The Centers for Disease Control issued a recommendation on June 29, 2006 that a new vaccine for the human papillomavirus be given to girls around the age of eleven to twelve to prevent this disease that was affecting nearly half of the United States population. The HPV vaccination was said to be most effective before there was any sexual activity with the girl, and that it would prevent about 75 percent of the 27,900 cases of cervical, vulvar, vaginal, anal, penile, and head and neck cancers that occurred every year.
The organization Advocates for Youth urged that the vaccine should be included in the school accination programs as a requirement, and that there be an opt-out program for the parents that were really against their daughters being vaccinated with this new vaccine. The issue of this case arises with the representatives of the Family Research Council, who were a conservative Christian advocacy organization.
They said that by pushing the vaccine on eleven to twelve year girls to prevent a sexually transmitted disease, it would carry the message that since they had the shot to prevent them from a disease that it was okay to have premarital sex (Van Camp pg. 109). Issue Presented in the Case The main issue addressed in the case Disease v. Promiscuity is whether this human papillomavirus vaccine will be strictly beneficial to reducing the number of individuals that contract HPV or will the vaccine cause young teens to enact in premarital sex, which is a controversial issue to many people.
If there is an immense increase of individuals having premarital sex, many argue that it could cause the complete failure of abstinence only education that is taught in most schools. Another issue that is talked about briefly in the case presentation is the unknown side effects of this new found vaccination. The National Vaccine Information Center, an organization founded by parents with children who were injured by vaccinations, said that the safety of the vaccine was still not determined to satisfactorily levels for it to be a required immunization (Van Camp pg. 09).
Articles Applied to the Case The article that most fits this case presentation for me was “Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics” that was released by the Vatican in 1975 by Pope Paul VI. The article says that there is a corruption of morals present in society that are a result of excessive occurrences of uncontrolled sex. Pope Paul VI said that the Catholic Church ould no longer ignore the change of mindset towards sexual activity and the relaxed morals of individuals.
According to Catholic beliefs sexual acts were supposed to only occur under marriage, and any sex outside of marriage is formally condemned in the Bible. Under this mindset premarital sexual activity leaves out the fundamental purpose of sex, which is to have children (Van Camp pgs. 84-89). This article is relatable to the case Disease v. Promiscuity because of its view on premarital sex, and how it shares morals and values with a group of people that disagree with the human papillomavirus vaccination.
One of the reasons given against his HPV vaccine in the case presentation was how it would create a relaxed attitude towards sexual activity, which would therefore increase the amount of teenagers and young adults participating in premarital sex. If young adults didn’t think they had to worry about certain sexually transmitted diseases just because of a required vaccine they had when they were eleven or twelve years old, they would be more likely to engage in sexual activities.
The Family Research Council, a Christian advocacy organization with the traditional viewpoint of sexual relations, did not object to the vaccination being voluntary; owever, they opposed the vaccine being legally mandatory under state government and the school boards. These representatives still conveyed that the best way to protect against all sexually transmitted disease was to remain abstinent and wait until marriage (Van Camp pg. 109).
Another article that relates to this case is “General Welfare” from Chapter 1. This article says that the government should promote the general welfare, also known as the common good. Public schools and libraries should be prominent, there should be public funding of medical research, and other needed structures should be established (Van Camp pg. 7). This is relatable to the case presentation because another argument against the human papillomavirus vaccination in the case was that the safety of this vaccine was mostly unknown because of how new it was to the United States (Van Camp pg. 109).
According to Disease v. Promiscuity, 21 states made legislation in 2013 that would either make the vaccine mandatory or provide teenage girls with the proper education about the importance of the HPV vaccine. Many states even offered free vaccines for girls under the age of 18 (Van Camp pg. 109). By providing education on the HPV vaccine, it allows the teenage irls and their family know both the benefits and the risks of getting this particular vaccination. This way the government is promoting the well-being of both the individuals receiving the vaccination and society as a whole.
Own Opinion I believe that the vaccine should be required as a part of the school immunization requirements because it would not only benefit the individual that is getting the vaccine, but it would also have immense benefits to society around those that get the shot. By lowering the chance of contracting the human papillomavirus, you are directly decreasing the amount of people that have the disease. An indirect result of the vaccine is that since less people have the disease, there will be a smaller chance of someone passing it along to their sexual partner.
With most girls getting vaccinated before they reach the age of sexual activity it can create what is known as herd immunity. Herd immunity is a way to prevent a whole community of people from a disease by having the majority those individuals immunized. People are less likely to have the disease if they have received the vaccination, so the amount of transmissions of the disease decreases greatly. Those that haven’t had the vaccine have a smaller chance of coming in contact with the isease, so through herd immunity they are protected more so than if the majority didn’t have the HPV vaccine (Willingham).
On this case study I can agree with the Utilitarian perspective, and can apply it to what needs to be done to decide on the issue present. By making it a requirement for teenage girls to get the human papillomavirus vaccine, you are creating the most good for the great amount of people and increasing the net amount of happiness present. The only harm that is necessarily coming out of requiring the vaccine is taking away some of the individual’s autonomy for their own protection and for the good ociety.
A Deontologist would also agree that the HPV vaccine should be required for young teenage girls because of the original moral intentions of the action. Even though making someone take the vaccine takes away some autonomy it keeps the best interests of each person in mind, while also trying to protect the whole of society. The few negative consequences such as a slight increase of premarital sex, even though highly unlikely, and maybe select negative reactions to the vaccine, are a small price to pay when looking that it would prevent 75 percent of cancers caused by sexually transmitted diseases.