Stuff about Rick Perry: HPV, vaccines, and parents
Been waiting for them to needle you on that ill-advised HPV Executive Order. It was a shot in the arm for your critics.
Seriously, Governor, you did first try to push the Texas legislature into passing a HPV mandate for 12 year old girls. Then, when the legislature said “no”, you waited until everyone left Austin before creating that Executive Order mandating vaccinations for all 12 year old girls in Texas. You really stirred up a hornet’s nest with that. The public went ballistic. The legislature quickly made sure you understood, “no” means “no”- even to you, the Governor of Texas.
There you stood at that debate last night once again with that sheepish face going, “I’m sorry. I was doin’ what I thought best for people.” Texans rolled their eyes a bit, being familiar with that routine. But there’s nothing wrong with admitting an error, or an incident of bad judgement if ya’ learn from it. But then there was the dreaded phrase, “We in Texas…..”. Rick, please, no! Not again! Rein in the broad generalities: the sweeping “we in Texas” statements. (Sometimes the challenge is not sayin’ what you mean, but sayin’ it in as few words as possible.) If you believe something’s right, gut it up and say “I think…” not “Hey, it’s not just me, it’s all of Texas…(so don’t blame me…)”
Being fair, multiple Doctors have indicated to me that the HPV vaccines (Gardasil and Cervarix) are good and are recommended to prevent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which causes almost all cases of cervical cancer and genital warts.
Rick, surely you meant well. But don’t you see it’s the state mandating the vaccine that’s the problem for multiple reasons?
First, it looks bad: like Pharm companies cozying up to you through your staff and acquaintances. The pharmaceutical company had a lot to gain, financially and politically, if other states could be persuaded to follow Texas’ lead.
Texas has a lot of young kids. Consider the cost of $400 for the series of 3 shots for each girl. Tidy sum. Some insurance companies will cover the cost of the series. Texas always offers “free” vaccination clinics for school kids every year (tax payer money) In addition, there are Federal health programs such as Vaccines for Children (VFC) which pays for “free” vaccines for children up to age 19 yrs. who are either uninsured, Medicaid-eligible, or native American Indians/Alaskan Natives. Although the taxpayers furnish the funds, keeping kids well is a good idea. Obviously, there’s a lot of money on the line for the Pharm companies.
The manufacturer blanketed the print and television media with ads. It was constant and everywhere: little girls’ voices sing-songing that jump rope chant, “I want to be one less, one less, one less…”. It was catchy, easy to chant, and got to be downright annoying. (Please, make it stop. Make it stop. Talk about water boarding….)
Fearful parent were driven to their children’s doctors to learned more. WHOA! That’s stopped some parents.
- This vaccine does prevent cancer.
- It’s not a vaccine targeted at an easily-spread-in-the-classroom communicable disease like polio, whooping-cough, or typhoid. (“And they get this HPV how?” stammered parents.)
- It’s a series of shots done on a precise schedule, so parent will have to schedule appointments and must return as scheduled. (OK. Surely my boss will let me off. It has to be 3 shots?)
- It was originally only for girls (Well, girls are the ones who get cervical cancer, OK. But it seems unfair parents of girls have to pay this cost? Life is unfair. Just think of it like bras.) But surprise! Recently there’s been an another media blast announcing that now boys should be getting a HPV vaccine to prevent them from spreading the disease. (Call marketing! A new source of paying customers!)
- The series needs to be started before girls become sexually active to be most effective (Uh, parents start squirming. How come it says recommended to girls 9 yrs up when was not tested on girls that young? Uh, why did the governor decide 12 yrs. was the perfect time to start the series? Does he understand that schools are dealing with girls who turn up in the fall of 5th grade that are already pregnant? Yes, girls 10-12 yrs. already pregnant.)
- There may be side effects. Some may be serious to certain children (And you can’t tell which ones? Low rate? Fine, unless it’s your kid. Visions of that 18 year old girl’s reaction….)
- This is a new vaccine. It has been tested and did test well, but they are still “discovering” things about it….(Like does it have to be 3 doses? What if they just get one or two doses and don’t come back?)
Seriously, there’s stuff that makes parents uneasy. Catchy marketing tune or not, Rick, it’s a parent’s decision.
Still that’s not the main point here. It that pushy Executive Order move, and it’s your response to the question in the debate. You were sheepish, and grinned humbly enough, but you said you “should have worked with the legislature instead of using an Executive Order.” Actually, you tried to force the legislature to write a bill, but they resisted. You tried to go around them, and disregarded the will of the people. You gotten plum weak north of the ears?
Now, Rick, (nervous shuffling of boots) maybe you honestly believe your actions were justified to protect children. You know darn well, the fastest way to move cattle is slowly. And if in doubt of what to do, let your horse do the thinkin’- and if he ain’t wantin’ to go there, well, then neither should you.
Gov. Rick, don’t worry. Even the best trail has a few puddles. Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce. Now, head ‘em up and move ‘em on out.
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Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.