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Perry: ‘I didn’t do my research’ on mandate for HPV vaccine

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Facing questions in New Hampshire last weekend, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) was confronted by someone wanting to know why he ordered all Texas girls to receive a series of injections to vaccinate them against human pappiloma virus (HPV), even without the completion of long term studies on the drug.

According to ABC News’s The Note, he replied: “I signed an executive order that allowed for an opt out, but the fact of the matter is that I didn’t do my research well enough to understand that we needed to have a substantial conversation with our citizenry.”

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His mandate was almost immediately repudiated by Republicans across the state. The legislature revoked Perry’s order six weeks later.

“But here’s what I learned,” Perry added in New Hampshire last week. “When you get too far out in front of the parade, they will let you know, and that’s exactly what our legislature did and I saluted it and I said, ‘Roger that, I hear you loud and clear’ and they didn’t want to do it and we don’t, so enough said.”

He instead suggested that people should just “opt in” for vaccines on their own initiative.

The HPV vaccine Gardasil, released by New Jersey-based pharmaceutics company Merck, helps prevent the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S., which is known to cause cervical cancer.

Despite its promise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s initial study of Gardasil found that in initial testing, over 16,000 adverse events were reported following vaccinations, and as many as 8 percent were considered to be serious. A long term study was not completed before the drug was offered at market and the National Vaccine Information Center has since raised questions about the initial testing methodology and the severity of Gardasil’s side effects.

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When Perry became the only governor in the U.S. to order all girls between 11 and 12 be injected with Gardasil — a three-shot regiment at $360 total — his administration’s ties to Merck immediately came under scrutiny.

It soon became public knowledge that Mike Toomy, Perry’s former chief of staff, had gone to work for Merck as a lobbyist. Rep. Dianne White Delisi, then head of the House public health committee, also led a group called Women in Government, which Merck used to generate support for Gardasil among lawmakers — and her son-in-law was a high-ranking Perry aide. Merck also donated about $6,000 to Perry’s reelection campaign.

Perry’s remarks in New Hampshire mark the first time he’s walked back from his position on the Gardasil vaccine.

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“In the next year, more than a thousand women will likely be diagnosed with this insidious yet mostly preventable disease,” Perry told Texas Republicans in 2007, rebuking them for rejecting his order.

“I challenge legislators to look these women in the eyes and tell them, ‘We could have prevented this disease for your daughters and granddaughters, but we just didn’t have the gumption to address all the misguided and misleading political rhetoric.'”

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Image credit: Flickr commons.


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‘Breadth and scale’ of nationwide protests is ‘staggering’: NYU history professor

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Protests continued to grow in size in cities and towns from coast-to-coast -- and around the world.

"As a historian of social movements in the U.S., I am hard pressed to think of any time in the past when we have had two straight weeks of large-scale protests in hundreds of places, from suburbs to big cities," NYU history Prof. Tom Sugrue posted on Twitter.

"The breadth and scale of #Floyd protests is staggering," he continued.

"We have had some huge one-day demonstrations, e.g. March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (1963); antinuclear march in NYC (1982), and Women's March (2017). We have widespread, simultaneous protests, such as in the days following MLK, Jr.'s assassination (1968)," he explained. "But the two together--very unusual."

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Incel blew his hand off — and may have been planning for suicide bomber attack on ‘hot’ cheerleaders: report

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A young man in Virginia was photographed for his mugshot with extensive facial injuries.

"A 23-year-old Virginia man who appeared to be planning an incel bomb attack on "hot cheerleaders" accidentally blew off his hand with explosives, authorities say," BuzzFeed News reported Saturday. "Cole Carini was charged in federal court on Friday connection with the plot after he allegedly lied to FBI agents by saying his extensive injuries were the result of a lawnmower accident."

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Big turnout for protest in Texas town known as a ‘haven’ for the Ku Klux Klan

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Protesters gathered in Vidor, Texas on Saturday for a rally against racism and police violence.

https://twitter.com/JordanJamesTV/status/1269366486189080576

The East Texas town has long had a reputation for racism.

Vidor is a small city of about 11,000 people near the Texas Gulf Coast, not too far from the Louisiana border. Despite the fact that Beaumont, a much bigger city just 10 minutes away, is quite integrated, Vidor is not. There are very few blacks there; it's mostly white. That is in large part because of a history of racism in Vidor, a past that continues to haunt the present," Keith Oppenheim reported for CNN in 2006.

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