The controversy surrounding vaccinations continues to grow as more and more individuals come forward with claims of illnesses due to various inoculations. The HPV vaccine, intended to prevent cervical cancer, is one that seems to have had its share of media attention. Also known as Gardasil, this vaccine was approved by the FDA in the United States in 2006, and in 80 countries a year later. It gained more notoriety in February of 2007 when Texas Governor Rick Perry bypassed the state legislature and issued an executive order mandating the vaccination for all middle school girls ages 11 to 12. This order, which would have made Texas the first state to mandate the HPV vaccine, was overturned two months later.
Once again, Gardasil is stirring debate, this time in Ireland. Fiona Kirby, a nurse from Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath, is pursuing a withdrawal of the license for Gardasil. She is also seeking "an order restraining the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), which monitors health products in Ireland, proceeding with use of Gardasil in any vaccine programme," according to the Irish Times.
Kirby states that her daughter experienced "horrendous adverse effects" after receiving the vaccination in 2011. Within 24 hours of the inoculation, her 11-year-old daughter began showing severe flu-like symptoms. Her second dose of the vaccine brought about the same symptoms, causing Kirby to decide against the third vaccination. She says her daughter suffered extreme fatigue and nausea, leading to weight loss and muscle wastage. In 2012 her daughter was hospitalized with bilateral pneumonia and needed antibiotics for six weeks. The mother claims her daughter, now 15, needs to be cared for on a continual basis.
Initially believing that her daughter's situation was an isolated one, Kirby eventually discovered claims of other girls dealing with "similar continuous life changing health problems" that began after receiving the HPV vaccination. REGRET (Reaction and Effects of Gardasil Resulting in Extreme Trauma), a parents' group to which Kirby belongs, claims that approximately 100 girls have reported illnesses due to the Gardasil vaccine.
In 2007, Australia's ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) reported in May that "Sacred Heart Girls College in Oakleigh, in south-east Melbourne, says 26 girls fell sick and some were taken to the hospital after being vaccinated earlier this month." In an interview with The World Today — a radio program of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation — the mother of one of the girls stated, "Basically she had collapsed. There was no sort of reaction from her at all whatsoever. She was unable to move her limbs ... not able to talk to us for quite a few hours."
That same year, 12-year-old Nina Pugliese also received the first dose of the HPV vaccine. Her mother, Francine, reported to MyGardasilStory.com, "Over the next few weeks Nina started to complain of flu like symptoms. She would wake up very fatigued and nauseous. The symptoms were intermittent, but becoming more regular as the weeks passed." Francine watched as her once healthy and very active child became chronically ill and had to continue school through homebound study. Nina was eventually diagnosed with Dysautonomia, in which the autonomic nervous system does not work correctly.
Regardless of these cases and others even more traumatic, the makers of the vaccine have assured the public of its safety. Dr. Rachel David is the director of public affairs for CSL, one of the makers of Gardasil. David told The World Today regarding the cases at Sacred Heart Girls College:
We did look into this and we thoroughly checked the batches of vaccines involved and found that there was no problems with them. What I will make clear is that there was a small number of young women involved and our medical officers, again, spoke to some of the people involved.
And the consensus is, what we believe has happened is a severe anxiety reaction to vaccination per se rather than to Gardasil. [Emphasis added.]
To what degree Dr. David truly believes that panic attacks are being confused with paralysis is not known. However, the Gardasil website offers this information:
The side effects include pain, swelling, itching, bruising, and redness at the injection site, headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and fainting. Fainting can happen after getting GARDASIL. Sometimes people who faint can fall and hurt themselves. For this reason, your child's health care professional may ask your child to sit or lie down for 15 minutes after he or she gets GARDASIL. Some people who faint might shake or become stiff. This may require evaluation or treatment by your child's health care professional.
In 2013, Vaccine News Daily reported that students at East Carolina University (in Greenville, North Carolina) were being offered compensation for receiving the Gardasil vaccine. A $20 iTunes gift card and a chance to win an iPad2 were up for grabs, but only if the student received the entire three-dose cycle. An incentive was apparently necessary since so many were stopping after the first shot. What better way for East Carolina students to spend their recovery time than with $20 worth of music and the hope of a tablet?
There are physicans, however, who are speaking out against the HPV vaccine. Dr. Christian Fiala, a general practitioner from Vienna, Austria, has combated Gardasil for years in his country, asserting that the vaccination does not serve its stated purpose. He also claims there is no evidence of HPV causing cervical cancer. In an interview with World Net Daily, Fiala states, "There is no proof of a causal relationship of HPV and cervical cancer (correlation is not necessarily causation) and there is no evidence that HPV vaccine reduces the overall number of cervical cancer (cases)."
If, indeed, this vaccination does not actually diminish the danger of cervical cancer, and if there is no connection between HPV and cervical cancer, then what is the real purpose of Gardasil? Fiala holds that it is "a money-making machine without any benefit for patients. But some inherent risks."
In response to the doctor's opposition, a formal complaint was introduced — against the doctor! "The doctors involved in vaccine development submitted an official complaint ... accusing me of doing harm to the image of doctors," Fiala said. "The investigation did not go far, because I could show that I fully respect evidence based on medicine. Therefore, the investigation was closed. But it could have cost me the right to [practice] medicine. It was meant as a threat," he told World Net Daily.
The eagerness to accept the vaccine in Austria was curtailed when two cases of Gardasil-related illnesses were discovered. In both situations central nervous system symptoms developed, resulting in death for one girl and intensive care hospitalization for the other. Fiala says the vaccination "is used infrequently" in his country, where it is not greatly promoted and losing popularity.
Dr. Diane Harper, a Merck consultant and a lead researcher for Gardasil, also speaks out concerning the vaccine, its risks and benefits. Helping to design and promote Phases 2 and 3 safety and effectiveness studies to have Gardasil approved, Harper claims there is no available data showing that Gardasil is effective beyond five years. "If we vaccinate 11 year olds and the protection doesn't last ... we've put them at harm from side effects, small but real, for no benefit," Dr. Harper tells CBS News. She goes on to say, "The benefit to public health is nothing, there is no reduction in cervical cancers, they are just postponed, unless the protection lasts for at least 15 years, and over 70% of all sexually active females of all ages are vaccinated." According to Harper, the side effects of Gardasil are proving to be more hazardous than the cancer it's supposed to prevent. If found early enough through Pap screenings, cervical cancer is usually completely curable.
Dr. Scott Ratner also voiced similar concerns after his daughter received the first dose of the HPV vaccine. He told CBS News, "My daughter went from a varsity lacrosse player at Choate to a chronically ill, steroid-dependent patient with autoimmune myofasciitis. I've had to ask myself why I let my eldest of three daughters get an unproven vaccine against a few strains of a nonlethal virus that can be dealt with in more effective ways."
Questions similar to that of Dr. Ratner's are, no doubt, being asked by many across the globe. Is there enough evidence to support the claims of a vaccine that has been so aggressively promoted? Do the benefits outweigh the risks? These inquiries must be answered by the recipient (or responsible party), without coercion. For, as Fiona Kirby has discovered, it is the recipient who will benefit or suffer.
Photo: AP Images