According to Your News Wire, pharmaceutical firm, Merck, has announced that it would be testing new HPV vaccines on babies. The company said that the aim of the test would be to study the effect of the vaccine on infants, the results of which can then be used to create a mandatory HPV vaccination programme in the future. The company is of the view that catching them young would reduce HPV in adolescents.
The move from the company comes even though Gardasil/ HPV vaccine has been involved in a lot of controversies with some nations such as Japan refusing to even sponsor the vaccine. There are even paediatricians who refuse to prescribe the vaccine because of its perceived ill effects and reactions. Despite the negative press and reactions, such vaccines are being promoted in new forms and strategies by the pharmaceutical lobby.
Even as awareness about the vaccines grew and people started opposing vaccination programmes, especially the ones that were found to benefit the pharmaceutical industry more than anyone else- companies have continued to lobby hard in order to make vaccines mandatory. Not satisfied with putting a particular age group into possible risk, the companies have also lobbied hard to extend the age range of the mandatory vaccination programme so that more people could be brought under the programme. Now that the vaccine has been tested on children and adults, companies want the programme to be extended to babies so that they can get a new set of customers, detractors of the vaccine lobby say.
HPV is seen nearly in all sexually active men and women and most often the virus does not cause any problem in patients. At times they can cause cancers and health problems including genital warts. The vaccines however, have run into trouble because of the consequent side effects of administering them. For example, in Japan, a suit has been filed against makers of the HPV vaccine Cervarix and Gardasil. The government of Japan, which recommended the vaccine, is also facing adverse legal moves from affected individuals.
Recent research showed that the uptake of the vaccine despite being around for years in the US and despite being linked to a number of cancers is because paediatricians were not recommending it to children in their adolescent ages.
Lois Ramondetta, an oncologist at MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston, said, “If you are not recommending the vaccine, you are not doing your job. It’s the equivalent of having patients in their 50s and not recommending a colonoscopy — and then having them come back with cancer. Paediatricians never see the cancers caused by HPV, so some of them don’t recognize the vaccine’s importance in preventing cancer. They don’t know how to talk about it with patients, or they wait too long. And their knowledge level is not where it should be.”
The use or disuse of the vaccines essentially boils down to people apprehensive of the drug on one side and doctors and the pharmaceutical lobby on the other side extolling the purported benefits of the drug. While many doctors have claimed that the vaccines are safe, experiences prove otherwise. Therefore, experimenting them on babies needs to be executed with utmost caution.