Cervical Cancer Vaccine: New Twist

I have just finished reading M.D’s column in the current issue of ‘Private Eye’ (25/7-7/8/08), in which the anonymous doctor poses the following question:

“Why has “new” Labour chosen not to protect girls from genital warts as well as cervical cancer?”

I won’t rehash the entire story here, but ‘Private Eye’ don’t produce the serious stories in full on their website, only the cartoons, so you’ll have to buy it if you wish to read it. Still, the main point is as follows.

There is a vaccine available that not only protects against the virus that causes cervical cancer, but also the one that causes genital warts. It’s provided by a company called Gardasil, and has been widely used for over a year in the US, Canada, Australia, and “Many European countries (see Eye 1181).” However, the U.K government has gone for a cheaper vaccine, Cervarix, which only protects against cervical cancer.

M.D makes a very convincing case for Gardasil by outlining the benefits (for both sexes) of a genital warts vaccine, and by giving some indication of the misery caused by genital warts. Doctors are in favour of Gardasil, according to M.D, and are advising those parents who can afford to pay the £250 (for a 3 course vaccine) to get their children vaccinated with it.