Jeremy Vine Show transcript – BBC Radio 2 - 6 Oct 06

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Jeremy Vine Show transcript – BBC Radio 2 - 6 Oct 06

Postby ukantic » Sun Oct 08, 2006 6:17 pm

Jeremy Vine

Now an article written in the medical journal The Lancet is calling mandatory vaccination of girls aged 11 & 12 against cervical cancer. Gardasil, a vaccine that protects against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer has been recently licensed for use in Europe bringing it all a step closer to being available on the NHS. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women around the World & each day in the UK it takes 3 lives. So does it make sense to force girls to be immunised against the disease when they are young or will mandatory immunisation lead to young women taking more risks with their sex lives?

Here to tell us about the vaccine first of all & give us all the facts is the BBC health correspondent Branwen Jeffreys. Hi There – tell us about the disease because it is not always caused by promiscuity, is it?

Branwen Jeffreys

It is not, it is cause by a virus that can be partly transmitted through sexual contact, called a human papilloma virus. Now this particular vaccine that has just gained its license, that means it has passed all its safety tests, is found to be extremely effective, almost 100% against the two most common strains of that virus. I should say there is another one on the way that’s going through all the safety checks at the moment from a different drug manufacturer. so there will be more than one available; & this is one of the first vaccines of any kind against any cancer. Up to now until very recently we have been simply in the business of trying to treat cancer when people are diagnosed.

Jeremy Vine

It seems strange to have a cancer that is classified as almost asexually transmitted disease.

Branwen Jeffreys

Um, most um cancer experts I would think wouldn’t look at it that way. It is just a simple fact that it is more likely to occur amongst young women who are more sexually, who are sexually active. Because that is one way that the virus can transmitted; the most common way. Of course that does raise this very difficult question of at what point do you vaccinate people using this kind of vaccine. The research shows that the vaccine is effective for at least four & a half years, we don’t know yet whether or not it provides protection beyond that point, so would you for example have to revaccinate after five years. In which case some people might be arguing why not simply vaccinate 18 or 19 year olds? There are many doctors arguing & some of the cancer charities have suggested that it is wiser to simply vaccinate at the age where you can be definitely show that they are before the age of any sexual activity so that for the minority who will become involve in some form of sexual activity during their teens that they are covered along with everyone else who will not go into that kind of relationship until they are a young adult.

Jeremy Vine

Branwen, is the debate over this a practical one about whether this thing works or is it becoming a moral one about whether you are in some way licensing very young girls to have lots of sex in 3 years time?

Branwen Jeffreys

There is no doubt that it works & there may well be an argument about cost & the government in the UK has said it is going to have a look at that. It is estimated very roughly because we don’t have an exact cost that it could be around £150 to £200 to vaccinate someone. They are looking at the potential cost of vaccinating a whole swath, a whole generation of young women. Whether or not that is cost effective for the NHS, whether or not it is the kind of decision they want to get into making & expert committee is expected to give the government its opinion on the medical side & the cost effectiveness side early next year. But as you say there will be people who will be worried about whether or not this would send out a signal to young girls that they are protected in some ways against one aspect of sexual activity.

Jeremy Vine introduces Sarah Jarvis, a doctor.

Hi Sarah, you are quite a fan of this vaccine?

Dr Sarah Jarvis

I’m a huge fan of this vaccine, quite frankly if there was any other vaccine out there that gave at least 75%, possibly 90% protection against any form of cancer, people would be champing at the bit to have it. And yet because there is this connection with sexual activity then people get terribly anxious about it. In fact I think Branwen is absolutely right. Although it is sexually transmitted, so are babies. The fact is, that HPV, this virus woman have an 80% chance of being exposed to it at sometime during their lives, & they don’t have to have had multiple partners. The average time of having your first exposure to it is within six months of your first sexual encounter. That means that any parent who wants their child to get married & have children of their own is effectively saying I want my children to be exposed to HPV & if they don’t want them to be protected against cervical cancer – don’t get the vaccine.

Jeremy Vine

But Branwen was saying it could just last 4 & a half years. You give it to an 11 year old they are protected until they are 15 & a half.

Dr Sarah Jarvis

Well, what Branwen was saying was that we have only got studies so far for 4 & a half years. But what we do know is that the younger you give it the better the immune response you have to it. So in other words, the higher the anti-bodies; your body produces antibodies to protect you against this virus & the earlier you give it the better the response. That doesn’t for a moment mean that we cannot continue to give it later on in life & will probably find it will last for many more years because the studies that have been done so far shows it shows virtually no signs of wearing off after 4 & a half years at the moment it is licensed routinely to give to nine to 15 year olds, so if we are thinking about giving it to say 13 to 14 year olds then maybe even if we said it is only going to last for 4 & half years, we would be talking about it wearing off at a minimum age of 18 and I think everyone accepts quite a lot of young women are sexually active at that time - & no of course we are not talking about encouraging promiscuity, the fact is it does not protect against HIV, It doesn’t protect against Chlamydia, it doesn’t protect against any of the other sexually transmitted infections. What we are saying is that HPV is not a sexually transmitted disease; it is a natural consequence of having sex.

Jeremy Vine

Lynette Burrows is author of, The Fight for The Family, is in Cambridgeshire. You believe there is definitely a moral angle here Lynette?

Lynette Burrows

Yes of course there is, I mean you can instantly see that by the ecstatic terms by which this lady who represents our certain strand of medical opinion welcomes something. With the figures I read, 98% of cervical cancer in young women is caused by sexual activity. It is a sexually transmitted disease & actually one of the things that discourages girls from early underage illegal sexual activity is the consequences as most things in life do, it is the consequences of drinking & driving that make sure we don’t do it. There have to be consequences that sort of sober you up. Now nature doesn’t like promiscuous behaviour, not only because it cause cervical cancer, but also because it’s very disintegrating to the personality to have sex too young. They suffer depression, they kill themselves. I think it is much better if they have a decent childhood & grow into adults without the worries of being sexually infected or pregnant. And I think that every, what we should be doing is doing everything within our power to make sure that happens instead of turning an absolutely blind eye to the fact that they have wiped out the age of consent.

Dr Sarah Jarvis (in background) Well I think that is complete nonsense.

Jeremy Vine

This is the kind of phrase, um using the electric fence argument isn’t it, that if you have cervical cancer there with a warning sign on it, people won’t go near promiscuous behaviour. You think the disease is almost handy for that purpose?

Lynette Burrows

Yes I do think that up to a point that that is true. You know two thirds of girls are not sexually active & if you were going to target anybody, it should be the girls who are likely to go in for it. Whose parents put them on the pill, who quite like them to have sexual experience & I’ve done many programs with parents like that. Okay, let them take the choice, don’t treat everybody as if their quite um, relaxed about their children having sex at 11, 12 13 or 14 because most parents are worried, because they know it is not in the interests of the child and just treating them as if first of all stepping into the area that should be governed by parents & you know shouldering them aside & saying you have this, its only 200 quid a throw & it will protect your child. I think it is a step too far.

Jeremy Vine

Sarah.

Dr Sarah Jarvis

Well I think that is complete nonsense. I have been an inner-city GP for 17 years & I have never had a 16 year old or even a 13 year old come in & tell me that one of her anxieties is getting cervical cancer. Pregnancy yes, HIV yes, Chlamydia yes, but they do not associate cervical cancer with HPV & the very fact of the matter is, this is not about promiscuity. The average time before you contract HPV is within 6 months of your first sexual encounter. That means that every young woman who saves herself for their wedding night has at least a 50% chance of having HPV within 6 months. And if the other lady speaking suggests that she doesn’t want anyone ever to have sex ever again or have children ever again then by all means suggest to her that HPV vaccination is not a good thing.

Dr Sarah Jarvis

80% of young women are going to be exposed to HPV.

Lynette Burrows

That is nonsense. That is utter nonsense, you should have shouldn’t use the airwaves to talk such nonsense. If a girl is not sleeping with anybody she does not stand an 80% chance of catching HPV.

Dr Sarah Jarvis

During the course of her lifetime she has an 80% chance. <interrupted by Burrows> I am sorry that you think that both the US government & UK government figures are lying <Burrows sneering, “yers yers” over conversation> but I think….

Jeremy Vine

Hang on a minute Lynette; let Sarah come back in on that.

Dr Sarah Jarvis

Any women who has ever had sex at any time in her life has an 80% chance of being exposed to HPV during her life time. The likelihood of a young woman getting HPV within 6 months of her first sexual activity with one partner is very significant; it’s in the region of 50%. Therefore effectively we are saying that half of young woman who saved themselves for marriage are going to be at risk from cervical cancer.

Jeremy Vine

But surely you are not arguing Sarah that being promiscuous doesn’t make it more likely that you will get it?

Sarah Jarvis

It does, it increases the likelihood. It increases the likely hood from 80% to maybe 90%. Now if you had a four in five chance of being exposed to a virus that could give you cervical cancer or your wife or your daughter cervical cancer regardless of how many partners she had had, I don’t think you would be quibbling about the extra 10%.

The fact is that this is not to do with promiscuity & the tragedy is that the religious right is using it as an excuse to try to terrify people into not protecting their children. It’s happened in America where the vast majority of parents wanted their children protected & the religious right have tried to turn it into a moral argument. What we are talking about is not just the 1000 deaths a year from cervical cancer. it is not even the 2500 cases of cervical cancer a year. It’s the fact that 400,000 women a year in this country have abnormal < cut off by Vine >.

Follow on comments.

Sarah white from Cambridge said, “I took part in a study into vaccinations against cervical cancer. I don’t think it should be controversial at all. It won’t increase promiscuity; that is very inflammatory language. Doctors just need to pick an age & do a blanket vaccination. That’s it – simple.”

Anne Gray (Who had cervical cancer at 33)

Fortunately by that time I was married & had my family. But I still had to have a total hysterectomy, which was quite a large operation & it was all obviously all very distressing. I think that anything we can do to safeguard the health of our young women we should be doing. What is the point of making these massive advances in science if we can’t then apply them? And for somebody to come on air & say that nature doesn’t like promiscuous behaviour is just totally appalling. Sarah Jarvis has said we get the best immune response giving it at 11 years old. That’s what we are looking for aren’t we, the best immune response, the best protection for all young women.

Break

Anne Gray (Describing her illness)

Well it was a huge shock, um a huge shock. It wasn’t something I had been prepared for at all & obviously you think about whether your going to die I suppose. Ultimately that is one of your greatest preoccupations when you go in for an operation when you are told you have cancer. I had 4 young children; it was a very difficult & emotional time for me. However, getting back to the issue of promiscuity, here I was miles away from my first sexual encounter. I’m talking 33 having had a family. You cannot say that this was caused by promiscuity.

Jeremy Vine

And your wider point about Lynette’s comments that nature doesn’t like promiscuity, you don’t buy that either?

Anne Gray

I think that is absolutely appalling. Who does she mean by nature? It sounds to me like she really wants to say God but she actually hasn’t quite got the courage to do that.

Jeremy Vine

So is promiscuity an acceptable lifestyle choice?

Anne Gray

It’s a lifestyle choice people make for all sorts of reasons. It may be because they feel lonely, because they feel not very self confident about themselves. Who knows why they make that choice, but the risks are theirs. We’re not talking not protecting vast numbers of woman just because some of them may be promiscuous. Sex is a lottery isn’t it, everybody knows you can in your first sexual encounter get a disease, get pregnant. You can on the other hand have had a number of sexual partners & have non of these things happen to you at all.
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Re: Jeremy Vine Show transcript – BBC Radio 2 - 6 Oct 06

Postby Brian Jordan » Sun Oct 08, 2006 6:45 pm

ukantic wrote:Jeremy Vine

Now an article written in the medical journal The Lancet is calling mandatory vaccination of girls aged 11 & 12 against cervical cancer.


Straw man. "So your 12 year old girl has been kept off the streets by fear of cancer. Now these evil scientists are going to use a biological chainsaw to sever her bonds and set her down the slope to promiscuity. She'd doomed, I tell you, doomed."

Typical of Jeremy Vine to fall for (or should that be promulgate?) this drivel.

Brian
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Re: Jeremy Vine Show transcript – BBC Radio 2 - 6 Oct 06

Postby ukantic » Sun Oct 08, 2006 7:08 pm

Oeditor wrote:
ukantic wrote:Jeremy Vine

Now an article written in the medical journal The Lancet is calling mandatory vaccination of girls aged 11 & 12 against cervical cancer.


Straw man. "So your 12 year old girl has been kept off the streets by fear of cancer. Now these evil scientists are going to use a biological chainsaw to sever her bonds and set her down the slope to promiscuity. She'd doomed, I tell you, doomed."

Typical of Jeremy Vine to fall for (or should that be promulgate?) this drivel.

Brian


Gulp! That should have read, "is calling for"

Alan.
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Postby Ian Lowe » Sun Oct 08, 2006 9:22 pm

I dislike Jeremy Vine at the best of time, but this is particularly low.

His attempt to frame HPV as an STI is frankly repulsive - and misses the whole point. Almost everyone is HPV positive, and the chance of not being exposed to HPV during your life is almost zero.

As a variety of commentators have pointed out, most girls will come into contact with HPV before they are sexually active, when they start menstruating and use either tampons or sanitary towels - HPV can be transmitted from the soft skin around the cuticles to the genital area.

These so called moral crusaders are condeming girls to suffering cervical cancer because of their own twisted morals.

sick.
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