Posts tagged vaccine
Posts tagged vaccine
Bioethicists have joined together to offer a reward of $11,000 to anyone who can prove the child Michele Bachmann mentioned repeatedly on television this week actually became “mentally retarded” from the HPV vaccine. One of the scientists is from Bachmann’s home state of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Star Tribune reports:
Steven Miles, a U of M bioethics professor, said that he’ll give $1,000 if the medical records of the woman from Bachmann’s story are released and can be viewed by a medical professional.
His offer was upped by his former boss from the University of Minnesota, Art Caplan, who is now director of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics. Caplan said he would match Miles’ challenge and offered $10,000 for proof of the HPV vaccine victim.
"These types of messages in this climate have the capacity to do enormous public health harm," Miles said of why he made the offer. "The woman, assuming she exists, put this claim into the public domain and it’s an extremely serious claim and it deserves to be analyzed."
Stupid scientists, trying to get in the way of a good story. Bachmann retreated a little, saying that she was essentially repeating what she was told. So if she hears a rumor Canada doesn’t like us, is she going to run to the UN and launch a bombing campaign? She has no problem scaring parents across America with vaccine myths.
I have a theory, one that was touched on by Crooks and Liars as well. Bachmann meant to say autism, based on debunked claims about vaccines and autism, and conflated it with mental retardation - two entirely different diagnoses. That woman may exist, and may have told Bachmann her daughter developed autism from vaccination. Here’s the problem - Let’s pretend, in an alternate bizarro universe, that vaccines could cause autism. The HPV vaccine is given most commonly at 12 years of age. According to the Mayo Clinic, children show symptoms at a very young age, sometimes as young as 12 months. The symptoms of autism would have been apparent long before age 12.
So long story short, Bachmann is probably full of it, and this woman either doesn’t exist, or is repeating the anti-vaccine myth that has been debunked many times over. It’s going to be tough for her to fully walk this one back. She justified it by saying, “I’m not a doctor, I’m not a scientist, I’m not a physician.” Oh, you’re not? So it wasn’t intended to be a factual statement? Then quit spreading misinformation.
Here’s a response to Michele Bachmann’s claim that Gardasil, the HPV vaccine, can cause mental retardation. I’m pasting their release in its entirety so I can bold for emphasis.
The American Academy of Pediatrics would like to correct false statements made in the Republican presidential campaign that HPV vaccine is dangerous and can cause mental retardation. There is absolutely no scientific validity to this statement. Since the vaccine has been introduced, more than 35 million doses have been administered, and it has an excellent safety record.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Family Physicians all recommend that girls receive HPV vaccine around age 11 or 12. That’s because this is the age at which the vaccine produces the best immune response in the body, and because it’s important to protect girls well before the onset of sexual activity. In the U.S., about 6 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year, and 4,000 women die from cervical cancer. This is a life-saving vaccine that can protect girls from cervical cancer.
Before anyone wants to claim they are not speaking to Bachmann directly, I’d like to remind folks that she’s the only one making the claim that it causes mental retardation.
This is one of the few things, if not the only thing, Rick Perry has done right as governor as Texas. Opponents have this idea that if young girls get the vaccine, they’ll suddenly become sexually active. This assumes that parents are telling girls they are getting a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer caused by a form of an STD and this means they can have all the unprotected sex they want. I’m 100% sure that’s not the case. Parents are also able to opt out of the vaccine requirement if they wish.
To me, Bachmann’s statement is cruel and reckless. Often, women don’t know they have HPV because they display no symptoms - same with men. It’s estimated that by age 50, 80% of women will have contracted HPV, and nearly all cases of cervical cancer are linked to persistent infection with the virus. Bachmann is in favor of jettisoning a measure to prevent a form of cancer simply to score political points.
She belongs with the crowd cheering the deaths of uninsured, because those “innocent little girls” she’s so worried about would see their chances of developing a deadly cancer skyrocket - just so she could outdo her opponents. If that’s not heartless, I don’t know what would be heartless.