Medicine & Science

One less ‘YES’ for Gardasil

One less ‘YES’ for Gardasil

In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Gardasil, the first-ever vaccine for females 9 to 26 years old, designed to prevent just 4 of the over 100 strains of the human papillomavirus. Only two percent of undiagnosed HPV infections lead to cervical cancer, a rare form of cancer Over the past three years, Gardasil’s manufacturer, Merck, has done a good job of scaring parents into immunizing their daughters against sexually transmitted HPV; over 50 million doses have been distributed worldwide. And would you believe that the 23 million doses given so far in the United States include those given to all female immigrants seeking to become permanent, legal residents? (Yes, before you can get a green card, the feds want you to get “the jab.”)

Despite being fast-tracked through the FDA, Gardasil has not been proven safe in long-term studies. Even a former paid consultant to Merck now questions its safety, Dr. Diane Harper, who helped Gardasil get FDA approval, told CBS News, in an August 19, 2009, interview, “Gardasil has been associated with at least as many serious adverse events as there are deaths from cervical cancer developing each year.”

A cautionary tale by the numbers

The National Vaccine Information Center, a vaccine-safety nonprofit, compared Gardasil to the meningitis vaccine, since both are given to the same age group. Gardasil’s reported side effects were 30 times higher. And it prompted over 5,000 emergency room visits—three times more than the meningitis vaccine.
Both the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System to collect data about side effects. However, it’s estimated that less than 10 percent of adverse events are reported. In August 2009, FDA and CDC researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that Gardasil is “safe.” The article claimed no evidence existed that the adverse events, ranging from headaches, nausea, fainting and dizzy spells to blood clots, numbness, seizures, paralysis, GuillainBarre syndrome, Lou Gehrig’s disease-type symptoms and 32 deaths (their count), were caused by the vaccine. However, the Journal also included two articles by doctors who questioned whether the vaccine’s benefits actually outweigh the risks.

A June 16 analysis of VAERS data by Judicial Watch, a government watchdog organization, found 47 deaths. Then, in a June 22 press release, the group stated that in one year’s time, VAERS reports show 235 cases of permanent disability and 147 cases of “spontaneous abortion” because the vaccine had been given to pregnant women. And there could be more. Tegan Millspaw, program director for investigations at Judicial Watch, cautions that “doctors won’t file every adverse event report.” By the way, the FDA’s own final testing of Gardasil was not complete until September 30, 2009.

Journalist-turned-advocate questions estrogen risk

Cynthia Janak, a research journalist and columnist from Illinois, has been watching Gardasil since 2007. She told us that she has heard many heartwrenching stories about “Gardasil girls,” the nickname for those who have died or become disabled after getting the vaccine. Her experience prompted her to found the International Coalition of Advocates for the People. Gardasil is a cornerstone issue for ICAP, which is made up of concerned individuals from the United States, Canada and the European Union.

“I spoke to 10 to 12 of the moms of the 48 girls who died and found one very disturbing commonality,” shares Janak. “Many of these girls … had foamy mucus in their lungs, nose and throats; some had blood in the mucus. We believe these girls may have been pre-exposed to HPV as children, and because of this, the ‘challenge and re-challenge’ nature of the three-shot regimen set up a situation where the body’s immune system goes crazy and the lungs fill up with fluid. No one in a vaccine organization is talking about this.”

ICAP is concerned about the presence of Polysorbate 80 in Gardasil, too. reports this surfactant, “typically used in pharmacology to deliver certain drugs or chemical agents across the blood-brain barrier,” has been linked to infertility in mice by U.S. government researchers. “Polysorbate 80 in Gardasil may act as a form of birth control,” says Janak. “We do know that the periods of some girls vaccinated with Gardasil have stopped or are erratic, and may stop for three to six months, then return with massive blood flow and pain. A few cases tell of ovarian cysts forming; we don’t know why.“

ICAP researchers also looked into the affected girls’ overall health and activity level prior to vaccination. “The results of the inquiry and investigation that ensued are startling,” says Janak. “It’s been determined that the youth most likely to be affected are very active, athletic achievers or have a serious weight problem. A subset of the affected received the vaccination at the premenstrual time of their cycle.” What these three groups have in common is lower levels of estrogen (and higher levels of testosterone) in their bodies, a situation leaving the brain more susceptible to damage of the capillaries and the neurotoxin aluminum.

ICAP vice president Leslie Botha is a nationally recognized expert on women’s health. She wonders why clinical researchers, FDA and CDC staffers, and other frontline professionals who have approved and administered Gardasil have not considered how the injection of this chemical cocktail might affect a still-maturing female body during the premenstrual phase.

ICAP’s report was submitted to the Robert Koch Institute in Germany, a federal public health organization that also advises the EU. The newspaper Scotland on Sunday reported in May that the institute is reviewing its HPV vaccination program “after leading scientists said the jab was failing to live up to expectations.”

The social media backlash

When an HPV vaccination goes wrong, and no one will listen, where do you go to tell your story? The internet, of course. Social media sites have been a blessing for many vaccine-affected girls, their parents and friends because they’re easy, cost-effective ways to get their messages out to the world.

For example, Facebook has over 130 mostly anti-Gardasil groups, comprising thousands of members. YouTube has over 700 Gardasil-related videos; most communicate warnings. The photo site, Flickr, is filled with images of nasty skin markings caused by HPV vaccinations. And for those who micro-blog using Twitter, a search brings up a never-ending stream of mainly anti-Gardasil messages.

No other vaccine in the world has generated this much bad publicity on the internet by unpaid “regular” folks who don‘t want anyone else to go through their hellish experiences.

Incredible pressure and intimidation from the pharmaceutical industry, politicians and doctors has pushed the administering of HPV vaccines worldwide. However, prudence calls for an acknowledgement of the innocent lives destroyed in the past three years and a global brake to be put on future use without longterm safety studies. Governments, are you listening?

Just one of the Gardasil vaccine victims

My 16-year-old daughter was also injured by Gardasil. She had two of the three injections (January 9 and March 9, 2009). Before Gardasil, she was ahappy, healthy and vibrant teenager. Since Gardasil, she is sick every day ofher life. She has dizziness, overall weakness, numbness and tingling in bothlegs and left arm, back pain, neck pain, pressure headaches, vision problems,breathing problems, chest pains, racing heartbeats, brain fog, stomach problems, nausea,diarrhea, weight loss, hair loss, jerking all overspells… the list goes on and on. She was an A/B student but failed her 10th grade year because she was too sick to retain what she was trying to learn (brain fog). She no longer has the energy to go off with her friends. Most days she lies in bed, in pain. This just doesn’t happen to a healthy teenager! And it just doesn’t happen to THOUSANDS of other girls with no connection except they all had the Gardasil vaccine.It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.

Please educate before you vaccinate with the HPV vaccine Gardasil! Gardasil is hurting and killing our beautiful daughters all over the globe! My 16-year old daughter is one that has been hurt by getting vaccinated. And I did not know the dangers beforehand. Please get informed first! I wish I had! —Teresa Diane Allen

Your boys are next

Merck has been pushing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to expand theapproved use of Gardasil to include boys ages 9 to 26. According to Reuters,they got their wish. On October 16, Merck won U.S. approval to sell its vaccine to boys and young men. The CDC will soon vote on whether it will recommend routine vaccinations of boys. Merck is counting on thisto boost sagging sales. Health care banking analyst SeamusFernandez told the San Francisco Examiner on September 9that the new male market could increase sales by $200-$300 million dollars. For the second quarter of 2009, Merck posted total sales of $268 million for Gardasil, an 18-percentdecline from the same quarter in 2008. Merck also faces achallenger: GlaxoSmithKline’s HPV vaccine Cervarix. OnOctober 16, the FDA also voted to approve its version of the vaccine, so Merck will now face head-to-head competition in the United States

Follow the money: HPV vaccination support from state

Since September 2006, at least 41 states and Washington, D.C. have introduced legislation to “require, fund or educate the public about the HPV vaccine,” and at least 19 states have enacted this legislation, according to Judicial Watch. Thus far, only Virginia and D.C. have mandated the vaccine for this school year.

The Institute on Money in State Politics says Merck donated $2.64 million to state-level candidates and party committees between 2000 and 2006. It’s interesting to explore some of the economic and political activity in two states that are huge Gardasil cheerleaders: Texas received $158,143 and Virginia, $135,750.

In February 2007, Texas became the first state to mandate Gardasil vaccinations for girls entering sixth grade via executive order issued by Governor Rick Perry. (Up to that time, IMSP research revealed Perry had received $27,000 in Merck PAC monies.) An outraged Texas legislature passed a bill putting Perry‘s mandate “on ice” until 2011, when it might still go into effect. Virginia, the first state to have a Gardasil mandate go into effect, coincidentally has the strongest “investment” ties to the vaccine.

Merck announced in 2005 it would invest $30 million to get its Stonewall plant in Elkton, Virginia, ready to take on part of the Gardasil manufacturing process. Then Governor Mark Warner approved a $500,000 performancebased state grant and state-funded retraining for up to 40 employees. In December 2006, Merck announced a $57-million expansion, followed by a June 2007 announcement of a $193-million investment at Stonewall—all moves that solidified the firm as one of the state’s leading manufacturers. In March 2007, Virginia’s new governor, Tim Kaine, announced he wanted to mandate the vaccine. Soon afterwards, the General Assembly passed legislation saying that, beginning with the 2009-2010 school year, Virginia requires “three doses of HPV vaccine” for female students, the first shot to be given prior to entering the sixth grade. Fortunately, the mandate doesn’t have strong teeth. If parents/guardians decide it‘s not in the best interest of their daughters to be vaccinated, they can opt out without signing any documentation. The only thing “required” is a review of an HPV vaccine flier. Just prior to the state distributing this flier to all fifth-grade girls in the state, Virginia’s two bishops distributed a letter to Catholic school parents. It affirms Catholic thought that a vaccination decision “must reside with parents,” not the state, and that Virginia’s HPV legislation may have been enacted “prematurely,” since the “long-term safety and effectiveness of the vaccine are unknown.”


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About the author

Lisa Bastian

Lisa Bastian is a writer, editor and public relations consultant ( and resides in Texas with her husband and two college-aged children.