Barbara Loe Fisher, Co-Founder and President
National Vaccine Information Center
March 8, 2007, Washington, D.C. Rally sponsored by
Parents and Citizens Committee to Stop Medical Experimentation in D.C.
Just 15 days after the Centers for Disease Control recommended that all 11 and 12 year old girls in America get three doses of Merck’s HPV vaccine, GARDASIL, the very first GARDASIL reaction report was filed with the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting system. The report described a 14 year old District of Columbia girl, who was injected with GARDASIL on July 11, 2006 and complained of severe pain at the injection site, lost consciousness, fell off the examining table, regained consciousness and experienced tingling, numbness, pain and twitching in her hands and feet, headache and blurry vision. She vomited in the parking lot, lost her speech and was sent to the Emergency Room, where she continued to exhibit difficulty speaking upon neurological examination. This first GARDASIL reaction report, which included collapse and loss of sensation in the hands and feet along with other neurological signs, was a prophetic warning. In the seven months following licensure of GARDASIL, many of the more than 600 vaccine reaction reports involve similar kinds of serious neurological symptoms among young girls and women.
The National Vaccine Information Center joins with the Parents and Citizens Committee to Stop Medical Experimentation in D.C. in calling for public hearings and citizen testimony about whether 11 year old girls living in the nation’s Capitol should be required by law to get three doses of HPV vaccine in order to attend sixth grade. This call for more citizen involvement in new vaccine laws is taking place in every state where HPV vaccine mandates are being aggressively pursued by drug company lobbyists and legislators trying to force young girls to use HPV vaccine without the voluntary, informed consent of parents.
Since 1982 the National Vaccine Information Center has defended the right of parents to have full information about the benefits and risks of vaccines and be allowed to exercise informed consent to vaccination. We oppose HPV vaccine mandates for three reasons.
First, there is a serious absence of scientific evidence that Merck’s GARDASIL is safe to give to young girls entering puberty, who are biologically different from older women. Vaccine mandates target 11 year old girls but Merck only studied the safety of GARDASIL in a few hundred eleven year old girls and followed them up for a few years. Already, there have been more than 600 reports made to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System documenting that young girls are collapsing and suffering seizures, loss of sensation in the hands and feet, vision and speech problems, Guillain Barre syndrome, facial paralysis, and other serious neurological symptoms. Merck also admits in its product insert that GARDASIL was not studied for the ability to affect female fertility, cause other kinds of cancer or be toxic to the genes.
Second, there is little or no scientific evidence that Merck’s GARDASIL will actually protect 11 year old girls from getting cervical cancer. The vaccine only contains two high risk HPV types out of 15 types associated with cervical cancer. Officials at the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control have expressed concern that the 13 other high risk HPV types could replace the two types in GARDASIL so that HPV associated cervical cancer may not, in fact, be eliminated with widespread use of the vaccine. Young girls may think they can skip routine pap smears because the vaccine protects them from getting cervical cancer when that may not be true at all.
Third, more than 90 percent of all girls and boys, who become infected with HPV, asymptomatically clear the infection from the body. It takes many years of chronic infection for undiagnosed pre-cancerous cervical lesions to progress to cervical cancer, usually because the women have not had routine cancer -detecting pap smears. Cervical cancer has dropped by more than 74 percent in the US since pap smears became part of routine health care for women and today less than one percent of all cancer deaths and newly diagnosed cancers are due to cervical cancer in America.
The more than $4 billion dollars it will take to vaccinate every 11 year old girl in Washington, D.C. and every other state could be better spent on research to find out why so many highly vaccinated children in Washington, D.C. and other public school systems around the nation are chronically ill and disabled, with 1 in 150 autistic, one in 6 learning delayed and millions more asthmatic and diabetic.
In conclusion, HPV vaccine mandates are unnecessary, expensive and potentially dangerous because so little is known about the long term health risks and effectiveness of Merck’s GARDASIL vaccine. Elementary schools should be centers for learning and not centers for forced use of potentially unsafe and ineffective vaccines. The District of Columbia should hold open public hearings and allow parents to present testimony about why they want to become fully informed about the benefits and risks of HPV vaccine and be allowed to make a voluntary vaccination decision for their daughters.