Experts Appalled At Gardasil Requirement For Immigrant Women

Illustration for article titled Experts Appalled At Gardasil Requirement For Immigrant Women

In spite of recommendations from the CDC against the practice, the Department of Homeland Security is now requiring that immigrants receive the cervical cancer vaccination, Gardasil, before entering the U.S. permanently. According to the Wall Street Journal, because of a 1996 law, when the CDC recommended Gardasil for women ages 11 to 26 two years ago the vaccine automatically went on the must-list for green card applicants.The CDC says they were unaware of this consequence, and Dr. Jon Abramson, head of the CDC's Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices, tells the Journal, "If we had known about it, we would have said it's not a good idea…We don't want someone coming into the U.S. who hasn't been vaccinated against measles or chickenpox, [but] HPV can only be communicated by sexual contact…This is not something that endangers kids in a school setting or puts your population at risk." Even Merck, the company that manufactures Gardasil and has been accused of overly aggressive lobbying tactics, isn't particularly fond of the requirement. A spokesperson for Merck tells the Journal, "We were not aware of the policy and we did not lobby for this provision in any way." In addition, Gardasil has encountered its fair share of controversy over its efficacy and potential side-effects since becoming widely recommended. The National Association of Pacific American Women's Forum's Priscilla Huang likened the Gardasil requirement to using immigrants as "test subjects" because the research on the vaccine is thought to be incomplete by some. (And with rumored disturbing side-effects.) Requiring the vaccine — one of the priciest on the market — could cost immigrants as much as $360, and in addition to the $500 or more new United States residents must spend on application fees, the cost is pretty prohibitive. Immigration advocate Tuyet Duong says the requirement "is outrageous; it's creating an economic barrier." The Journal was hard-pressed to find anyone who resoundingly supported forcing immigrants to get the vaccine, and it notes that 'a government official said the cervical vaccine's inclusion on the list might be reviewed." Your bureaucracy at work! UPDATE: A tipster who works in immigration law writes in: "To make your story even a little worse, the fee for a green card application is $1010. It more than doubled in the summer of 2007. (It is $600 if you are under age 14.) This is not counting the costs of the medical exam, including the vaccines, which must be paid to the doctor in cash." U.S. Requiring Controversial Vaccine [The Street] Gardasil Requirement for Immigrants Stirs Backlash [WSJ] Earlier: Experts Question The Cost Effectiveness Of HPV Vaccine

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So let's see ... this is phobic, racist, potentially dangerous for recipients, and addressing a non-threat rather than a threat. Is anybody SURPRISED that this is coming from the Department of Homeland Security?