by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
According to newly obtained documents from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there have now been as many as 20 deaths of young girls who received the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine known as GARDASIL.
Judicial Watch, a public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, released a report based on FDA documents which were obtained under provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. These reports list adverse reactions, including 10 deaths since September, 2007, raising the total number of deaths to between 18 and 20 girls.
“The FDA also produced 140 ‘serious’ reports (27 of which were categorized as ‘life threatening’), 10 spontaneous abortions and six cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome – all since January 2008,” the report states.
Some of the adverse reactions found in the FDA files include that of a 20 year old female with no existing medical conditions who was vaccinated with GARDASIL on April 1, 2008, and died four days later. An autopsy ruled out suicide and anything suspicious but the actual cause of death has not yet been determined.
Another patient whose exact date of vaccination was not listed in the report went into a coma after receiving Gardasil and is now paralyzed.
A 23 year old who was vaccinated on Jan.31, 2008 went into anaphylactic shock two minutes after receiving the injection. This type of shock, which is considered to be life threatening, is characterized by a brief loss of consciousness and respiratory arrest.
A 14 year old patient suffered a Grand Mal seizure immediately after being vaccinated. The FDA report states that she took six steps, fell to the ground and had a 60 second seizure in which she lost consciousness and was foaming at the mouth.
“Given all the questions about Gardasil, the best public health policy would be to reevaluate 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,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
GARDASIL, which has been found to be nearly 100 percent effective in protecting women against two strains of the HPV virus that cause 70 percent of all cervical cancers, was originally tested on more than 11,000 women, but only 1,120 were under the age of 15.
In addition to the problem of such a small sample size for younger girls, the vaccine’s interactions with other vaccines is also largely untested. For instance, the testing done on girls for the vaccine’s approval only involved girls who received the shot alone or with the Hepatitis B vaccine, which is only one of 18 vaccines commonly given to girls at that age.
Diane M. Harper, M.D., a lead researcher and clinical trial director for the vaccine which is manufactured by Merck & Co., has publicly stated that “the HPV vaccine is not for younger girls.”
Dr. Harper, who is not an employee of Merck, but currently serves as director of the Gynecologic Cancer Prevention Research Group at Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire, told the KPC Media group last year that giving the vaccine to girls as young as nine is a “great big public health experiment.”
“It has not been tested for effectiveness in younger girls and administering the vaccine to girls as young as nine may not even protect them at all,” said Harper.
Her warnings have gone largely unheeded but may already be proving true. Of the hundreds of individual reports made to VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) about GARDASIL, almost a third of all reports concern children age 16 or under. Nearly 25 percent of those children received GARDASIL along with one or more of the 18 vaccines that Merck did not study in combination with the new vaccine.
Unfortunately, the rush to mandate inoculation in grade school girls, led mostly by Merck & Company who stands to make $2 to $4 billion a year if successful, is occurring all over the country. More than 30 states have already initiated legislation that will mandate the vaccine in girls as young as nine years old.
The only thing that may stop this rush is the increasingly angry backlash from parents who believe that mandating a vaccine for a virus that can only be spread through sexual contact is treading into territory that belongs to parents.
“Because parents have an inherent right to be the primary educator and decision maker regarding their children’s health, we would oppose any measures to legally require vaccination or to coerce parents into authorizing it,” said Moira Gaul, policy analyst for the Family Research Council.
“Because the cancer-causing strains of HPV are not transmitted through casual contact, there is no justification for any vaccination mandate as a condition of public school attendance. However, we do support the widespread distribution and use of vaccines against HPV.”
The bottom line is that there is an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S., Gaul said. “According to the CDC, there are 19 million new sexually transmitted infections reported each year and over half are in adolescents and young people between the ages of 16 and 24 years. It’s an absolute epidemic that needs to be stemmed. These young people need to be taught about the option of abstinence.”
The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) agrees. In a written statement, the Center said it considers the HPV vaccination to be a morally acceptable method of protecting against the disease, but believes civil authorities should leave the decision to parents and not make such immunization mandatory.
“(T)he most effective way to avoid contracting it is to abstain from sexual relations before marriage and to remain faithful within marriage,” the statement said. They also note that “the prevalence of HPV in the reproductive age population makes exposure to the virus possible, even in a monogamous marriage, due to the possibility of a spouse’s exposure prior to marriage.”
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