Gardisil Alert

Gardisil is the vaccine to protect against HPV that is having a huge media campaign. Some people even want to pass laws making it mandatory. Let’s look at this issue more closely.

There are 100 strains of HPV and Gardisil protects against two of them. 44% of American women age 20-24 are infected with the HPV virus. However, only 3.4% are the strains that Gardisil protects against.

The real issue with HPV is it’s role as a precursor to cervical cancer. Only a small percentage of the women who have HPV will get cervical cancer. HPV is an important co-factor, but it alone does not cause cervical cancer. One-third of cases are attributable to cigarette smoking. Since the start of routine Pap smears, cervical cancer is easily detected. Of the 253, 781 cases of cervical cancer in the US in 2002, almost 250,000 were treated and survived. The death rate from cervical cancer has dropped 75% since the 1960′s.

Gardisil was approved in the FDA’s “priority review process” which took less than six months. The two published studies available for review were funded entirely by the drug manufacturer. These studies recommended the vaccine for young women 15 years and up. Once the approval went through the recommendation changed to nine years of age. One study didn’t assess safety beyond 14 days!

As of July 2007 there had been 2,207 reported adverse events from this vaccine, including five deaths! In May Gardisil alone was 20% of all reported vaccine injuries. We know that a huge number of incidents go unreported. Check the CDC, Center for Disease Control, website for updates. VAERS is the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. Go to

Gardisil costs $360 for a series of three shots. Reactions, besides death, include fainting, seizures, joint pain, and Guillan-Barre syndrome, as well as others. Guillan-Barre is characterized by muscle weakness and/or paralysis. I know a nurse who was paralyzed for a year after a flu vaccine.

Besides the risk of the vaccine, if women take it and forgo annual Pap smears we will see a rise in cervical cancer deaths. We don’t know how long it is effective, if it is at all, because there have been no long term studies. Once again we are the guinea pigs and it could be decades before we know the full extent of the harm done.

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