Finally, the cervical cancer vaccine

So I am very glad the hear that the cervical cancer vaccine will be rolled out by the Australian government (cf: my earlier post). Tony Abbott’s willingness to sacrifice his daughters also appears to have saved the government some money. It still strikes me that we haven’t got our way of thinking right on our collective willingness to pay for things like this. For the moment, we can celebrate a good outcome.

3 thoughts on “Finally, the cervical cancer vaccine”

  1. The SMH (but not the Oz or the Age) reports that the vaccine is “most effective” if given before the recipient is “sexually active”. So, this is a great initiative for some of our “daughters”, but not necessarily for others. And yet the vaccine will be free for women up to 26 who visit their GP. So, what’s the bet that the maker of Gardasil (not to mention others with a stake in preventative health initiatives) will do a big advertising campaign encouraging all women up to 26 to see their GP (and that older women will lobby to be included?)

    The package strikes me as simplistic, as does the taxpayer’s sacrifice analysis. The questions remain: what will the vaccine do that current preventative measures won’t and for who? Preventative health economics should be about targetting, not feelgood politics.


  2. According to today’s NYT, the cervical cancer vaccine may be the end of Pap Smears. Not because they make Pap Smears unnecessary, but rather because, by lowering the base rate of cervical cancer, they will make the Pap Smear’s already shoddy accuracy unworkably (and unconsciounably) inaccurate. And that’s sad, it seems, mainly because women will see less of their doctors!


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