Michele Bachmann is still defending her opposition to the vaccine that prevents HPV, the leading cause of cervical cancer. At a campaign event in Sheldon, Iowa on Monday night, she sympathized with a mother who believes her daughter Jessica, now 16, has been debilitated by headaches, pains and seizures brought on by the vaccine three years ago and can no longer attend school.
"Michele, on behalf of myself and a lot of other mothers that have a child that’s sick from the Gardasil vaccine, I would like to thank you for the attention that you brought to it," Julie Wepple said, according to the Des Moines Register.
Bachmann thanked Wepple for bringing up the vaccine issue. "Parents have to make that decision for their kids because it isn't the schools that are going to follow up with Jessica," she said. "It isn’t the schools that live with Jessica every day. It’s Jessica who’s having to have her body live with the ravages of this vaccine."
For months Bachmann's campaign has been after Rick Perry, who in 2007 mandated that all young girls in Texas receive the vaccine--and later said he made a mistake. Central to the debate was Texas lobbyist Mike Toomey, who served as chief of staff for Perry for two years and lobbied for Merck, Gardasil's maker. Bachmann alluded to her opponent's ties to the drug company again on Monday night.
"And that's a very big issue, and we can't sacrifice the health of even one child on the altar (for) profits for some big drug company," she said.
After the event, Wepple took to her Facebook wall to continue the conversation:
Tonight Jessica and I had the opportunity to meet Michele Bachmann, presidential candidate. I thanked her for the attention she has brought to the Gardasil vaccine. She said she would not be bought by a drug company!!!!!!!! Hopefully we educated a lot of people in the room on the dangers of the vaccine and afterwards we were interviewed by the Des Moines Register and CBS news. Hopefully they will also spread the news of the dangers of the Gardasil vaccine, tell how many kids are getting sick from it and help us to find those who are sick and don't know why. Please pray God will heal all these kids so they may someday live a normal life again.