Not Saussure

October 6, 2006

Vaccine ‘encourages under-age sex’???

Filed under: Education, Medicine, UK — notsaussure @ 2:31 pm

I don’t have children, so maybe I’m not the best person to comment, but why on earth is this contentious:

Girls as young as 11 should receive compulsory vaccinations against a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer, according to an influential medical journal.

The Lancet published an editorial calling for compulsory jabs for 11- and 12-year-olds despite fears that they could encourage under-age sex.

The Sunday Telegraph revealed last month that ministers have commissioned secret research into parental attitudes towards a concerted vaccination programme in primary schools.

What on earth is wrong with just explaining to the child — if you don’t want to go into details of sexually transmitted diseases — that the vaccination’s to protect her against a nasty disease that little girls can’t catch but which she might catch when she’s a grown up if she doesn’t have the jab? If she wants to know whether Mummy’s had the jab and, if not, why hasn’t she caught the disease, then the truthful answer is that not that many people catch it anyway, but this makes it even less likely you’ll get it.

As I say, I don’t have children, but I’d have thought that if a parent seriously believes that the only thing preventing his daughter from having under-age sex is the fear of catching something nasty, then something’s gone badly wrong somewhere.

My late wife, who was sometimes called upon to dispense advice to female teenage relatives in her role as somewhat glamorous and louche auntie, used to have far more convincing arguments than that for waiting until you were a bit older; frequently that was what the girls wanted to hear, anyway — they just wanted reassurance that all their friends weren’t actually all at it like knives and that, if their boyfriend was threatening to dump them if they wouldn’t give him sex, he was ipso facto a blackmailing loser who didn’t deserve to get any and would, in any case, almost certainly be useless in bed anyway.

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