(NaturalNews) British Department of Health (DoH) approved the mandatory vaccination of schoolgirls against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is supposedly responsible for causing cervical cancer. The series of three vaccinations are required for girls aged 12 to 13 years old beginning in 2008 with an additional catch-up program for women up to 18 years old to start later.
The National Health Service (NHS) feels this is a step to help prevent disease instead of just treating it.
DoH estimates 400 lives per year could be saved from this vaccination program, but the effects will not be seen for several decades. Cervical cancer is the second most common cause of death for young woman ranking behind breast cancer.
The UK joined the ranks of Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Norway, Luxembourg and Belgium which already have vaccination programs in place.
This program will come at a large cost to the national heath system. Estimates are it will cost 100 million pounds (208 million USD) a year, with the catch-up program costing an additional 200 million pounds (416 million USD) over the next two years. This makes it the most expensive vaccination program undertaken.
The vaccinations will be administered at the public schools with the private schools taking the responsibility to see the program is implemented in their facilities. It was added that the parents have the final say whether or not their child will receive the vaccine.
This move by the DoH just added more fuel to an already heated debate on mandating the vaccination against HPV. The arguments against vaccinating young girls include: it will encourage them to become more sexually active, the vaccine contains aluminum - causing side effects of chronic joint and muscle pain and fatigue, the HPV virus is not caught through casual contact or proximity like small pox or measles, and the direct link between HPV virus and cervical cancer has not been proven in a controlled study.
Other concerns of parents are the long term effects of the vaccine. They ask is it safe?
The vaccine is to protect against the strains of HPV that are believed to cause cervical cancer, genital warts and anal cancer. HPV can be found in about 80% of both men and women, but most do not suffer or die from cervical cancer. Only about 1% of the infected women ever get cervical cancer.
Gardasil, jointly developed by Merck of the United States and Sanofi Pasteur of France, is the first European Union approved vaccine. A rival vaccine, Cervarix, made by the UK group GlaxoSmithKline is waiting approval. Studies are being conducted to see if these vaccines should also be given to young boys.
The potential sales income from Gardasil could be Merck's biggest money earner with estimated sales of at least 2 million USD. This is income badly needed by Merck to make up for the Vioxx scandals. In order for Merck to reap this income, Gardisil vaccination would have to be a requirement to attend school.
Some health officials are concerned the cost of the three vaccine series will be cost prohibitive to the sector of the population that needs it most, the poor, under insured and not insured. In countries where a national health plan is in effect this is not of concern, but in counties that depend on private health insurance the concern is real. If the vaccine is optional and not mandated most insurance carries will not cover the 360 USD cost.
About the author
Jill R. Schaumloeffel has been an avid follower of alternative medicine and nutrition ever since she discovered homeopathy while living in Germany. She has used “old-fashioned” herbal remedies, good nutrition and sot the consultation of alternative practitioners to keep her family in good health. She has a degree in electrical engineering and uses her technical writing skills to write about nutrition and alternative therapies. For more information see www.jrschaum.com.