Thursday, 22 October 2009

Quick hit: How dare our Nanny State offer girls a vaccine against cancer!

From Stuff:
A letter sent to a 13-year-old girl offering her a free cervical cancer vaccine has outraged her mother, who accuses health authorities of going behind parents' backs.

Rangiora mother Nancye Price said the letter from her family's medical practice was addressed to her daughter, Hannah, who has just turned 13.

"She just twisted her face up and handed me the letter saying, 'I don't know what they want."'

Mrs Price said the unsigned letter included no information about the Gardasil vaccine, except the fact it was free.

"It was like they were inviting kids in for a lollipop," she said.

"My concern is they have bypassed parental consent. They don't know anything about our family or our children or our lifestyle."
Click through for the whole article.

Found via Family First who are of course quoted within it, and predictably manage to shoehorn in a swipe at abortion rights too.

11 comments:

Tui said...

Mrs Price said she did not hold the clinic responsible, as she assumed it was were acting on a national directive.

"It's a decision with life-long implications and I don't believe a child should have to make a decision like that without the support of her parents."


A life-long implication of a lower risk of cancer! Holy shit, difficult decision there!

octopusgrrl said...

I'm not a fan of McCoskrie et al/at all and I believe in the longterm benefits of the vaccine programme, but in this case I think it's a bit off to address the letter to a child if they still (generally) need to have parental permission if they're under 16 - surely the database they're using would have the age of the girls on record? It just smacks to me of the way things are marketed to kids in order for them to put pressure on their parents, and I don't believe health policy should be following that line.

The ex-expat said...

Would the parents be kicking up a fuss if was for rubella?

BM said...

The article was good with the implication it made that the vaccination encourages promiscuity.

Aren't parents who believe this implying that their own daughters are ignorant?

A Nonny Moose said...

Ex-expat: If you were an anti-vaxxer, they'd kick up a fuss about ANY vaccine. The only vaccine information a child of an anti-vaxxer is allowed to have is the information that's filtered through their special woo.

"It just smacks to me of the way things are marketed to kids in order for them to put pressure on their parents, and I don't believe health policy should be following that line."

There's a difference between marketing the latest Hannah Montana clothing line, and letting young ladies be informed about their personal futures. Because, ya know, parents are so good at giving them all the information they need to make an informed decision. Yeah, no personal biases or "fears of my widdle baby having sex" there at all.

katy said...

I find it vageuly remarkable that these parents only seem to see this from a "sexual" angle!

octopusgrrl said...

Because, ya know, parents are so good at giving them all the information they need to make an informed decision.

Yeah, but if those parents have been given the right to make a decision on this particular health choice for that child until they turn 16, no matter how ill-informed and prejudiced they are, I don't think that's something the MoH should be bypassing - if it was the rubella vaccine that was under discussion and the information was being addressed to the child who didn't have the ability to give consent, IMO that wouldn't be acceptable either. I'm not an anti-vaxxer, I'm just big on parental consent being taken seriously by the establishment, otherwise there's no point in allowing them that option in the first place.

katy said...

Sending the letter to the girl doesn't mean they are bypassing consent though as this is still required. Conclusion: the Dominion and Family First trying to create a story!

A Nonny Moose said...

"Yeah, but if those parents have been given the right to make a decision on this particular health choice for that child until they turn 16, no matter how ill-informed and prejudiced they are, I don't think that's something the MoH should be bypassing"

What about those parents who think that praying for their child to get better/avoid illness is the best decision?

I have first hand experience with that - a good friend only got the health care she needed once she hit 18 and was rescued from her parents...who thought she was "insane" and "faking anorexia", and they were praying for her health. It turned out she had a serious medical condition, and since she didn't get the medical attention she needed earlier in life, her health has been screwed ever since.

And how about those news stories about parents who have allowed their children to die, simply because they preferred to pray for them?

I get really tired of the people who screech "freedom of rights! Freedom of parental decision!" They're not making a choice for the child, they're making a choice for themselves out of their uninformed fear. And it's the child that suffers - and in the case of transmittable diseases (see, measles), many other children.

octopusgrrl said...

I completely understand your POV and I agree that there are a lot of dangerous circumstances caused by parents exercising their ignorance upon their kids, but in this case, I can't see how issues like these are helped by sending the letter to the children - surely it would be better to run an education programme on the vaccine through the schools and then send the letters to the parents with as much information as we can provide? According to the article, the letter didn't even have any details about the vaccine in it, so to me it seems essentially useless except to antagonise people that are already resistant to the programme (or market the vaccine programme to kids).

To me, the question is: how do we (NZ society if you like) and/or they (the NZ govt) address that uninformed fear without driving people away completely? It's not only religious people who are conscious of encroaches on their rights as guardians of children, and as we don't require people to have a license or training to have kids (whether or not you agree with that or not, I personally would love to see parenting classes taught at schools), how do we navigate that line between control and freedom?

Anonymous said...

I thought all letters from health clinics were sent to kids.

Kind of like how I get letters addressed to my dog and cat from the vet.

Jeez people get so uptight over nothing. That article was just Family First propaganda.