A writer on the blog site buzzle.com, a news and information clearinghouse website, recently posted an article urging parents to use caution when making a choice about the Gardasil vaccine. The mother of an 11-year-old girl, author Anastacia Mott Austin says young girls receiving the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine are like “guinea pigs,” because the vaccine has not been properly tested for long-range consequences on a large sample of girls in its target age group. The vaccine is currently recommended by the FDA for girls beginning as young as age 9, through about age 26, for the prevention of cervical cancer.
Austin says drug-maker Merck could not possibly be able to predict the long-term effects on the pre-pubescent girls that are its primary focus, because it was not tested on a large enough sample of children in that age group. The longest test trial, she says, was less than four years. This, despite the fact that the vaccine maker states the drug is only effective for a maximum of five years.
HPV, the virus linked to cervical cancer, is a sexually transmitted virus. This means that girls who receive the vaccine at age 11, or even younger, will most likely not even be sexually active during the vaccine’s peak effectiveness, based on Merck’s own information.
She writes, “This means my daughter will need at least four booster shots after the age of 11. What the drug makers do not mention is that this is the most expensive vaccine ever made, at $360 per three-shot series. They do not tell me about the vaccine’s known carcinogenic and estrogenic compounds that will be injected into the body of my pre-pubescent little girl, or the fact that the shot has not been tested to find out if it can potentially cause more cases of cancer than it is supposed to prevent.”
Additionally, Austin feels the drug maker is downplaying the risk of serious side effects. Statistics being reported to the Vaccine Adverse Effect Response System include children collapsing after receiving the shot, and reports of facial paralysis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and even death among girls who have received the shot.
While the drug maker argues there is not sufficient evidence to link these events to the Gardasil vaccine, Austin asks how many parents really want to take that chance with their child’s health.
She wonders, “Can I refuse this dangerous, experimental treatment if I do not want to have my child used in this way, so the pharmaceutical company (which will profit approximately 2 billion dollars a year on this vaccine) can find out exactly what it will do to little girls not even at puberty yet?”
Austin suggests a better solution: “Why not use the billions of dollars that will be going to Merck, and instead fund a campaign to make HPV screening and Pap smears (far cheaper and more effective tools for fighting cervical cancer) free and accessible to everyone?”
Since the time this article was published, the FDA also approved Gardasil for use in boys and young men, as well as girls. HPV screening would also be effective in preventing the spread of this virus among boys.