HPV Vaccine Concerns

Again, I am concerned that a vaccine is more dangerous than the illness for which it claims to prevent. Gardasil is this vaccine. After four deaths and multiple complications, India has immediately suspended its Gardasil study. (1)

During a 2 year study that was being conducted in India to evaluate the utility and acceptability of Gardasil, FOUR girls have DIED and 120 girls reported COMPLICATIONS after vaccination.

“The girls complained of stomach disorders, epilepsy (seizures), headaches and early menarche (early onset of menstruation).” (1) The study was halted for both medical and ethical reasons.  This is the identical vaccine given to American children.

I personally, have seen two girls with significant reactions that began after having received the Gardasil vaccine.  On the day of vaccination (given in the arm), one girl developed serious leg pains which lasted for several days.  The other previously healthy girl, however, was not so fortunate.  Within 2 weeks of getting her first Gardasil vaccine, she developed a bizarre constellation of symptoms ranging from unilateral edema (swelling) of her arm, breast and chest, severe pain, numbness, tingling, and she also developed enuresis.  Yes, this teenager became incontinent and had to wear a diaper to school.  At first, we were all confused by her symptoms and their etiology.  Because her symptoms didn’t begin until close to 2 weeks after vaccination, I don’t even think any of us considered any association.  She saw several specialists, some whom not surprisingly thought her symptoms were all psychological.  (Often when doctors don’t have an explanation and symptoms don’t make sense to them, psychiatric illness is where they place the blame.)  After I began working with this girl, her symptoms began to improve.  However, then she was given the second Gardasil vaccine and her symptoms promptly returned, worse than before.  To her mother, it seemed quite obvious that either this vaccine caused these symptoms or was the trigger that brought them out.  Needless to say, I strongly recommended that she not receive the third shot.

I must admit that the thought of a vaccine that could decrease the chances of a woman getting cervical cancer was very enticing at first.  I think that this is what convinced so many doctors to recommend it as soon as it came out and why so many parents and girls are wanting to get it.  However, after seeing such a severe reaction in my patient, I began to strongly question the safety of the Gardasil vaccine. So I did some research, and here’s what I learned:

The US keeps record of adverse events occuring after vaccines.  This program is called VAERS – The Vaccine Adverse Reporting System. VAERS is the place where people and doctors report all possible vaccine side effects/ associated symptoms.  Most of the time, it takes a very strong reaction, with close proximity to a vaccination, to trigger a doctor to report a symptom to VAERS.  It is estimated that only between 1 and 10 percent of all adverse health outcomes which occur following vaccination are reported to VAERS. (5,6,7) Using the VAERS data, the National Vaccine Information Center compared the adverse events reported comparing Gardasil to Menactra, since both vaccines are given to a similar population of healthy teenage girls.

What you will see is that the numbers of girls who had adverse events after receiving the Gardisil are far higher than those seen in the same healthy population of girls who received the Menactra vaccine, which is given to prevent meningitis.   One argument often made is that Gardasil is given in three doses while Menactra only one, thus there is tripling the likelihood that an adverse event could be random and unrelated to the vaccine.  But again, as you look at the numbers, you will see far more than a triple increase in most adverse events.

Comparing these two vaccines (Gardasil/Menactra), girls who were given Gardasil had:
  • BLOOD CLOTS (23/0)
  • THROMBOSIS (34/1)
  • CARDIAC ARREST (9/2)
  • STROKE (16/1)
  • LUPUS (28/6)
  • SEIZURES (544/158 (73 of these 158 were given both vaccines)), and
  • VASCULITIS (11/2) far more frequently than those who received Menactra.
After being given Gardasil:
  • 261 (vs. 29) girls have become DISABLED,
  • 2017 (vs. 393) have NOT recovered from their symptoms and
  • 29 (vs. 6) girls have DIED. (3)

As you can see, the ADVERSE EVENTS after the Gardasil vaccine are FAR in EXCESS of TRIPLE what would be expected from a healthy population of girls!

Furthermore, the adverse symptoms are not limited to the above list.  There are many others symptoms in excess of triple Menactra’s rate: alopeica, arrythmia, arthritis, blindness, collapse, fainting, hair loss, joint pain, migraine, rheumatoid arthritis, and syncope. (3)

And what are the potential benefits from the Gardasil vaccine to make it so worth these risks?

Gardasil has been shown to prevent 60-80% of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) cases, many of which are associated with genital warts and future cervical cancer.  Gardasil has NOT been shown to prevent cancer – the vaccine hasn’t been around that long to show this.  “The officials concede that because the vaccine was introduced less than a decade ago, it is too early to say whether it prevents cervical cancer itself.” (2)  “A vaccine that is highly efficacious in providing protection against HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18, based on available epidemiological data, might be capable having a significant impact in preventing cervical cancer.”(8)  No proof of cancer prevention – just an assumption.  Interestingly, many OBGYNs don’t worry much about teenagers with atypical (pre-cancerous) cervical cells caused by HPV.  I have been told that teens’ immune systems are usually so strong that usually the body is able to clear these atypical cells on their own.

The Menactra vaccine is a completely different situation – it is given to prevent an acute life threatening illness (Neisseria meningitis) that strikes most frequently during late adolescence, with it’s highest risk being in their first year of group housing such as their freshman year at college, the first year that teens are apart from their parents.  Consequently, I see the validity in taking the risk with Menactra.

On the other hand, the Gardasil vaccine is given to hopefully prevent an illness that does not present until much later in adulthood.  Cervical cancer is often treatable, and certainly is not acute.  Unfortunately this vaccine has also recently been approved for use in boys – to decrease HPV transmission – certainly not a benefit for my son that would balance the risks!

I completely agree with the National Vaccine Information Center that “vaccines which are licensed and recommended by the government for universal use by children and young adults, should adhere to the highest standards with regard to proof of safety and efficacy.” (3)  I am very concerned about the lack of long-term safety studies, especially for girls ages 9-15 where there is the least safety data. (8)

Whether it is the body’s immune reaction to the viral particles, the 225mcg of aluminum adjuvant (4) in the vaccine, a combination of both, or something else that triggers  these adverse events is unknown.  What I do know however, is that I will NOT be giving this vaccine to my 11 year old daughter, nor my son, and will NOT be recommending that any one else does either.

If you or a loved one had a negative reaction that you feel could be related to the Gardasil vaccine, please go to:

http://www.nvic.org/vaccines-and-diseases/HPV/questionnaire.aspx.

It provides you both the VAERS web site to report symptoms directly and a questionnaire from National Vaccine Information Center.

Interested in reading another article about the dangers of the HPV Vaccine?  Click Here.

1. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_cancer-vaccine-programme-suspended-after-4-girls-die_1368681

2. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1100409/jsp/nation/story_12320638.jsp

3. http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/NVICGardasilvsMenactraVAERSReportFeb2009.pdf

4. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/UCM111263.pdf

5.   Rosenthal S, Chen R. The reporting sensitivities of two passive surveillance systems for vaccine adverse events. Am J Public Health 1995; 85: 1708-9. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pubmed&pubmedid=7503351

6.   Braun M. Vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS): usefulness and limitations. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. www.vaccinesafety.edu/VAERS.htmFood and Drug Administration. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. The clinical impact of adverse event reporting. MedWatch. October 1996

7. http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/articles/medcont/postrep.htm

8.http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/06/briefing/2006-4222B3.pdf

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