Is The HPV Vaccine Safe?


Every day, more and more mothers are feeling the pressure to vaccinate their daughters against HPV (Human Papilloma Virus), even for girls as young as Grade 4. The guilt regarding this decision can be overwhelming.... In my practice, I have had increasing numbers of women dealing with the effects of targeted marketing regarding the Gardasil Vaccination. Television ads, magazine ads, even organizations that mean well, such as schools, churches and social groups. Never has there been such a wave of pressure to "do the right thing", to "love your daughter enough" by subjecting them to forced vaccination.

I can’t advise women what the best decision is, but I can put a few things on the table that may not be part of the mass marketing that we are experiencing. After all, if you are going to make a decision, you need to know both sides of the issue.

First, I should point out that many vaccinations that were first thought to be essential for health, have turned out over time to produce very serious side-effects that were not anticipated, and to even not be essential at all. Occasionally vaccinations have even turned out not to be effective at preventing a condition at all.

In the case of Gardasil, there is substantial lack of scientific proof that this vaccine actually prevents cervical cancer and even the advertisements state that it will not prevent all types of cervical cancer. There is also no indication whether regular examinations, if administered faithfully on a schedule, cannot provide the same protection through early detection and treatment.

There are also numerous questions about the safety of this vaccine, not to mention the cost which is quite significant, and often out of pocket. So first let’s understand some facts about cervical cancer:

- About 90% of women that become infected with HPV will eliminate the virus from their body through the natural immune process.

— Infection with HPV is one of several risk factors for cervical cancer. There are others such as smoking, being overweight, family history, HIV, Chlamydia infection, long term use of oral contraceptives and multiple pregnancies.

— There are over 100 strains of HPV, the vaccine only contains 4 strains.

— Cervical cancer affects a relatively small number of women when compared with other diseases, and is rarely fatal. With Pap screening and treatment, 90% of cervical cancer cases can be prevented.

- Higher rates of cervical cancer have been recorded when there has been exposure to the HPV strains used in the vaccine prior to vaccination (the virus is transmitted through the skin to skin contact and there is no testing recommended prior to vaccination). So in these cases, the vaccine could actually increase the risk of cancer.

Now let’s look at the vaccination itself:

- The vaccine has not been proven to reduce or prevent cervical cancer; it only reduces numbers of precancerous lesions.

- Dr. Diane Harper, a lead researcher in the development of the HPV vaccine was quoted as saying, "It is silly to mandate vaccination of 11 and 12 year old girls. There also is not enough evidence gathered on side effects to know that safety is not an issue."

- There are many unanswered questions such as What is the long term safety of the vaccine? (studies have only been done for up to 4 years) How long will protection last? What is the need for boosters?

- Research done on the vaccine included only 100 nine year old girls vs. 20,541 women 16 to 26 years of age. So the safety of the vaccine in younger girls is unknown.

- Nearly 90% of vaccine recipients reported an adverse event from vaccination within 15 days. As of May 2007, there had been 1,637 complaints filed to the Canadian Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System including seizures, paralysis and death.

- There have been no independent safety studies done on the vaccine as yet. All safety studies were funded by the vaccine manufacturers.

- Aluminum and polysorbate are used in the vaccine. Both are know carcinogens in lab animals and can alter immune responses.

- When compared with the DPT (Diptheria Tetanus Pertussis Vaccine), there are twice as many reports of collapse and four times as many reports of tingling, numbness and loss of sensation with the HPV vaccine.

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