Making the rounds of Facebook is an article published on The Daily Sheeple (“Lead Developer Of HPV Vaccines Comes Clean, Warns Parents & Young Girls It’s All A Giant Deadly Scam,” 2014) about Gardasil, the Human Pappilloma Virus vaccine.
If what Sheeple are saying is correct, then Gardasil is a deadly scam! We’ve all been conned into believing that Gardasil and other HPV vaccines were safe, and useful in protecting our children from cervical cancer, when really it doesn’t do anything but make money for Merck, that multi-billion dollar global tyrant, while our children wither and die.
True to the form of paranoid extremists everywhere, Sheeple uses hysterical accusations and mistruths in a breathless promotion of fear and ignorance. The only deadly scam going on here is Sheeple’s.
Lets break down the article by Sheeple a little, then lets look at the facts from the peer-reviewed literature, not misquotes from misquotes.
Sheeple quotes an article on a similarly extreme blog, which took the quotes from another extremist blog. It alleges that Dr Harper believed that Gardasil was pointless, and harmful, even more harmful than cervical cancer which it was designed to prevent. The article alleges that there were 15,037 adverse reactions and 44 deaths. They quote Harper to CBS stating that, “‘The risks of serious adverse events including death reported after Gardasil use in (the JAMA article by CDC’s Dr. Barbara Slade) were 3.4/100,000 doses distributed,’ Harper tells CBS NEWS. ‘The rate of serious adverse events on par with the death rate of cervical cancer.’”
The truth is that the rates of serious adverse reactions to the HPV vaccine are incredibly small.
The CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report from the 26th July 2013 states that, “From June 2006 through March 2013, approximately 56 million doses of HPV4 were distributed in the United States … During June 2006–March 2013, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) received a total of 21,194 adverse event reports occurring in females after receipt of HPV4” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). That’s an adverse events rate of 0.04%.
The vast majority of vaccination side effects are a red, sore arm and fainting, which are not exclusive side effects to HPV vaccinations, but to all vaccinations in adolescents (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013; Harper & Vierthaler, 2011). In large trials, the rate of vaccine side effects was comparable to the rate of side effects from the placebo (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013; Gee et al., 2011; Lu, Kumar, Castellsague, & Giuliano, 2011; Rambout, Hopkins, Hutton, & Fergusson, 2007). So the vaccine is not the problem, it’s the histrionic teenagers.
In terms of deaths from the HPV vaccine, there aren’t any. Rambout et al. (2007) wrote, “The meta-analysis demonstrated that, overall, the incidence of serious adverse events and death was balanced between the vaccine and control groups … Most deaths were reported as accidental, and none of the deaths was considered attributable to the vaccine.” National Centre For Immunisation Research and Surveillance (2013) states that, “HPV vaccines are approved for use in over 100 countries, with more than 100 million doses distributed worldwide … No deaths reported in safety surveillance systems data in Australia or overseas, have been determined to be causally related to either of the HPV vaccines.”
Compare that to the current Australian road toll, which currently stands at 5.2/100,000 (Road Deaths Australia, December 2013). It’s safer to have a HPV vaccination than it is to drive a car.
The Sheeple article also fails to correctly report the benefits of the HPV vaccine, which has already shown a dramatic drop in the rate of HPV infection (Lu et al., 2011) and the incidence of genital warts (Ali et al., 2013).
Given all of this, did Dr Harper really suggest that the HPV vaccine was useless and harmful? I doubt she said anything of the sort, since in 2011 in a formal paper in a peer-reviewed journal, she said, “Should vaccination be an option that women choose for their cervical cancer protection, Cervarix is an excellent choice for both screened and unscreened populations due to its long-lasting protection, its broad protection for at least five oncogenic HPV types, the potential to use only one-dose for the same level of protection, and its safety.” (Harper & Vierthaler, 2011)
One final word about every woman’s favourite health check, the pap smear. Australia does have a low death rate from cervical cancer, compared to the rest of the world, even before the introduction of the HPV vaccine. The national co-ordinated approach to cervical screening with pap smears is the reason why. “Vaccination is not an ‘alternative’ to Pap tests; together these two approaches provide optimal protection. The National Cervical Screening Program recommends routine screening with Pap tests every 2 years for all women between the ages of 18 (or 2 years after first sexual intercourse) and 69 years.” (National Centre For Immunisation Research and Surveillance, 2013)
Is there a giant deadly scam behind the Gardasil vaccine? Only from those who oppose it. The same people wouldn’t think twice about letting their teenagers in a car, which is far more dangerous. When it’s their turn, I’ll have no hesitation in having my children vaccinated for HPV. If you disagree, that’s ultimately your choice. But examine all the facts first. Don’t let your children’s health rest on a baseless Internet meme.
Ali, H., Donovan, B., Wand, H., Read, T. R., Regan, D. G., Grulich, A. E., . . . Guy, R. J. (2013). Genital warts in young Australians five years into national human papillomavirus vaccination programme: national surveillance data. BMJ, 346, f2032. doi: 10.1136/bmj.f2032
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Human papillomavirus vaccination coverage among adolescent girls, 2007-2012, and postlicensure vaccine safety monitoring, 2006-2013 – United States. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep, 62(29), 591-595.
Gee, J., Naleway, A., Shui, I., Baggs, J., Yin, R., Li, R., . . . Weintraub, E. S. (2011). Monitoring the safety of quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine: findings from the Vaccine Safety Datalink. Vaccine, 29(46), 8279-8284. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.08.106
Harper, D. M., & Vierthaler, S. L. (2011). Next Generation Cancer Protection: The Bivalent HPV Vaccine for Females. ISRN Obstet Gynecol, 2011, 457204. doi: 10.5402/2011/457204
Lead Developer Of HPV Vaccines Comes Clean, Warns Parents & Young Girls It’s All A Giant Deadly Scam. (2014). The Daily Sheeple. Retrieved Jan 17, 2014, from http://www.thedailysheeple.com/lead-developer-of-hpv-vaccines-comes-clean-warns-parents-young-girls-its-all-a-giant-deadly-scam_012014 – sthash.lDJcsFRt.dpuf
Lu, B., Kumar, A., Castellsague, X., & Giuliano, A. R. (2011). Efficacy and safety of prophylactic vaccines against cervical HPV infection and diseases among women: a systematic review & meta-analysis. BMC Infect Dis, 11, 13. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-11-13
National Centre For Immunisation Research and Surveillance. (2013). Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines for Australians | NCIRS Fact sheet: March 2013. Retrieved Jan 17, 2014, from http://www.ncirs.edu.au/immunisation/fact-sheets/hpv-human-papillomavirus-fact-sheet.pdf
Rambout, L., Hopkins, L., Hutton, B., & Fergusson, D. (2007). Prophylactic vaccination against human papillomavirus infection and disease in women: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. CMAJ, 177(5), 469-479. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.070948
Road Deaths Australia, December 2013. (2014). Canberra, Australia: Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved from http://www.bitre.gov.au/publications/ongoing/rda/files/RDA_Dec13.pdf.