Friday, October 16, 2009

Why make boys pay for vaccinations when you can make girls pay?

According to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal, it wouldn't be cost effective to vaccinate boys and men against the human papillomavirus (HPV) if all girls and women got the vaccine.

Now let's hold that thought for a second, and examine the language. This study specifically states that it will not be cost effective if all girls and women got the vaccine, which reflects a viewpoint that thinks its okay to shove all the medical costs onto women. Not that that viewpoint diverges much from current US insurance agencies normal practices, as women are routinely charged more for health insurance premiums, even though maternity care is not included, according to the Feminist Majority Foundation.

The HPV vaccine is not cheap. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vaccine costs $125 per shot, which totals $375 for the whole series. Considering that women already only make 76 cents per male dollar, that's a lot of extra cost.

This study also seems to promote a heteronormative view of sexuality, because it implies that men will be only having sex with vaccinated women, and therefore will not be able to catch HPV--thus implying that men wouldn't be able to catch HPV from each other.

I wonder if they'd even considered the cost effectiveness of only vaccinating boys and men--considering, presumably, that the goal is to vaccinate half the population that would heteronormatively only interact sexually with the other half of the population. It might be an interesting study.

Photo Credit: euthman on

1 comment:

Madama said...

Yes! This is SO right on! I have also written and talked about how you can understand the power structure of patriarchy just by suggesting that, for instance, the responsibility for birth control be shifted to boys. Just as a thought experiment (but could it make good policy? it might...), I've said that boys should get sterilized at a young age and only when they are mature enough to parent their children should the sterilization be reversed. Nobody argued about the merits of this because the idea of violating a boy's body is outrageous, whereas the idea of violating a girl's body's a fundamental pillar of patriarchy.