In last night's debate Rep. Michele Bachmann apparently scored points off Texas Gov. Rick Perry when she chided him for approving mandatory HPV vaccinations. The HPV vaccine prevents viral infections that substantially increase the risk of cervical cancer. Besides objecting to the mandatory vaccinations, Bachmann also asserted:
There’s a woman who came up crying to me tonight after the debate. She said her daughter was given that vaccine. She told me her daughter suffered mental retardation as a result of that vaccine.
Thus did the solon from Minnesota apparently manage to associate HPV vaccinations with the thoroughly discredited claims that MMR vaccines cause autism. Adverse events reports concerning HPV vaccinations indicate that their risks are minor and do not incude mental retardation.
Conservative blogger Ed Morrissey calls out Bachmann for her idiocy, and notes:
Rick Santorum took the correct position on the Gardasil issue. We mandate certain vaccines in children because we mandate children be gathered for educational purposes for many years (in private or public schools), and certain diseases are easily communicable in those settings. By mandating vaccinations against whooping cough, measles, and mumps, we are protecting children who would otherwise get exposed without any action on their part except compliance with the law. That’s not true with HPV, and parents should decide for themselves whether to inoculate their sons and daughters with Gardasil or Cervarix. If Perry wanted to make those inoculations more accessible, he could have crafted an opt-in system rather than forcing parents to opt out.
And here's some icing on the cake: Bachmann believes in "intelligent design" too. These people really think that they are fit to run this country? Sheesh.
Given the safety profiles of vaccines, I strongly urge that parents to get their kids vaccinated sooner rather than later.
Disclosure: I am getting a flu shot this afternoon.