by Geraldo Fuentes for viewzone
There has always been a well deserved suspicion of big- Pharma companies who push new drugs on the public with a flashy ad campaign. The effort employed by Merk, manufacturers of the HPV vaccine Gardasil is a classic example. And it is on-going. So maybe this is a good time to review what's known about this controversial vaccine and separate the truth from the myth.
If you are a parent of pre-teen children, you are perhaps already struggling with the Gardasil dilemma -- not necessarily if you will get them immunized but when. The drug must be administered in three doses over a six month period. It begins to protect against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) during sexual contact in about six months, so it is usually recommended for teens, sometimes even pre-teens. The lower recommended age limit is 9 years old.
When are children old enough for sex?
The minimum age where consensual sex is legal is defined by various governmental and state laws. In practicality, it is usually set by the culture and morals of the family. The official statistics show that American teens become sexually active at 16.9 years old, but many think these figures belong to the "Leave It To Beaver" days.
Oral and body-contact sex are now common in America's schoolyards. HPV is easily passed along through this type of contact and does not require intercourse. For this reason, the push to immunize ever younger children is being made by Gardasil's maker, Merk Pharmaceutical.
By getting the Gardasil vaccine, a child is protected against the most common types of the sexually transmitted HPV virus -- but not all of them. The virus has been strongly implicated in cervical cancer in women and penile cancer in men.
Doctors are now reporting that middle-aged men are presenting with HPV caused throat cancers, allegedly from oral sex they had 20 to 30 years earlier. One prediction stated that by 2020 there will be more throat cancer cases in men than cervical cancers in women from the HPV!
Unfortunately, the HPV vaccine is of no help to these latent HPV cases. But it does highlight the consequences of earlier unprotected sexual activity... for all that is worth today.
So why not just get the vaccine and be safe?
There are a lot of people who fear vaccines, and for good reason. The Live Polio Vaccine given to children in the 1950s is now known to have contained the SV-40 virus which contaminated the vaccines from the growing it in infected monkeys. The SV40 DNA sequence has been found in many cancers and linked to specific batches of polio vaccine given 40, 50 and even 60 years earlier.
There are no claims of such contamination with Gardasil. Instead the worries come from the very real side effects that have devastated the lives of a few people, so far, and the fear that a wider sequelae may yet be realized.
Washington based Judicial Watch announced that documents from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reveal that its National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) has awarded $5,877,710 dollars to 49 victims in claims made against the HPV vaccines. To date 200 claims have been filed with VICP, with barely half adjudicated. [source]
Controversy and the "Greater Good"...
From its inception, the use of HPV vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases has been hotly disputed. The problem lies in the fact that the virus can live in a host for a long time before causing cancer. Clinical studies of the vaccine have not been conducted long enough to evaluate its effectiveness. It is possible the virus has already been established in patients receiving the vaccine. Only time will tell.
According to the Annals of Medicine:
"At present there are no significant data showing that either Gardasil or Cervarix (GlaxoSmithKline) can prevent any type of cervical cancer since the testing period employed was too short to evaluate long-term benefits of HPV vaccination."
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton cited this quote in a warning against wide-spread immuninzation, saying that, "Public health officials should stop pushing Gardasil on children."
But it's not just the public health officials pushing the vaccine. The governor of Texas, Rick Perry [right], issued an executive order adding Gardasil to the state's required vaccination list, which was later overturned by the Texas legislature. Conservative groups, including the Family Research Council (FRC), expressed fear that vaccination with Gardasil might give girls a false sense of security regarding sex and lead to promiscuity, but no evidence exists to suggest that girls who were vaccinated later engaged in more sexual activity than unvaccinated girls.
Other state's including California have had similar proposals, but with more questionable facts emerging, this trend is thankfully waning.
The FDA's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) has documented thousands of adverse reactions to Gardasil. It has also noted unreported side effects, safety concerns and questionable marketing practices.
One of the vaccine injury cases is featured in the movie The Greater Good [ Below]. Meet Gabi Swank, a 15-year-old honor student who decided to get the Gardasil vaccine after seeing a "Be One Less" Gardasil vaccine advertisement on TV.
The Greater Good - short movie trailer:
Like so many young girls, Gabi wasn't warned about any possible side effects when she got the shots, which were given as a series of three injections.
At the time the documentary was filmed, she had already suffered two strokes and experienced partial paralysis. She also lost part of her vision and today suffers frequent seizures. When she was in high school, many days she had to use a wheelchair to get around school due to muscle pain and chronic fatigue.
A similar reaction happened to 13-year-old Jenny Tetlock, who began seeing signs of trouble just one month after she was vaccinated against the HPV virus. Fifteen months later, a degenerative muscle disease left her nearly completely paralyzed.
Neurological symptoms such as these were also reported in a study done in 2009 by neurologist Dr. Ian Sutton. He reported five cases of multiple sclerosis-like symptoms emerging shortly after women received the Gardasil vaccine, noting:
"We report five patients who presented with multifocal or atypical demyelinating syndromes within 21 days of immunization with the quadrivalent human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil. Although the target population for vaccination, young females, has an inherently high risk for MS, the temporal association with demyelinating events in these cases may be explained by the potent immuno-stimulatory properties of HPV virus-like particles which comprise the vaccine."
Here... check it out.
Naomi Snell, a 28-year-old woman in Melbourne, Australia, is leading a class-action civil lawsuit against drug maker Merck after suffering autoimmune and neurological complications following injections with the HPV vaccine, Gardasil.
After receiving the first of three doses of the vaccine, Naomi suffered convulsions, severe back and neck pain, and lost her ability to walk. Doctors actually diagnosed her with multiple sclerosis, which was later retracted and labeled a neurological reaction to the vaccine.
Supporters of Gardasil say that these cases are extreme examples of the reaction of a very few unusual cases. They claim, and rightly so, that a vast majority of boys and girls who receive the HPV vaccine have no side effects and are fully protected from the virus for the rest of their lives. They claim that the HPV will eventually be eradicated if the program continues.
Lobbyists for MERK Pharma rock the boat
When it was revealed the producer of Gardasil, Merck & Co., was lobbying state legislatures to introduce compulsory vaccination against HPV for preteen girls as a requirement for school attendance, this obvious attempt to promote their vaccine immediately raised concerns that big-Pharma had gone too far.
Protests by many groups around the country caused Merck announced its immediate suspension of this campaign in February 2007, saying, "We're concerned that our role in supporting school requirements is a distraction from that goal (providing women with a vaccine for HPV), and as such have suspended our lobbying efforts."
The Canadian Federal government used $300 million in three years to help administer the vaccine throughout schools. In 2007 debates among the public became prominent as a result of the provincial governments targeting children in grade 8 for the vaccine. It continues to be a controversial issue today.
In June 2013, the Japanese government issued a notice that "cervical cancer vaccinations should no longer be recommended for girls aged 12 to 16." The vaccines sold in Japan are Cervarix, made by GlaxoSmithKlein PLC of Britain, and Gardasil, made by Merck Sharp & Dohme. An estimated 3.28 million people have received the vaccination; 1,968 cases of possible side effects have been reported.
This is the second time the Japanese government has suspended a vaccine. An analysis of the drugs found 245.1 reports of side effects per million vaccinations for Cervarix and 155.7 reports per million for Gardasil. (wiki)
As reported in Active Post by Heather Callaghan, the head researcher and developer of the HPV vaccine, Dr. Diane Harper, confessed that the vaccine is more harmful than the virus itself! The remarks came at 4th International Public Conference on Vaccination, which took place in Reston, Virginia in 2009.
Dr. Harper explained that the risk for cervical cancer -- the main reason Gardasil is being promoted -- is already quite low. So low, in fact, that the vaccine has little effect on the statistics.
According to Dr. Harper:
The result of all the controversy is that many are giving Gardasil a second thought. Perhaps the risk of HPV is not all that great. Perhaps the risk to the child's health is not worth the possibilities that the vaccine will somehow, someday, prove to have been a mistake.
It has become common for big pharmaceutical companies to come up with advertising campaigns that attempt to make the public fearful of many common pathogens. We see new and confusing diseases, such as Restless Leg Syndrome and ADHD, that seem to require pricy daily prescriptions. Many people wonder if these "diseases" are really dangerous and require treatment, or if they would normally resolve themselves with time.
Gardasil, once the in vogue prescription that promised protection from cancer, is now being re-evaluated by many parents, concerned about the long term effects and the lack of testing. The best advice is to do your own research and decide for yourself if the risks outweigh the dangers.
What are your opinions on this?