TX Gov Rants About Failed HPV Vaccine Mandate


"I have never seen so much misinformation spread about a vital public health issue: whether it is the effectiveness of the vaccine, the impact of the order on parents' decision-making authority, or the impact this will have on the behavior of young women....I have wrestled for a few days with whether to veto this bill, or let it become law without my signature. But the fact of the matter is, it will become law no matter what because the voice of the Legislature is clear. And rather than allowing this issue to be held captive one more day by legislative politics and the inevitable posturing that will ensue during a veto override debate, I have decided to let it become law without my signature...." - Texas Governor Rick Perry

"A veto almost certainly would have been overridden by Texas legislators, who have questioned the vaccine's safety, efficacy and cost and complained that the governor's mandate would intrude on families' lives. Lawmakers also were outraged that he didn't consult with them before issuing the order.....Republican Rep. Dennis Bonnen bristled at the governor's criticism of his bill. "We should not and are now not going to offer the 165,000 11-year-olds in Texas up to be the study group for Merck to find out what the implications of this vaccine would be for these girls," he said." - Liz Austin Peterson, Associated Press, May 9, 2007

Barbara Loe Fisher Commentary:

Texas Governor Rick Perry, who crowned himself King back in February when he issued an Executive Order mandating HPV vaccine for all 11 year old girls, had a public tantrum yesterday at a press conference in which he castigated the Texas legislature for having the audacity to override his abuse of executive power. While he ranted and called the legislators who dared to defy him names, he again failed to mention that his former chief of staff is now a lobbyist for Merck, the only drug company with an HPV vaccine (GARDASIL) on the market. Adopting Merck's favorite public relations strategy to deflect attention from the legitimate product safety issues, Perry once again tried to make it all about parents being upset about kids having sex too soon rather than parents being upset about their 11 year old daughters being forced to use a vaccine that was only tested for a few years in a few hundred 11 year old girls prior to licensure.

The National Vaccine Information Center, as well as the federal vaccine adverse events reporting system (VAERS), continues to receive reports that young girls are experiencing serious reactions to GARDASIL. Young girls are collapsing into unconsciousness and injuring themselves, having seizures and suffering facial paralysis, Guillain Barre syndrome, speech and vision problems and other severe health deterioriation that leaves unable to function normally after being injected with GARDASIL. Yesterday, the Governor of Texas engaged in the worst kind of political posturing to make excuses for trying to force girls entering adolescence to use an experimental vaccine to prevent an infection that cannot be transmitted in the school setting for a cancer that has declined by more than 74 percent in the US since the 1950's and, today, causes fewer than one percent of all cancers diagnosed in the US and fewer than one percent of all cancer deaths in the US.

Appropriately, the elected representatives of the Texas legislature have spoken, not just to slap the hands of a Governor who abused his executive power, but they have spoken on behalf of the majority of Texas citizens who elected them. The only way the American people can exercise their will in a democracy is to make their concerns known to the men and women, who they elect to represent them in state legislatures and in Congress, and ask them to act.

The people of Texas have spoken on the subject of HPV vaccine mandates through their elected representatives in the state legislature. The people of California would do well to think twice before they give up their power to speak through their elected representatives about future vaccine mandates and hand it over to unelected public health officials in the executive branch.

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