Freedom Friday: Virginia's vaccine mandate gets new life

Parents have spoken loud and clear: They don't want dangerous HPV vaccinations forced on their daughters. Even the most ardent pro-vaccine moms and dads have been refusing Merck's Gardasil shot, and I say good for them.

But politicians are too dazzled by Big Pharma money to get the message.

Just look at Virginia, home to eight U.S. presidents along with a notorious mandate that requires all girls between the ages of 11 and 12 get the expensive three-shot Gardasil sequence.

(Sure, there's an opt-out clause. But you know how that works. Parents who exercise their right to opt out are treated like lepers.)

Last month, lawmakers in Virginia managed to kill a proposed repeal of the mandate without actually voting on it -- allowing these chickens to please their Big Pharma masters without having to go on the record as voting for or against a vaccine mandate.

Washington, Jefferson, and Madison would be so proud!

Don't breathe a sigh of relief if you're not in Virginia. Big Pharma is hard at work trying to convince local, state, and federal officials to back HPV shots -- and they're getting big-time results.

Under a recent law in California, for example, docs can give the shot to girls as young as 12 without parental consent or even their knowledge.

On the federal level, the CDC recently extended its Gardasil recommendations to include boys as well as girls -- a move I'm sure is completely unrelated to the fact that the former head of the agency is now the head of vaccines at Merck.

Riiiiiiiight.

Here's the reality: This shot offers little to girls and even less for boys. Often wrongly called "the cervical cancer vaccine," it really protects against only some of the strains of HPV that cause the disease.

In boys, it might cut the risk of extremely rare anal cancers -- cancers so rare almost no one gets them anyway.

Now, I'd be the first to admit this shot would be worthwhile if it managed to save even a few lives without ruining any in the process -- but of course that's not the case.

Gardasil has been linked to thousands of adverse events, including paralysis, seizures, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and even dozens of deaths.

Worth it? Not on your life -- and not on the lives of your children and grandchildren.