[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There are not many public health issues where views are as extremely polarized as those concerning vaccines, and Merck's HPV vaccine Gardasil is a case in point. Ever since gaining the FDA's approval in 2006, Merck has been heavily criticized for their overly aggressive marketing strategies and lobbying campaigns aimed at promoting Gardasil as a mandatory vaccine. Subsequently, questions have been raised as to whether it was appropriate for vaccine manufacturers to partake in public health policies when their conflicts of interests are so obvious. Some of their advertising campaign slogans, such as "cervical cancer kills x women per year" and "your daughter could become one less life affected by cervical cancer," seemed more designed to promote fear rather than evidence-based decision making about the potential benefits of the vaccine. Although, conflicts of interests do not necessarily mean that the product itself is faulty, marketing claims should be carefully examined against factual science data. Currently Gardasil vaccination is strongly recommended by the U.S. and other health authorities while public concerns about safety and efficacy of the vaccine appear to be increasing. This discrepancy leads to some important questions that need to be resolved. The current review examines key issues of this debate in light of currently available research evidence.
The Journal of Law Medicine & Ethics 09/2012; 40(3):673-81. DOI:10.1111/j.1748-720X.2012.00698.x · 0.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vaccination of adolescents against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is an important prevention strategy that may reduce the global burden of disease. The World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and other national health agencies recommend the use of existing STI vaccines, and many countries have incorporated them into their routine vaccination schedule. Despite this, however, data indicate that STI vaccine uptake is suboptimal for a variety of reasons. Health care professionals (HCP) have been shown to have a strong beneficial effect on STI vaccine uptake, yet studies demonstrate that many HCPs fail to discuss or recommend them to adolescent patients. This review article focuses on HCP communication about STI vaccines with adolescents and their parents. It describes STI vaccine message content and delivery as well as the context in which HCPs formulate their messaging approach. It also examines other contextual factors that may shape communication about STI vaccines. Studies from many countries indicate that HCPs often possess misinformation about adolescents, including their sexual risk behaviors, as well as STIs, vaccine safety and efficacy, and STI vaccination recommendations. They also have misconceptions of parental barriers to STI vaccination. These may impact STI vaccine communication and have a negative influence on STI vaccine uptake. These findings highlight the critical need for improved HCP education related to adolescent health, sexuality, and STI vaccination. This may be particularly important in settings without an existing infrastructure or expertise in caring for this unique patient population.
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