March 27, 2007

"According to the prosecutors, Glaxo paid the clinic in southwestern Russia $50,000 to conduct the trials, which made some children ill.

“According to the contract, only healthy children can take part in this experiment,” said a spokeswoman for the Volgograd region prosecutors, Lydia Sergeyeva. “In this case all children were sent for trials, healthy or unhealthy, and many of them had been diagnosed with diseases.

”They had no right to put children with health problems through these clinical tests because ... it can lead to a deterioration in the child’s condition, as happened with one girl for instance.“ Sergeyeva told Reuters of a 2-1/2-year-old girl whose neurological illness progressed sharply after she was vaccinated. The girl can hardly speak and shows other signs of arrested development, she said. Glaxo said the tests were part of a wider clinical trial programme involving 5,700 children across Europe, including around 1,000 in Russia. The project is designed to evaluate the effectiveness of different vaccines against varicella, or chickenpox, and involves Glaxo vaccines that are already approved for use."

Barbara Loe Fisher Commentary:

Congratulations to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine for having the wisdom and vision to amend the nation's first HPV vaccine mandate to an "opt-in" and not an "opt-out" requirement for girls entering the sixth grade. Virginia parents will now have, in the Governor's words, "complete discretion" in choosing whether or not their 11 year old daughters will get three doses of HPV vaccine. Parents will not have to sign a written statement declining the vaccine for records kept by state government health officials.

Governor Kaine and Virginia legislators have come under intense pressure by Merck lobbyists seeking to persuade Virginia and many other states to mandate that girls entering sixth grade get three doses of GARDASIL, a vaccine fast tracked at the FDA and quickly recommended in 2006 by the CDC for girls entering puberty. However, there has been a nationwide parent backlash to the aggressive advertising and lobbying campaign by Merck to require use of GARDASIL for young school girls.

Parent-led organizations, such as NVIC, have opposed vaccine mandates citing lack of vaccine safety and efficacy data for girls under age 16 and questioning the rationale for mandated use of a vaccine for an infection that cannot be transmitted in the public setting for a cancer that has dropped 74 percent in the past four decades because routine pap screening has become standard health care for women in America. Other parent-led organizations oppose the government requiring pre-adolescent girls to use a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease before they are sexually active because it potentially interferes with parental influence in the teaching of moral values.

Governor Kaine did the right thing: after weighing the benefits and risks of signing the HPV vaccine mandate, he amended it to reflect the will of the people. He gave back to parents and pediatricians the decision of whether or not an 11 year old girl living in Virginia should get three doses of HPV vaccine. And he wisely rejected the idea that the names of those who decline HPV vaccine for their daughters should be put on an "opt-out" list kept by state health officials.

Governors in every state would do well to take note of the vision that Governor Kaine has demonstrated and follow his lead. Education, not coercion, is the best way to encourage citizens to take responsibility for the health care choices they make for themselves and their children. Cost and access barriers to vaccine use can be lowered through legislation without using legislation to force vaccine use upon citizens against their will.

Kaine proposes HPV vaccine amendment; restaurant smoking ban

Daily Press, VA
March 26, 2007

Associated Press Writer

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Monday proposed an amendment that would make it easier for parents to exempt their daughters from receiving a vaccine for the sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer.

Kaine also amended a bill that would require restaurants that allow smoking to alert patrons. The governor broadened it to ban smoking in restaurants.

The General Assembly will reconvene for a one- day session April 4 to consider Kaine's actions.

Last month, the House and Senate passed bills to require all girls entering the sixth grade to get the vaccine for the human papillomavirus, or HPV.

Del. Phillip Hamilton's bill requires parents wishing to exempt their children from the vaccine to fill out a form from the State Board of Health Regulations for the Immunization of School Children.

Kaine's amendment would eliminate the need for parents or guardians to submit written requests for their children to opt out of the vaccine, called Gardasil.

"While I believe that this vaccine shows great promise for preventing cancer, I believe that the decision to administer this vaccine should be made by parents," Kaine said in a statement. "My amendments further clarify the provision that a girl's parent or guardian has complete discretion to decide whether their child should be vaccinated."

Virginia's legislature was the first to pass a bill mandating the vaccine for girls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Texas Gov. Rick Perry sidestepped the legislature and ordered the shots for girls there, but lawmakers are considering overriding that order.

Bills were introduced in about 20 states to require the vaccine, but some have backed off because of concerns over the vaccine's safety and protests from conservatives who say requiring it promotes promiscuity and erodes parents' rights.

Kaine amended a bill requiring Virginia restaurants that allow smoking to post "Smoking Permitted" signs at their entrances.

Kaine's amendment would ban smoking in all Virginia restaurants.

Del. H. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, proposed the legislation as an alternative to a sweeping ban on public smoking proposed by Sen. Brandon Bell, in the hopes that the bill would eventually encourage most restaurants to go smoke-free.

Under Griffith's bill, however, restaurants displaying the smoking permitted signs would no longer be required to offer a nonsmoking section. That drew the criticism of public health advocates, who said the provision thwarted efforts to protect diners and restaurant workers from secondhand smoke.

"I appreciate the patron's intent with this legislation, but felt amendments were necessary," Kaine said in a statement. "I remain opposed to a widespread, general ban on smoking in public. This bill, with my amendment, is narrowly targeted to prevent smoking in restaurants, which is an important step to protect the health of both patrons and employees."

Messages left for Hamilton and Griffith were not immediately returned Monday.

On the Net:

General Assembly:

CDC's HPV vaccine page: vaccine.htm


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