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9 Responses

  1. Kyra
    Kyra August 5, 2009 at 5:08 pm |

    That said, a bit of infuriating sexual health and immigration discrimination: the United States makes the Gardasil vaccine mandatory for young women seeking U.S. citizenship.

    Makes it mandatory, but doesn’t pay for it? Honestly, I think that’s a little bit fucked there. Anything specifically mandated, in the health-care field especially, where somebody does not have the option of foregoing it,* ought to be provided at no cost to the person forced to get it.

    *At least, not without paying something far more expensive than the cost of the vaccine—giving up one’s desired homeland does NOT fall under “but she had a choice!”

  2. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 5, 2009 at 5:17 pm |

    This is ridiculous. Are there any resources for immigrant women in terms of helping them pay for it? I know the long term goal is to whack Congress over the head with a nerf bat fix the rules, but is there anything that can be done to help until the rules are changed?

  3. Mary
    Mary August 5, 2009 at 5:37 pm |

    Kyra: it’s really typical in immigration situations to have a lot of mandatory medical stuff that is out of pocket. I don’t know the US situation very well, but Australia mandates TB X-Rays, a full medical workup, specialist investigations into any chronic symptoms (high BP etc etc) as part of immigration. Neither the Australian government nor insurers (Australia has public medicine for people who are already permanent residents, but potential immigrants need to be insured even if they’re applying from inside the country) will pay for the bulk of this, the specialist investigations perhaps excepted by some insurers.

    Which is really sucky, and especially so to impose extra costs on women. Immigration procedures are generally designed to make immigration as inaccessible as they can make it while still actually having some immigrants, because immigration is politically bad but economically desirable. (I realise this comment may come across as “that’s just the real world, it’s tough, get used to it” but I don’t intend that: this rigamarole is stupid and cruel in countries that impose it, and should be changed.)

  4. Maureen
    Maureen August 5, 2009 at 9:41 pm |

    There is another cheap and easy way to head off cervical cancer in the developing world: “In 1999, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Jhpiego established its Cervical Cancer Prevention (CECAP) Program. Working with colleagues and stakeholders in Thailand, Ghana, Malawi and Peru, the CECAP program pioneered a unique, medically safe, acceptable and cost-effective approach to cervical cancer prevention for low-resource settings. This approach, known as the single visit approach (SVA), uses VIA to identify the precancerous cervical lesions, followed by treatment using a freezing technique to destroy the lesions (cryotherapy), in the same visit.”

    Granted, this is detection of the problem after it has manifest, but it is certainly better than nothing.

  5. MJ
    MJ August 5, 2009 at 9:51 pm |

    That said, a bit of infuriating sexual health and immigration discrimination: the United States makes the Gardasil vaccine mandatory for young women seeking U.S. citizenship.

    Great cheese on a cracker, you scared the bejesus out of me with that statement! No health requirements of any kind are in place for anyone seeking U.S. citizenship. For permanent residency (green card), yes, there is a physical (which I imagine includes a check for all requisite vaccines) that needs to be performed by a government approved doctor/clinic, but citizenship only requires a form, exorbitant fee to the tune of half a thousand dollars, and interview + civics test.

    Now, it’s true that you need to establish permanent residency before you can apply for citizenship, so one could make the argument that this vaccine is ultimately a requirement for citizenship, but please stop scaring those of us who got our green cards before that ridiculous rule was put in place. I just about near had a heart attack.

  6. MJ
    MJ August 6, 2009 at 3:15 pm |

    I know this rule is in place for people seeking permanent residency (green card), but it does not apply to those who have achieved permanent resident status before the rule was put in place and want to apply for U.S. citizenship.

    The page states:

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today a revised list of vaccines required for applicants seeking to adjust status to become legal permanent residents. (emphasis mine)

    Legal permanent residency is not the same thing as citizenship. It is the step before citizenship. So, as I’ve said before, while technically it’s true that this vaccine is required for any young woman who is currently not a permanent resident and will be seeking U.S. citizenship in the future, for those women who received their permanent resident status prior to August 1, 2008 and will be applying for naturalization when they are eligible in 5 years, no such requirement exists. Your statement is somewhat misleading; that’s what I was getting at.

  7. Annon
    Annon August 12, 2009 at 6:51 pm |

    Don’t miss the book “The HPV Vaccine Controversy: Sex, Cancer, God and Politics” authored by Shobha S. Krishnan, M.D, Barnard college, Columbia University. It is written without the influence of any pharmaceutical companies or special interest groups. The book educates both professionals and the public about HPV infections, the diseases they cause and the role/ controversies surrounding the new vaccines. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, June 17th 2009) calls the book superb and a terrific contribution to the field. It is available at, Barnes and Noble .com and through international distributors. Link to the book:

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