. Think of all the people in this world who are obese or have diabetes and heart disease, etc-the vast majority of this could be prevented if patients took advice from physicians to prevent it by eating healthy, exercising, living a healthy lifestyle-instead they wait until after the fact- know this is going off tangant, but I just hate to see people so afraid of a vaccine that can literally have the potential to wipe a good chunk (not ALL)out a serious disease. You hav eto also look at it from a physicians perspective in a sue happy world. Say he had NEVER offered you the vaccine in teh first place low and behold you get cancer and you come back and say to him-I could have had the potential to be prevented to this and you NEVER offered me the vaccine???? See my point in that-I am sure he documented in your daughter's chart that he offered it to you and that you refused. The FDA would not have recommend routine vaccination of this if they did not feel it would be of benefit to the population.

Smockity Frocks said...

I have spoken with 2 doctors who do not offer the shot because of their own convictions that HPV can be controlled through behavior.

And on government agencies always doing what "will benefit the population" ... I think I'll take my chances and decide what will benefit my family without needing a committee or organization to tell me.

Check out this article to see how many girls have been paralyzed or killed by the vaccine.

Kim said...

Connie, thanks again for sharing your thoughts on this ... which are mine exactly.

I had this very same discussion (the one here in your comments) many years ago when the vaccine was first introduced.

I haven't changed my position but rather become more convicted, especially in light of more research.

The only reason they push this vaccine at age 12 is because children are routinely vaccinated and often without question. If the doctors can "schedule" this vaccine and impose the scare tactic approach on parents, then cha-ching ... a sale is made.

Anonymous said...

THE SALE IS MADE??? Are you serious-do you even know the cost for physicians to stock vaccines and do you realize all to often how much moeny docs lose on them b/c they are an advocate in preventing diseases-you have NO idea. Physicians are held accountable for the qualityof healthcare they provide and vaccinations are a HUGE part of this. I love how you say MANY years ago when the vaccine was introduced! It is going on 3 years this year-WOW YEARS have passed-on market for 3 years-in trials and studied for over 6 and PROVEN safe and effective up to 100%.

Harmony said...

Anonymous, I get what you're saying. Not every Christian woman who has remained abstinent until marriage marries a man who has had those same convictions his whole life. He might be a wonderful man who will remain faithful to her for the rest of his life, but he might have a history promiscuity in his past.

And in THAT case, the prospective husband should have been upfront with his future wife about his past, and that would certainly be a reason for an engaged woman to receive that vaccine before her marriage. In fact, I was told a few months after my marriage that the vaccine is recommended for women up to 26 years old. And I'm sure a doctor would rather give the vaccine to a woman older than 26 rather than risk her contracting this disease.

I'm proud of you, Connie. :-)

Smockity Frocks said...

Why do you assume anyone here has "NO idea"? Because if we were well informed we would think like you?

I believe we all know that a physician is an advocate in preventing diseases. The point is there is more than one way to prevent this disease.

I personally know 2 doctors (one was my former OBGYN), both Christians with 2 daughters, who object to the sweeping way this vaccine is administered and have chosen not to give it to their daughters. I wonder if you think they have "NO idea".

Just because you say doctors lose money storing vaccines doesn't convince me of anything, except that maybe they have an incentive for selling more.

Have you read any of the links I posted? This vaccine ishardly "PROVEN safe and effective up to 100% " unless you mean effective except for occasional paralysis and death.

Anonymous said...

Good call! My first thought when I started seeing it advertised on TV was that they couldn't possibly have tested this long enough to really know what it is going to do.
S in the Tules

Shari said...

Amen Sister! And that would be the last time I saw that Dr. Period!

Robin said...

As a Physician Assistant myself, and a Physician Assistant Professor, I feel that the real bothersome part of the interaction with your doctor was that he did not listen to you and respect your decision. Your point of view is not unusual or unreasonable, but even if it was, it is YOUR decision to make.

You have educated yourself on the vaccine. You have made a decision for your daughter, who is a minor. Whether he agreed with the decision or not, he should respect your decision. Patients make decisions all the time that are not agreeable with their physician's point of view (consider issues of weight, blood transfusions, flossing, life support, etc . . .), but the physician's role is to educate patients, respect their decisions, and create a plan to work with their decisions. Not insult them. Not cast judgment. Not try and misrepresent the facts to get their way.

He'd fail that portion of my class.

I'd encourage you to find another healthcare provider with better manners, listening skills, and ethics.

Lauramamadoula said...

I m skipping all the drama in this comment section to say... wow. it was rude of him to be some confrontational.

even if he was sold wholeheartedly on the HPV vaccine and thought it was a seriously important thing to do... a doctor should never talk down to the patient whom is PAYING him. it's unethical, and quite frankly rude.

I am not keen to paying people to talk rudely to me. have a serious conversation to discuss what he thinks the benefits are? sure, by all means. but be talked snidely too? nope. not paying for that.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

An alternative to misrepresentation- he really is uninformed. If you wish to be bold and an advocate for informed medical care, copy the documents from the CDC, call him and ask him what he knows that the CDC does not, and ask him what these other forms of transmission are. I personally would like to know what he would say.

As for anonymous, it's ENTIRELY possible for an adult woman to decide to get the vaccine at the time of her marriage, just in case.

Kelly Family said...

Beside my problem with HPV I worry about a dr who confuses 80% with 50% of sexually active women..because 80 and 50 are different. I don't want him confusing 80ml of medicine with 50 ml... numbers are important in science

Angela Fehr said...

I think your Dr. should be thanking you for taking the time to research and make an informed decision - whether or not he agrees with it.

What I have heard about the Gardasil vaccine, the promotion (scare-mongering) that took place even befor the drug was approved, and the true facts about what it can and cannot do in regards to cervical cancer has made me decide to opt out for my daughters as well.

BTW, in Canada our government is FUNDING the Gardasil vaccine. The manufacturer is laughing all the way to the bank.

Anonymous said...

There are cases of very bad reactions to the vaccine (very serious side effects and even deaths), which the doctor should have warned you about.

Anonymous said...

Whoa!! that doctor is very rude I ever heard and seem doctor aren't respect his patient(you). You should have filing complaint to headquarter what you dislike the doctor says those to you and doctor isn't suppose do treat you that way. It's against law what doctor's attitude/speaking to the patient without friendly talks w/ all information discussing.

You definitely need get new doctor and tell new doctor what the former doctor did you which you complaint for what doctor did wrong doing toward you by speaking.

Love you,
Your sister, Shellie

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