By Dr. Mercola
Emerging markets -- primarily in developing countries in Southeast and Central Asia, and Africa -- have been on vaccine makers' radar for quite some time.
One reason that vaccine makers are interested in exploring markets in these parts of the world is that that's where most of the world's deaths from major infectious diseases occur -- and world health leaders have long suggested that most, if not all, of these diseases could be prevented by vaccines.
The only problem has been that, until recently, making vaccines to sell to undeveloped countries with no money to pay for them was not exactly a profitable goal for vaccine makers.
The GAVI Alliance, a public-private partnership formerly known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, is set to change all of that with a new initiative to vaccinate millions of individuals worldwide with either GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix or Merck's Gardasil HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccines.
The campaign should generate a handsome profit for the vaccine makers, as well as the GAVI Alliance, but it will also be putting the health of millions at risk.
Why is GAVI Interested in the HPV Shot?
I'm all for aiding developing nations but it takes more than just pouring money into vaccines to truly help them. And it is particularly puzzling why GAVI chose to give "prioritized support" to HPV vaccines, noting:
"On 17 November 2011, the GAVI Alliance Board announced its decision to take first steps to introduce vaccines against cervical cancer for eligible countries, responding to projected demand from countries and recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO). The decision leads the way for women in developing countries to enjoy the same access to HPV vaccines as women in developed nations."
But for those who are still unaware, the HPV vaccine only protects against two strains of HPV associated with cancer (HPV-16 and HPV-18), but there are MORE THAN 100 different strains of HPV in all, and about 15 of them are known to potentially cause cancer IF the infection persists. In more than 90 percent of all cases, however, the infection resolves on its own and does not lead to any health complications.
Deadly blood clots, acute respiratory failure, cardiac arrest and "sudden death due to unknown causes" have all been reported to occur in girls and women shortly after they've received the Gardasil vaccine, however. These are huge, immediate health risks to potentially prevent the development of cervical cancer one day down the road. Because let's not forget that the HPV vaccine has not yet been PROVEN to actually prevent any kind of cancer.
The Gardasil vaccine has already been linked to 100 reports of death, (www.MedAlerts.org) as well as more than 22,000 reports of other serious side effects, many of which have been reported to The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), such as Guillain-Barre syndrome. There are 700 reported cases of permanent disability as a result of the vaccine.
It's clear to me that this is another case where the precautionary principle needs to be exercised, as currently no one knows whether or not the vaccine will have any measurable benefit with respect to lowering cervical cancer rates or if other HPV strains will emerge as the vaccine puts pressure on vaccine strains. The results will not be fully apparent until a few decades from now and, in the meantime, countless young girls and women are reporting they are suffering great harm to their health and some are even dying after getting Gardasil shots.
Drug company and medical trade association lobbyists are pressuring state legislators to pass laws to recommend or require HPV vaccination of all healthy 11-12 year old girls and yet we still do not know how Gardasil will affect their long-term health, even if they do not immediately experience symptoms of side effects.
Now, millions of women and girls in nine countries will become targets for GAVI's latest HPV vaccine campaign … why? Let's follow the money trail and see where it takes us …
Who Will Foot the Bill for This New Vaccine Campaign?
First, it should be noted that GAVI gets its financial backing from not only the vaccine industry and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Bill Gates even went so far as to label vaccine safety advocates "baby killers"), but also the World Bank, UNICEF and others. GAVI also receives funding through:
- Pledges to Advance Market Commitments (AMCs), a concept created to induce drug companies to develop vaccines for diseases that kill people mostly in Third World countries
- Long-term pledges to the International Finance Facility for Immunizations (IFFIm), which in turn gives grants to GAVI to purchase vaccines
- Direct contributions to GAVI
The U.S. has given direct contributions to GAVI totaling $569 million. And, according to GAVI, President Obama promised GAVI another $90 million in 2011, up from $78 million in 2010.
The IFFIm is another important source of funding for the latest HPV vaccine campaign. As Natural Society reported:
"Created to accelerate funding for vaccination campaigns, the IFFIm generates funds through the issuing of bonds in the capital markets, using long-term government pledges as a guarantee to pay back interest. Since it launched in 2006, the IIFIm has raised more than $3 billion by tapping into capital markets. This has doubled the funds available for GAVI's immunization programs.
… In a 2007 article on the World Bank's website, it was revealed that the International Finance Facility for Immunisation hoped to raise $4 billion over the next 10 years to fund the vaccination of 500 million children. Among the first buyers were the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and three other British religious leaders at the IFFIm's launch event in London.
Other investors included North American investors (35%), UK investors (12%), Swiss investors (8%), and investors in the rest of Europe (21%). The remainder was placed with investors in the Middle East and Asia, according to the IFFIm. Interestingly enough, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank lead-managed the inaugural bond issue."
Natural Society also reported that GAVI's Tax Form 990 for 2009 shows the Alliance has net assets of $2.5 billion!
GAVI then released information noting that in June 2011, one vaccine manufacturer announced it would provide the HPV vaccine to GAVI at just $5 a dose, a seemingly altruistic move that makes it appear as though GAVI is providing vaccines to third-world countries at no profit of their own. In reality, both vaccine makers and GAVI will be cashing in on the HPV vaccine initiative, because GAVI has a co-financing policy that requires recipient countries to help pay for the vaccines!
"Thanks to a GAVI co-financing policy, recipient countries are required to contribute toward the cost of the vaccines. This guarantees that not only Merck, but Gavi as well, will receive considerable amounts of cash from the 9 unknown countries in which the HPV shots are being administered. Furthermore, the UN World Bank is actually issuing bonds to fund the HPV shot campaign," Natural Society reported.
" … Not only is the IFFIm generating billions in cash from governments, but Merck or GlaxoSmithKline may soon be getting a chunk of it for the HPV shot campaign."
88 Percent of Cervical Cancer Deaths Occur in Developing Countries … So Why is HPV Vaccine Pushed in the United States?
GAVI is touting the fact that 88 percent of cervical cancer deaths occur in developing countries as support for their HPV vaccine drive. But this begs the question, why were the HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix introduced in the United States and Europe, first, instead of going straight to where they're needed most -- if not to help sell huge quantities of the vaccine at premium prices, in anticipation of it becoming an Advance Market Commitment (AMC)?
Under AMC's, developed countries make legal, binding agreements to purchase vaccines that are needed in low-income countries.
The purchase guarantees a bottom line for the manufacturers. In return, the manufacturers promise to sell those vaccines at reduced prices in the countries where they are most needed.
American children, and those in other developed nations, are basically being used as cash-cow guinea pigs, so that drug companies can smile all the way to the bank while they sell these vaccines later, at reduced prices, to countries that get the money to pay for them from the same countries – like the U.S. - whose children are being pushed in line to get them first. Further, now millions of people in developing nations will be subjected to the same health risks that the Gardasil vaccine is already associated with, including:
|Bell's Palsy and Guillan-Barre syndrome
||Cervical dysplasia, and cervical cancer
|Blood clotting and heart problems, including cardiac arrest
||Miscarriages and fetal abnormalities amongst pregnant women who received the vaccine
Does the HPV Vaccine Prevent Cancer?
This is another legitimate question, because if it turns out that HPV vaccine does NOT prevent cancer, then young women and, now, boys [on October 25, 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend giving the HPV vaccine to males between the ages of 11 and 21], are being exposed to clearly unacceptable health risks by recommendations to get the HPV vaccine.
As noted by investigative journalist Jeanne Lenzer in Discover Magazine:
"Unfortunately, while the two HPV vaccines on the market may decrease the serious illness and death from cervical cancer, no study has proved that at this point, since no study has been conducted long enough to observe the development of cervical cancer or cervical cancer deaths.
Conclusive studies with the most important, clinically relevant end points should precede wide uptake of any intervention. The data currently rely on surrogate end points (markers of possible cancer) and are simply not conclusive. So we can't truly say how effective the vaccine is.
Wake Forest medical researcher Curt Furberg, a former FDA advisor and co-author of the textbook Fundamentals of Clinical Trials, told me, "Getting data from markers is a first step. But we have burned our fingers too many times with surrogate markers. You should try to determine the real health benefit. Everything will be up in the air until we have the answer to the question: Will it prevent cancer? And until we have that answer, we should limit its use to girls enrolled in studies of the vaccine.""
According to Merck's package insert on Gardasil, the end-point in its clinical trials for the vaccine's efficacy, or effectiveness, was NOT cancer, but instead was the presence, or non-presence, of vaccine-relevant pre-cancerous lesions (CIN 2/3).
So right now there is absolutely no proof, and no clinical trials, that show Gardasil protects against cancer in the long-term. Lenzer noted several other reasons to question the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine as well, including:
- The vaccine loses its effectiveness over time, with one HPV researcher noting, "One third of women lose antibody titers and, hence, protection from HPV by 5 years."
- The vaccine doesn't work if you've already been infected with the HPV strains in the vaccine, which is one reason why the vaccine targets 9- to 11-year-olds, who presumably are not sexually active and, therefore, would theoretically not already be infected with HPV. However, there is no data to show for certain what the HPV infection rate is among 9- to 11-year-olds, although some studies suggest even girls, who are not sexually active, could have been exposed to HPV, thereby rendering the vaccine useless.
- Universal use of HPV vaccines could have a negative impact on women's pap screening rates. If women receive HPV vaccinations and assume they can't get HPV infections, it could prompt them to forgo regular pap smears. Routine pap smear testing can identify chronic HPV infection and may provide greater protection against development of cervical cancer than reliance on HPV vaccinations. Cervical cancer cases have dropped more than 70 percent in the U.S. since pap screenings became a routine part of women's health care in the 1960's.
In fact, even GAVI states in a fact sheet that "cervical cancer is preventable even among unvaccinated women if pre-cancerous lesions are detected and treated early" -- and this detection is what pap smears are for!
Talk to Your Kids about HPV and Gardasil
There are far better ways to protect yourself and your young daughters against cervical cancer than Gardasil, and it's important you let your children know this. Remember, in 90 percent of all cases, your immune system can clear up the HPV infection on its own, so keeping your immune system strong is important.
Furthermore, the infection is spread through sexual contact, so it is behaviorally avoidable. In fact, using condoms can reduce the risk of HPV by 70 percent, which is more than Gardasil has been proven to do. Be sure your kids know that this infection is sexually transmitted, so it is preventable through lifestyle choices, including the use of condoms. Also let them know that even if they get vaccinated, it does not provide 100% protection against contracting HPV infections through sexual contact, although most people do not develop chronic HPV infections.
What You Can Do To Make a Difference
Mass vaccination initiatives are not only targeting third-world countries; they're also occurring in the United States and in other developed nations. While it seems "old-fashioned," the only truly effective actions you can take to protect the right to informed consent to vaccination and legal vaccine exemptions, is to get personally involved with your state legislators and the leaders in your community.
THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.
Mass vaccination policies are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level, and it is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact.
Signing up for NVIC's free Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org not only gives you access to practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community, but when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips to make sure your voice is heard.
So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.
Contact Your Elected Officials
Write or email your elected state representatives and share your concerns. Call them, or better yet, make an appointment to visit them in person in their office. Don't let them forget you!
It is so important for you to reach out and make sure your concerns get on the radar screen of the leaders and opinion makers in your community, especially the politicians you elect and are directly involved in making vaccine laws in your state. These are your elected representatives, so you have a right and a responsibility to let them know what's really happening in your life and the lives of people you know when it comes to vaccine mandates. Be sure to share the "real life" experiences that you or people you know have had with vaccination.
Share Your Story with the Media and People You Know
If you or a family member has suffered a serious vaccine reaction, injury or death, please talk about it. If we don't share information and experiences with each other, everybody feels alone and afraid to speak up. Write a letter to the editor if you have a different perspective on a vaccine story that appears in your local newspaper. Make a call in to a radio talk show that is only presenting one side of the vaccine story.
I must be frank with you; you have to be brave because you might be strongly criticized for daring to talk about the "other side" of the vaccine story. Be prepared for it and have the courage to not back down. Only by sharing our perspective and what we know to be true about vaccination will the public conversation about vaccination open up so people are not afraid to talk about it.
We cannot allow the drug companies and medical trade associations funded by drug companies to dominate the conversation about vaccination. The vaccine injured cannot be swept under the carpet and treated like nothing more than "statistically acceptable collateral damage" of national one-size-fits-all mass vaccination policies that put way too many people at risk for injury and death. We shouldn't be treating people like guinea pigs instead of human beings.
Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More
I encourage you to visit the following web pages on the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) website at www.NVIC.org:
- NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
- If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
- Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment by doctors or government officials for making independent vaccine choices.
Connect with Your Doctor or Find a New One that Will Listen and Care
If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don't want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to stop the change in attitude of many parents about vaccinations after they become truly educated about health and vaccination.
However, there is hope.
At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they're starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.
So take the time to locate a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.