The tragic story of Gardasil vaccine is one that is playing out real time in the homes of trusting parents, who thought they were doing the right thing to try to make their daughters "one less," and in the 21st century cyberspace forum of public opinion as well as on television. On Feb. 6, CBS-TV Evening News released NVIC's new report on Gardasil vaccine risks.
Today, NVIC launched a petition and issued a national press release calling on President Barack Obama, his Administration and Congress to investigate the fast track licensure and universal use recommendation of Gardasil in 2006 and the dismissal of more than 10,000 reports of Gardasil-related reactions, injuries and deaths to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) as a "coincidence" by federal health officials.
NVIC's latest Gardasil risk report comparing the number and severity of adverse events reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) through November 30, 2008, reveals that death and serious health problems such as stroke, blood clots, cardiac arrest, seizures, fainting, lupus and rechallenge cases are reported three to 30 times more frequently after Gardasil vaccination than after meningococcal (Menactra) vaccination. If the deaths and serious injuries being reported after Gardasil were only a "coincidence," there would be little or no difference between the frequency and severity of vaccine-related adverse events between two vaccines if the vaccines were equally reactive and the number of doses were roughly the same.
Gardasil and Menactra vaccines were licensed within a year of each other and recommended by the CDC for universal use in 11-12 year olds. Although Menactra is given to boys and girls and has already been mandated in many states for high school and college entry, Gardasil is only given to girls and is not yet mandated. Menatra is given as one-dose series and, by February 25, 2008, the CDC reported that about 15.5 million doses of Menactra had been distributed in the U.S. Gardasil is given in a three dose series and the CDC reported that, by July 2008, about 16 million doses had been distributed in the U.S.
This means that about 15 million doses of Menactra were given to about 15 million boys and/or girls and about 16 million doses of Gardasil - if every girl got three doses - were given to about five million girls. It is individuals - not doses of vaccine - who collapse, convulse, become paralyzed, have heart attacks, develop lupus and other chronic health problems after being vaccinated. The fact that death and serious health problems are reported 3 to 30 times more frequently after Gardasil than after Menactra is highly significant and it is irresponsible for federal health officials and Merck to blow it off as unimportant.
What is sad is that the average junior high or high school student could do this VAERS analysis and come to the same conclusion. It does not take an M.D., Ph.D. or math genius to figure it out. In the hours before the CBS News report was broadcast, the best answer that Merck could come up with to address the differences between adverse events associated with Gardasil and Menactra was this:
"It's important to remember that the proven benefit of GARDASIL is that it helps prevent cervical cancer caused by the two virus types responsible for most cases of cervical cancer. Nothing is more important to Merck than the safety of our products and we carefully monitor the safety of GARDASIL on a routine basis. Experts at the FDA and CDC also continue to review data and, as recently as four months ago, said "GARDASIL continues to be safe and effective, and its benefits continue to outweigh its risks." NVIC is not a medical organization and has a long history of raising concerns about vaccines that are in direct conflict with the opinion of leading medical experts. We encourage consumers to get reliable information about the safety of vaccines from www.cdc.gov."
No, it doesn't take a doctor, health official or "medical organization" to do the math. What it takes is caring about every life - whether that life represents a baby, toddler, child, teenager, young adult, adult or senior citizen - because every life is important and nobody deserves to be written off by a drug company or government agency as an expendable casualty of public health policy.
Gabrielle, the 15 year old gymnast, honor roll student and cheerleader from Wichita, Kansas, who talks about how her health has been destroyed by Gardasil vaccine in the CBS report and in the NVIC video press release, spends most of her time at home or at doctors' offices now. A few weeks ago, her school voted her Homecoming Princess. On Saturday, she tried to go to the Homecoming dance. As she was getting dressed, she collapsed with seizures and severe abdominal pain. The medication she has been taking to try to control the seizures she developed after Gardasil vaccination caused her to develop kidney stones. She was rushed to the emergency room and hospitalized.
In the past 27 years, the stories of death and brain damage that have been reported to the National Vaccine Information Center have never changed. Whether the vaccine victims are 15 months old or 15 years old, the stories are the same: a trusting parent took a bright, healthy child to a doctor for a routine vaccination and the child was never the same again.
Gardasil vaccine was inappropriately fast tracked and licensed by the FDA and recommended by the CDC with too little attention paid to the reports of brain and immune system dysfunction that developed after vaccination in pre-licensure clinical trials. That same cavalier attitude toward Gardasil-related deaths and serious health problems, which have been experienced by many girls and young women after licensure, is inexcusable.
Americans are losing trust in pharmaceutical companies making drugs and vaccines and in federal health agencies, whose responsibility is to ensure that drugs and vaccines licensed for public use are safe, effective and necessary. If those responsible for protecting our health are not going to step up to the plate and do their jobs, then it is up to the people to do it.
At www.NVIC.org you can sign the Investigate Gardasil Vaccine Risks Now! petition, read NVIC's new report on Gardasil risks, and check out our new website that makes it easier to navigate and find information to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths.
In 2009, I have a sense of déjà vu, as the story of Gardasil vaccine plays out real time. There are striking parallels between how those operating the mass vaccination system reacted in the 1980's to persistent reports that DPT vaccine was harming more children than originally assumed and the way they are reacting now to persistent reports that Gardasil is more reactive than it was originally assumed. Assumption of safety is no substitute for proof of safety. And turning away from human suffering in order to protect the status quo is not the way to run a government that needs the trust and support of the people.
In the 18th century, Queen Marie Antoinette looked down at a starving people pleading for bread to stay alive and said "Let them eat cake." It is time for everyone in government, industry and medicine to take a different approach to persistent reports of vaccine injuries and deaths or risk metaphorically suffering the same fate that ended the monarchy in France. In the 21st century, today's peasants don't have pitchforks - they have laptops, desktops, smartphones and the internet.
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