On Gardasil For Guys / Boys, Girls And The HPV Vaccine

Despite The Hamster Wheel’s gentle mocking of the departed Hungry Beast show last night (“Vaginas, Robots, Vox Pops and Graphics?”) – you have to admit that they were ahead of the bell-curve when it came to suggesting the HPV vaccine for men as well as women:

That is the great Daniel ‘Professor Funk’ Keogh, local Perth science celebrity and the creator of the ‘The Strange Power Of The Placebo Effect‘ video that I put onto the Token Skeptic podcast about a year ago(with many, many thanks!). Turns out that The New Yorker is getting into the act as well: BOYS, GIRLS, AND THE HPV VACCINE

Vaccinating boys keeps them from getting sick, and that may be the main way this is sold. But, as the C.D.C. panel noted, it “may also provide indirect protection of women.” One would think that raising boys to be men who protect women (and other men), directly or indirectly, would be a conservative priority as well. The maddening thing about vaccine opponents is the way they rely on the immunity of most of us, while facilitating new outbreaks of obsolete diseases. (I’ve written before about how scared I was when I was pregnant, and my doctor found that my rubella immunity had faded, that I would run into children whose parents had let them run around without the M.M.R. vaccine. Unlike the vaccine that prevents it, prenatal exposure to rubella, also known as German measles, really can cause mental disabilities.)

“This is cancer, for Pete’s sake,” William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt professor who worked with the panel, told Harris. “A vaccine against cancer was the dream of our youth.” A dream of our youth, frustrated, perhaps, by distorted fantasies about the country’s youth, and what this means for them. Isn’t our dream of and for our youth that they grow up to be adults—healthy, safe, and responsible?


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