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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.

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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.

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.

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

“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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Trump refusing to pay for New Mexico security and barricades — while trying to change the state from blue to red

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President Donald Trump thinks he will win New Mexico. He's repeated the factoid multiple times, including to a group of oil and gas workers and executives Wednesday at a conference in Pittsburgh, PA. But he also made two significant mistakes to put that support in jeopardy.

First, the president indicated he was building his "wall" on the border of Colorado, which is north of New Mexico. It would mean that New Mexico was now part of Mexico.

Second, it was reported by the Albuquerque Journal that their city is yet another one Trump's campaign is refusing to pay for security costs.

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Intel Committee has ‘recent evidence’ Ukraine witnesses are working together to ‘coordinate’ their stories

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House investigators have "recent evidence" of witnesses working to coordinate their testimony before Congress, a Democratic congressman revealed on MSNBC on Wednesday.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), who sits on the Intelligence and Judicial committees, was interviewed by MSNBC Chris Hayes.

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"You’re absolutely right and there will be a public phase," Swalwell replied.

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Rudy Giuliani is looking for a lawyer — after saying he didn’t need one: report

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On Wednesday, CNN reported that President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani is looking for a defense attorney to represent him.

This report comes after Giuliani said last week that he would not seek legal representation unless he believed he needed it.

Giuliani is currently under criminal investigation for the scheme he apparently helped facilitate in the Ukraine, where Trump withheld military aid in the fight against Russia while demanding their leaders investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee.

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