Finland schools to skip parental permission to give HPV vaccine to kids

I’ve written about the HPV vaccine push before in England.  Now this story is coming out in Finland about giving this to kids without the permission of their parents.  Via yle:

Up until now, parents have been asked to give their consent ahead of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations administered to girls by school nurses, and many guardians have opted out of allowing their daughters to get the jab. But this is set to change.

Tuija Leino, who heads the National Institute for Health and Welfare THL’s immunisation unit, says permission was sought as parents were not aware that the HPV vaccine had been introduced to the national immunisation programme. But now that people know about it, permission is no longer needed, she explains.

Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare says about half of 11-12-year-old girls eligible for the vaccination received it in the past 5 years that it has been available as part of the national immunisation programme.

Whether you agree with getting the vaccine or not it should be worrying that they can do this without any permission whatsoever.  It sets an awfully dangerous precedent and I happen to subscribe to Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s take on this that we over-treat in general where it is not needed, often times doing more harm than good.  The chances of high risk HPV turning into cervical cancer are already very low.  The study they linked to claiming that the vaccine was perfectly safe was curiously a dead link.  Read into that what you will.

This also raises questions about promiscuity in general.  HPV is largely transmitted via sexual activity.  It shouldn’t be too surprising that it’s on the rise as sexual promiscuity rises as well.  Somehow this gets everyone in a knot, similarly to why HIV rates are higher in homosexual men, who on average tend to sleep with way more partners than most heterosexual people.  It’s becoming less popular to lead a conservative lifestyle where you marry someone early on in life.  Apparently abstinence isn’t a an option they’d like to give in Finland.

Something feels inherently wrong with blatantly giving big pharma a contract like this.   A lot of these studies are funded by big pharma themselves, as if we should ever trust their self-policing.  How many movies alone have been made about big studies that are kept under wraps or the numbers are skewed to hide some real underlying risk?  It takes billions of dollars to get a drug to market, is it really a stretch to think they may skew something to get it through?  They may actually have some studies to test side effects, but who knows what the long-term side effects of something like this could be.

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