media darling

a personal record of how different forms of media and their content affect me (a college student)

Gardasil campaign pushes it’s product September 30, 2008

Filed under: advertisements — katie @ 11:27 pm
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The huge push for young women to get the Gardasil shot has gotten out of control, in my opinion. I think it’s totally worth a woman’s choice to get vaccinated if they want to protect themselves from the many strains of HPV, but the guilt-tripping commercials on TV that tells girls it is irresponsible and life-threatening to not get the vaccine are over-the-top. Gardasil is a solid product and I’m not at all discrediting it’s use or benefits, however the overblown marketing makes it seem like it is absolutely necessary for all females to get.

I have not gotten the vaccine, so obviously I am biased, but I’m not entirely against getting it – I just need more information and better reasons for getting it as of now.

On one hand, the new drug may help prevent the human papilloma virus, a group of more than 100 viruses, some of which are associated with certain types of cancer. Young women and pre-teenage girls are being influenced to receive the HPV shot as highly effective in prevention of persistent HPV infections, including the types of HPV that cause genital warts – the most common and rampant STD on many college campuses, including UConn, according to Student Health Services.

On the other hand, holistic health practitioners and parents are increasingly wary of giving vaccines at all. Gardasil, in particular, is recommended for girls as young as 9-years-old (and up to 26-years-old), with the idea that they have not yet become sexually active. The National Cancer Institute Web site states “almost all women will have HPV infections at some point, but very few will develop cervical cancer. The immune system of most women will usually suppress or eliminate HPVs.”

At this point, medical science cannot figure out which women who have HPV are the ones that will most likely progress to cancer, so preventing HPV infection in all women is recommended, but it is a good idea to put an extremely potent vaccine in our bodies if we don’t necessarily need it?

Cervical cancer is a timely concern for all women, however the National Cancer Institute’s online statistics show that few women actually do contract it from the multiple strains of HPV. With these statistics in mind, the pressures and even recent demands in some states, like Texas being put on girls to receive the vaccine can be questioned.

My friend Gina and I talked about the Gardasil shot. She hasn’t received it either and said that “parents and young women see one heart-wrenching advertisement after the other that uses inflated statistics as scare tactics to pressure them into having their daughters or themselves vaccinated, so that they can be ‘One Less’ to contract cervical cancer.”

“One Less” is the Gardasil campaign slogan that encourages females who are eligible for the vaccine to begin their vaccination series.

This is one of the Gardasil, “One Less” commercials that have aired.

This might sound strong, but I feel like the drug companies are brainwashing people into thinking that they’re going to die in six months if they don’t get whatever the newest thing is to stay healthy. If girls have safe sex and yearly gynecological exams, I don’t believe that they need to get the vaccine, but the media are making many feel differently.

There have been several negative reactions reported to Gardasil, and the set of three shots included in the vaccine cost almost $400. With the millions of women becoming “One Less,” no wonder the company has enough money to put out more and more tear-jerking commercials. Also, it is so new, that we really don’t know of any long-term side effects yet.

The Cultivation Theory of mass communications states that society’s perceptions of reality are cultivated by what is watched on television. This theory may be proving its effects if the numbers of girls receiving the Gardasil vaccine (which is arguably unnecessary) keeps rising.

Men are carriers of the human papilloma virus, yet there is no such vaccine for them so far and there is little talk of men being required to get vaccinated. Men can infect their sexual partners with it, and many are not aware that they are carriers. Is this even remotely fair that young girls are required to get the vaccine in some states, but the actual carriers (males) of the virus are not?