Healthcare and medicine have always been key debate topics for presidential candidates. From President Obama’s individual mandate for healthcare to the preservation of Medicare and now to vaccination campaigns, it appears that several medical topics will take center stage in the upcoming presidential race of 2012. The recent Republican presidential debate saw the HPV vaccine become the focal point of a contentious disagreement. We have previously discussed the recent finding that the HPV vaccination program in Australia decreased the incidence of high grade cervical abnormalities by 38% in Australian females. Not since the introduction of the Pap smear, which reduced the cervical cancer death rate in the United States by 70%, have we seen such improvements in the treatment and prevention of this deadly malignancy. We must always strive to maintain complete honesty and provide the correct facts regarding health issues. It appears that several erroneous facts have been released as statements during the ongoing Republican presidential campaign regarding the HPV vaccine. These erroneous statements have caused the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. O Marion Burton, to release the following statement regarding the HPV vaccine:
“The American Academy of Pediatrics would like to correct false statements made in the Republican presidential campaign that HPV vaccine is dangerous and can cause mental retardation. There is absolutely no scientific validity to this statement. Since the vaccine has been introduced, more than 35 million doses have been administered, and it has an excellent safety record”.
We should always remember that vaccination programs are intended to benefit the patients that receive vaccines but that some adverse side effects are unavoidable. We must understand the true side effects, and not spread false statements. We have previously discussed how the rate of measles has risen because of a drop in the vaccination rate due the fraudulent MMR vaccine autism link. Spreading false statements regarding vaccines can and will have detrimental effects on the health of our nation.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper does a good job of “Keeping Them Honest” regarding the HPV vaccine in the following video: