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DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or expert, etc. I'm just sharing what I've found during my personal research into this particular vaccine. I strongly encourage every mom to read as much as she can before making the decision on this or any vaccinations.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably seen TV or magazine ads about Gardasil, the new HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine. It features bunches of young girls vowing to be "one less" for having received the vaccine. And sure, not contracting HPV would be wonderful. But let's take a look at why the vaccine may not be such a stellar idea...
First of all, HPV is cervical cancer. Gardasil protects against four types of HPV - however, there are many, many more that it does nothing to protect against. It is given as three injections spread over six months time, and is recommended for girls and women ages 9 to 26. Side effects as listed on the Gardasil website may include "pain, swelling, itching, bruising, and redness at the injection site, headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and fainting. Sometimes fainting is accompanied by falling with injury, as well as shaking or stiffening and other seizure-like activity." Having this vaccine is in NO WAY a replacement for regular gynecological screenings for cervical cancer.
So...protection from four types of HPV. How common are these four types, exactly?
A study published in the February 28th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that about 26% of women aged 14 to 59 in the U.S. have HPV. According to the study, HPV is most prevalent among women aged 20-24. About two percent have types 16 or 18, which are the types believed to cause about 70% of cervical cancer cases, and are two of the strains of HPV that Gardasil protects against. When HPV types 6 and 11 are included, it brings the number up to 3.4% of women infected with one of the four strains of HPV that Gardasil targets. Of course, this isn’t a total number of women who will ever be affected by one of these four strains, since the study included a wide age range of women and it is possible that some of the younger women will be exposed to more strains of HPV over their lifetimes. But the numbers still help to provide some perspective about the prevalence of these particular strains versus the prevalence of HPV overall.
Now, if you've been reading anything I've posted about the whole problem with vaccines, you'll recall that most "vaccine preventable illnesses" were on the decline *before* the vaccine was ever created. This applies here as well.
Even without the vaccine, the number of cervical cancer cases is trending downward and has been for years. (This is only true in the U.S.; worldwide it is one of the top cancer killers of women because women in many other countries have limited access to Pap tests and other health services.)
The Gardasil commercials refer to "thousands of women" being diagnosed with cervical cancer in the U.S. each year, which is true, but they don't put that number into context.
“Cervical cancer has gone from being one of the top killers of American women to not even being on the top 10 list. This year cervical cancer will represent just 1 percent of the 679,510 new cancer cases and 1 percent of the 273,560 anticipated cancer deaths among American women. By contrast, some 40,970 women will die of breast cancer and 72,130 will die of lung cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, "'Between 1955 and 1992, the number of cervical cancer deaths in the United States dropped by 74 percent.' Think about it: 74 percent.”
On top of that decline, the vaccine is being marketed to children, when HPV is absolutely more prevalent in sexually active adults. Gardasil will likely be added to the childhood vaccination schedule - and has already been the center of some drama when Texas attempted to make it mandatory. Why? Because having it as part of a childhood schedule means that LOTS more people will be receiving the vaccine than if it were only marketed toward adults. (When was the last time YOU went in for a booster?) More shots administered equals more money for the manufacturer. Speaking of which, Gardasil is one of the most expensive vaccines EVER. Sales have already exceeded $70 MILLION. See why Merck wants it added to the childhood schedule, whether they need it or not? It's all about the Benjamins, baby. By the time a 9-year-old becomes sexually active, the benefits of the vaccine could very well have been long since worn off...the FDA admits that "the duration of immunity following a complete schedule of immunization with Gardasil has not been established."
Okay, okay, all of that aside, here's the MAIN reason why my daughters will NOT be receiving this vaccine: there have been NO LONG-TERM STUDIES beyond 5-10 years on the effects of this vaccine, and testing on young girls has been extremely limited. Raise your hand who wants their daughters to be guinea pigs for the manufacturer? Yeah, not me. Beyond not knowing what the effects of the vaccine may be, it has NOT been tested to see if the vaccine *itself* has the ability to cause cancer. We do know that it contains aluminum, which has been linked to a variety of neurological disorders - including Alzheimer's.
We also don't know how Gardasil will affect future fertility. We DO know that several women who received this vaccine near the time of conception did have babies with birth defects. Best bet: stay away from this one if you're pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding.
Worst of all, there have been deaths linked to this vaccine - and more than just a couple. NaturalNews.com estimates that Gardasil "has a 400 percent higher rate of adverse effects than another comparable vaccine." FOUR HUNDRED PERCENT, people!
"Given all the questions about Gardasil, the best public health policy would be to re-evaluate its safety and to prohibit its distribution to minors. In the least, governments should rethink any efforts to mandate or promote this vaccine for children,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. The organization's work uncovered reports of about one death each month since last fall, bringing the total death toll from the drug to at least 18 and as many as 20. There also were 140 "serious" reports of complications including about three dozen classified as life-threatening, 10 spontaneous abortions and half a dozen cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. (WorldNetDaily, June 2008)
Bottom line? I am definitely "one less" - one less woman making an uninformed decision for my daughters.
Thanks Kristin. This is one of the vaccines that scares me the most. I read how some girls who have heart issues are having a hard time with it - and that's Kaeli! She still has a mitral valve leak. There's no way I want her to get this shot.
The doctor was scaring her by telling her if she didn't get the shot, she'd end up with HPV which would leave her infertile. I wanted to hit him.
GRRRR. I'd love to know what the doctor based THAT off of. Cervical cancer doesn't automatically equal infertility - and, it's one thing that a PAP smear always checks for. So long as you're seen annually, it's most often caught in plenty of time to be treatable. *sigh* Still not a happy thought, but...which one is more dangerous anyway?
mom to Rachael, 10 ~ Milly, 6 ~ foster mom (waiting on the next call)
WTH Talia?! K isn't even sexually active, nor a teen yet and he's telling her that?! Ugh!!! I would have slapped him!
Anyway. I was against that vaccine before I even knew the backstory to it...but now...I am even more set on NOT giving it to my girls! Cali and Avi will NEVER get this vaccine, or any vaccine! Unless I ask my gurus for advice...(You Kristin, and google)
From the article:
"1 The percentage of vaccine injury victims to suffer from fainting after receiving the Gardasil vaccine is as much as 13%, as reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS. In January, NewsInferno.com reported that “...there had been 9,749 adverse reactions and 21 reported deaths since 2006 in young girls following Gardasil vaccination with side effects that included 10 miscarriages, 78 severe outbreaks of genital warts, and six cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that can result in paralysis.”2 Recommendations for close monitoring following the administration of the Gardasil vaccine have now been made.3"