4

Rick Perry's HPV Vaccine Has A New Market: Immigrants

^
Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Texans, mainly sixth grade girls, are familiar with the drug Gardasil. It protects against a sexually transmitted disease, and Governor Rick Perry made the vaccination mandatory last year, alienating some of his anti-choice, stem-cells-send-you-to-hell base.

Now immigrants have been thrown in the mix. Gardasil was recently added to the list of mandatory vaccinations for immigrants wanting permanent residency in the United States.

"Does it have more adverse effects on people from a lower socio-economic class? It does," Steven Pham, a Houston immigration attorney and partner at Smith & Garg, tells Hair Balls. "I understand if it was tuberculosis or measles or mumps, but a venerable disease?"

On Pham's blog he writes more about Gardasil, and one of his main objections is its $300 cost.

"In southeast Asia, some families only make $200 to $250 a year," Pham says. "In some third world countries, they might not be able to get the drug."

After Perry made the vaccine mandatory, some of his critics accused him of being in the pocket of Merck, the manufacturer of the vaccine, since the drug company gave money to Perry's campaign and his former chief of staff was employed as a Merck lobbyist. Pham didn't see any corrupt motivations in the federal move, but he does think the 1996 immigration act needs to change.

"It's purpose was harsher consequences for immigrants who commit crimes, but I've seen too many effects that were unintended," Pham says. "We haven't seen any cases of denial due to the vaccination, but it's only a matter of time."

-- Paul Knight

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.