‘Waste’ in HPV vaccines shows need for vetoing child consent bill, says critic

California Gov. Jerry Brown
California Gov. Jerry Brown

.- “Scandalous” new information about the Gardasil HPV vaccines shows that California Gov. Jerry Brown should veto a state bill that allows 12 year olds to consent to such treatments without their parents’ involvement, opponents said ahead of the governor's expected decision.

William B. May, chairman of the California-based Catholics for the Common Good, said the bill has been designed to allow boys as well as girls to consent to the vaccine, although the Center for Disease Control currently only recommends it for girls.

“That doubles potential sales,” he said. Citing California Senate Appropriations estimates, he said this bill could mean more than $30 million of additional sales for Merck at taxpayer expense.

“Over a million more in taxpayer funds will be spent at the state level to pay the people providing the injections,” he said.

May also charged that most of the money would be “wasted.”

To immunize a patient, the vaccine requires the administration of three shots over a six-month period at a cost of $120 per injection. However, Centers for Disease Control statistics say that 73 percent of teenagers receiving injections never complete the series.

“These new facts are scandalous,” May said.

Bill A.B. 499, passed by the State Senate on Aug.31, would allow children 12 years old and older to consent to Gardasil vaccinations and other methods to prevent sexually transmitted diseases without telling their parents.

Gov. Brown may sign the bill into law this month, or he may decide it should not become law.

He has voiced concerns about parental rights, as in his recent veto of a bill that would mandate ski helmets for youth and impose criminal penalties on parents if their child skis or snowboards without a helmet.

“I am concerned about the continuing and seeming inexorable transfer of authority from parents to the state,” the governor said in his Sept. 6 veto message. “I believe parents have the ability and responsibility to make good choices for their children.”

In a Sept. 13 letter to the governor, May said opponents were “heartened” by his concern about parents’ rights. He said that A.B. 499 “takes away the rights of parents to make consequential healthcare decisions for their children.”

“Governor Brown should apply the same parental rights principles to A.B. 499 that he used when he recently vetoed the mandatory ski helmet bill,” May said Sept. 16.

He added that there are no protections against coercion from “adults with ulterior motives or profit incentives” to coerce or scare children into consenting to the vaccines.

“Children are not equipped to stand up to the authority of adults, to do research, to ask questions, and to understand statistics about health risks that would enable them to make informed decisions,” he continued.

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles has voiced similar concerns.

Disallowing parents’ involvement, he warned, could lead to pressure on children from “parties who may not have our best interests in mind” and who may have “financial or other motivations” to encourage vaccination.

He was praying for the veto, he said Sept. 6. He cited children’s “fundamental” rights to parental guidance and parents’ “fundamental” right and duty to be responsible for their children’s physical and spiritual well being.

“Our children need the knowledge and wisdom of their parents in order to make complicated medical decisions. This legislation would leave our children to make these decisions without the benefit of their parents’ wisdom.”

Opponents are asking California residents who oppose the bill to call the governor at (916) 445-2841 to voice their concerns, and to ask others to voice their concerns as well.

“It is critical to keep the calls coming,” May said.


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