HPV vaccine Gardasil at the center of international controversy

hpv vaccineMore headlines about adverse affects from vaccines are a double-edged sword: they add fuel to the fire for detractors of mass vaccination OR they are chalked up as more “hype” by proponents of vaccination. Most parents and health care providers are left somewhere in the middle – wondering where they can find reliable information, and more fundamental truths about our modern approach to preventative medicine to guide the decision making process.

It is notable that today’s headline regarding “horrendous” effects of the HPV vaccine – designed to prevent cervical cancer and genital warts, arrives on the front page within days of an announcement by the World Health Organization that 2/3 of the global population are currently infected with herpes.

Scientifically speaking, genital herpes is not related to human papillomavirus (HPV, the purported cause of cervical cancer), though the vaccine claims to prevent cervical cancer as well as genital outbreaks. And, just to be clear, there are no “proven” vaccines for herpes on the market, yet…

What is the real risk of cervical cancer? 

The percentage of cervical cancers caused by HPV is relatively low. While some studies have shown “more than half of women by the age of 50 have been exposed to HPV, but most HPV infections clear up on their own.” Cervical cancer develops in some women with a rare and “high risk” strain of the virus.

Commonly accepted and widely recommended sound medical practices for preventing cervical cancer involve reducing the risk factors associated with a higher prevalence of cervical cancer:


Women who smoke cigarettes and engage in unprotected sex with multiple partners have a higher risk for developing cervical cancer. (From medicinenet.com, “Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer”)

What a heavy guilty trip for parents! The CDC propaganda patrol knows how to lay it on thick...

What a heavy guilty trip for parents! The CDC propaganda patrol knows how to lay it on thick…

The HPV vaccine may only be effective in preventing cervical cancer if administered (three shots spaced six months apart) before a woman becomes sexually active. HPV is the most common Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) among US teenagers. The earliest a girl will be offered the HPV vaccine in the US is age 9, and is offered throughout her teenage years importantly before she starts having sex. Even the CDC must concede:

“…it is important that women continue to be screened for cervical cancer, even after getting all 3 shots of either HPV vaccine. This is because neither vaccine protects against ALL types of cervical cancer.

The vaccines do not protect against all HPV types— so they will not prevent all cases of cervical cancer. Since some cervical cancers will not be prevented by the vaccines, it will be important for women to continue getting screened for cervical cancer.”

The CDC claims the vaccine is perfectly safe as it was tested and tried on thousands of individuals before receiving the sanction of the FDA and the CDC. Furthermore, it is championed by the WHO and is mandatory in DC and Virginia for “all girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated against HPV”. (Further in-depth reading about the politics of HPV in this article: “Childhood Vaccine and School Entry Laws: The Case of HPV Vaccine” published by the National Institute of Health)

hpv politics

But one mother’s anguished cry for justice will not be ignored: 

Fiona Kirby, the Irish nurse and mother bringing a complaint against Ireland's High Court for the "horrendous adverse affects" of the HPV vaccine Gardasil on her 11 year old daughter who is now permanently disabled after receiving two out of three doses of the vaccine

Fiona Kirby, the Irish nurse and mother bringing a complaint against Ireland’s High Court for the “horrendous adverse affects” of the HPV vaccine Gardasil on her 11 year old daughter who is now permanently disabled after receiving two out of three doses of the vaccine

Irish nurse and mother Fiona Kirby is fighting to have Gardasil removed from the market in Ireland after her 11 year old daughter became seriously ill, and then permanently disabled after receiving the vaccine. Her daughter’s symptoms began with weakness, fever and fatigue; progressing to severe nausea and pneumonia leading to a long course of antibiotics, weight loss and muscle wasting. Fiona Kirby thought her experience was an isolated case, but later found more than 100 other girls in Ireland experienced very similar symptoms with severe impacts on their health.

She is now allied with a parental support network called REGRET: Reaction and Effects of Gardasil Resulting in Extreme Trauma who has joined in on the lawsuit to stop the use of Gardasil in Ireland. While the manufacturers of Gardasil have several weeks to come up with a formal reply, Gardasil will continue to be administered to young girls in Ireland. They may return with certain evidence stating the cause and effect cannot be definitively proven; or they may settle with the “hot batch” excuse: the fact that some batches of vaccines are distributed with active strains of the virus or containing bacterial contamination. This is a fact that has underlined more than a dozen settlements between vaccine manufacturers and the broken-hearted parents whose children lost their health, their futures and in some cases even their lives to a “routine” vaccine.

The problem is much bigger than a “hot batch” in Ireland

hpv global

Health Impact News reports in 2014 that Spain joined a growing number of countries who have filed criminal lawsuits against HPV manufacturers – including France, India and Japan. What are the grounds for a criminal lawsuit?

“The complaint states that Merck Laboratories failed to use an inert placebo during clinical trials, thereby manipulating data and marketing Gardasil under false pretences. Despite complaints of several young women with similar new medical conditions after Gardasil injections, the Spanish health authorities ignored calls for a moratorium on the use of Gardasil until the safety issues were resolved.”

First: Clinical trials were not conducted according to scientific standards; this oversight in testing was intentional leading to misleading claims about the viability of Gardasil (the trademarked name for the HPV vaccine). Second: Health authorities continued routine administration of Gardasil despite complaints, and even while the safety of the vaccine was being investigated. Apparently, a vaccine is considered safe until proven otherwise.

“Both regional and national health authorities made no attempt to verify the accuracy of the safety data Merck submitted to gain approval for the widespread administration of Gardasil as a cancer preventative; nor did they make any attempt to inform the public that an already proven safe and effective means of controlling cervical cancer was already in existence.”

While this study does not specify what the “proven safe and effective means of controlling cervical cancer” would be – my guess is the obvious preventative measures of reducing risk by quitting smoking and engaging in protected sexual intercourse with a limited range of intimate partners. The frightening thing here is that the government agencies charged with protecting public health made no attempt to “verify the accuracy of the safety data” from the manufacturers, taking them at their word and giving Merck carte blanche for the “widespread administration of Gardasil” under the pretense that it could prevent cancer.

“The complaint goes on to say both national and local health authorities had adequate knowledge regarding the potential harmful effects of Gardasil and chose to recommend administration of the HPV vaccine anyway. The complaint alleges this showed an absolute disregard for the health and well-being of young Spanish girls.”

Health officials in Spain have no room to claim ignorance about the potential harmful effects of Gardasil. So why did they allow and promote this vaccine even though they knew it was not adequately tested, and had full disclosure about the negative effects? What motivated them to completely ignore their mandate to protect the health and safety of young Spanish women?

“According to the complaint, the attitude of the Merck pharmaceutical company and Spanish health authorities (both national and regional) before, during and after the administration of Gardasil shows they care nothing about the risk to which medical consumers expose themselves whenever Gardasil is used.”

Is anyone really that surprised that a multi-million dollar, multi-national, mega-conglomorate pharmaceutical company cares nothing for the consumer? And that the nonchalant attitude toward real medical risks reflects the real priorities in the corporate culture of giant pharmaceuticals?

And finally, we have the icing on the cake:

“In the United States, however, you cannot sue the manufacturers of vaccines, as they are protected from civil criminal prosecution. As a result, marketing efforts to increase the sale and distribution of the HPV vaccine are increasing.”

The damage is done, and while the impact to individual families is permanent and irrevocable, the total cost to pharmaceutical companies like Merck is negligible. And in the United States, our “options” as parents are shrinking quickly…where will we turn for justice? Do you know someone whose life has been impacted by Gardasil or other vaccines? Where do you stand on the issue?

Devil’s Advocate: Obviously I am passionately against vaccination. But I want to make sure my readers get both sides of the issue, and that you have a chance to make up your own minds. Here’s a compelling antithesis to my take on today’s headlines:



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