Merck & Co., Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline are developing the vaccine now approved by the Food and Drug Administration so that the vaccine can be widely distributed as a prophylaxis for protection against Human Papilloma Virus. At least two types of the virus are virtually eliminated by vaccination with the new product.
The current recommendation is that the vaccine first be administered to boys and girls just before puberty.
Because the vaccine protects against a sexually transmitted virus, many conservatives oppose making it mandatory citing fear that the adoption of a program of vaccination in such circumstances sends a subtle message condoning sexual activity before marriage.
In fact, while it is clear that multiple sexual partners increase the probability of acquiring Human Papilloma Virus many women who have not been sexually active except with their marriage partner have nevertheless been victimized by a kind of cervical cancer which this vaccine holds high hopes of completely preventing.
Conservative estimates suggests that as many as 70% of those currently dying of cervical cancer could be protected from such an end by timely vaccination.
Alan M. Kaye, Executive Director of the National Cervical Cancer Coalition was quoted by the Washington Post as having likened the vaccine to wearing a seat belt. “Just because you wear a seat belt doesn’t mean you are seeking an accident,” Kaye said.
It is remarkable that this tremendous scientific advancement has found any opposition whatever. Cervical cancer afflicts 10,000 new women each year. Nearly 4,000 of those who are afflicted die of it. Since the person infected with the disease which causes cervical cancer is often not the source of that disease, but a recipient of it, and often from their sole marital partner, moral objections would appear to be misplaced. Surely no woman should die because of cervical cancer acquired as a result of a youthful indiscretion.