This information is not advertised, and the FDA has not recommended screening for HPV prior to vaccination. The FDA did not even demand that a warning be included in the package insert.
According to Examiner.com:
"Now, Merck's research is indicating that Gardasil may also 'provide cross-protection' against other strains of HPV that are closely related to HPV 16 and 18 ... This means prior exposure to these additional strains may pose an increased risk for cervical cancer also, if combined with vaccination."
"Would you consent to giving your child a vaccine that caused an increased risk of cancer?" the Examiner asks.
And that's a very good question; one that you need to ask yourself before consenting to give this vaccine to your daughter -- or your son, for that matter, as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) actually added the HPV vaccine, Gardasil, to the list of vaccines that parents can choose for their boys, as of October of last year.
Gardasil protects against four human papillomaviruses (HPV); two that can cause genital warts, and two that are associated with cervical cancer.
But even though the ACIP's intention for boys is that the vaccine can protect them from genital warts, it's a hard sell is because of its cost – as much as $400 to complete a 3-shot series. Also, since the ACIP made Gardasil an option for boys, rather than a recommendation, some insurance companies won't pay for it, leaving parents to shoulder the cost.
As a result, some experts believe it makes more sense to just concentrate on vaccinating girls.
Gardasil Can INCREASE Your Risk of Precancerous Lesions, or Worse
However, a growing number of health professionals, including the director of gynecology at a New York hospital, not only are backing off giving it to their female patients, but are choosing not to give it to their own daughters.
And based on information straight from the horse's mouth – Merck, the manufacturer of Gardasil – I can clearly say that these doctors are doing the responsible thing.
As the Examiner points out, information from Merck presented to the FDA prior to approval states that "if you have been exposed to HPV 16 or 18 prior to injection and take the vaccine, you increase your risk of precancerous lesions, or worse, by 44.6%"
The Examiner continues:
"Now, Merck's research is indicating that Gardasil may also 'provide cross-protection' against other strains of HPV that are closely related to HPV 16 and 18. (see this article on Medpage Today)
This means prior exposure to these additional strains may pose an increased risk for cervical cancer also, if combined with vaccination.
No one appears to be concerned with the increased risk of vaccination combined with prior exposure, as long as you take the vaccine. You will see no advertisements indicating the possibility of increased risk of the very cancer this vaccine is supposed to help you avoid."
This could indeed be a potential hazard that no one is talking about, let alone making parents fully aware of before vaccinating their daughters.
What Do Experts Know that You Don't?
The comments that New York physician Dr. Jacques Moritz made to ABC News in August last year were almost exactly the same thoughts that I've been sharing with you from the start, since this vaccine was introduced.
As director of gynecology at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, Dr. Moritz is in a position to know what he's talking about – and what he told ABC News is that this vaccine's safety data concerns him so much that he's neither offering it to his patients, nor giving it to his 11-year-old daughter.
Dr. Moritz's comments followed a disturbing article and editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which questioned whether the potential benefits of this vaccine outweighed the side effects.
He wasn't alone in his concerns: ABC News' chief medical officer, Dr. Timothy Johnson, also said that this vaccine deserved scrutiny, and he encouraged parents to read the Journal article and editorial themselves, before vaccinating their daughters.
Of course, the CDC and FDA were quick with rebuttals supporting the vaccine's safety. Curiously, they used the same safety data and adverse events the Journal quoted – from syncope (fainting) to Guillain-Barre syndrome to deaths – to "prove" their point.
And that just might leave you with more questions than answers, such as, is there something that these health professionals know that you don't?
There are a number of facts about this vaccine you need to know before you head to the pediatrician for the recommended shots. Because an INCREASED risk of cervical cancer is by no means the only risk you agree to if you consent to give this vaccine to your child.
To help you decide, here is a 10-point list of facts about HPV and the HPV vaccine:
1. The vaccines don't work if you have already been exposed to the HPVs against which they protect
That's why the CDC recommends that children get the vaccine before they become sexually active. The only thing is, according to the most recent national Youth Behavior Risk Survey, children are having sex at an earlier and earlier age, meaning that their chances of having acquired an HPV before they get the vaccine is becoming greater and greater.
As discussed above, not only will the vaccine not work, but you increase your chances, by nearly 45 percent, of getting the very cancer you're trying to avoid if you've already been exposed to certain types of HPV!
Another thing they're not telling you is that, although intercourse is the most common way to get HPV, it's not the ONLY way. The truth is, HPV is transmitted skin-to-skin, and can be transmitted from just "fooling around," or even, in rare instances, from mother to baby at birth, or you can infect yourself by touching something contaminated with the virus and then touching yourself!
But what health providers tell you is to give your child the vaccine anyway, because the possibility of his or her being positive for all four HPVs (or both, in the case of Cervarix, which protects against only two) is low, and at least they will be protected against the HPVs they haven't been exposed to.
But does that make sense?
Why would you risk giving your child a vaccine that has proven, dangerous safety issues (see No. 7 below), if you don't know whether it's going to work, or worse – increase your child's chances of cancer?
2. This is NOT a cancer vaccine, no matter what you see or hear to the contrary
This vaccine protects against two viruses that can lead to cell abnormalities that in some instances can cause cervical cancer, if the abnormalities are not treated.
Although studies are beginning to show that the vaccine can help prevent vaccine-relevant HPVs from developing in someone who has never been exposed to them, there is ABSOLUTELY NO PROOF that it prevents cancer of any sort. And that is something that a lead researcher Diane Harper, who helped create both these vaccines, has been warning from the start.
3. Just because your child gets the HPV vaccine doesn't necessarily mean he or she is protected from genital warts or cancer
There are more than 100 HPVs, 30 of which are known to cause cancer or genital warts. Since Gardasil and Cervarix only protect against two cancer-causing HPVs and two wart-causing HPVs, that means you can still get cervical cancer or genital warts from the other HPVs.
Also, according to Dr. Diane Harper, data show that Gardasil only protects against genital warts for a little over two years.
4. Getting the vaccine does not guarantee life-long immunity, or even 10 years of immunity
Nobody knows how long these vaccines work, according to Dr. Harper. And, as I mentioned in Point No. 3, Gardasil so far has shown to protect for warts only a little over two years. It shows efficacy for just one HPV – HPV 16 – for not quite eight years.
Dr. Harper also has stressed in numerous interviews that it can take 10 to 20 years for cervical cancer to develop – meaning that, if the vaccine wears off, young girls who get it today won't be protected at the time they need it most.
5. The reason boys are getting vaccinated is because the majority of girls aren't
Because the incidence of cervical cancer is so low in the US, studies show that for this vaccine to be cost-effective, a majority of 11- and 12-year-old girls have to be vaccinated.
But that hasn't happened. The fact is, only about 34 percent of US girls have completed all three shots – meaning that in order to make it cost-effective, boys have to be added into the picture, so they can theoretically confer "herd" protection to the girls.
Another startling fact is, the only real way for it to be cost-effective for girls is if they cut back on getting Pap smears – the clinical test credited for making cervical cancer so low in this country – from every year to no more than every three years.
Is it more than coincidence, then, that last year the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists announced that young girls and teens won't need annual Pap tests when they're older?
Why would they do this when it's been proven that the reason cervical cancer is so low in the US and other developed nations is because the rate of Pap testing is so high?
Obviously, the Pap test is a tool that's working: Many studies show that most cervical cancers in the developed world occur in women who have not had a Pap test in the past 5 years, or who have never had one at all.
So why would health officials want to "fix" something that's not broken – unless they're trying to steer you toward a vaccine that is mostly needed in Third World countries, but that they need you to help pay for? (See No. 10 below.)
6. Your insurance may not cover your son's HPV vaccination
It's common knowledge that insurance companies usually don't pay for a vaccine until the ACIP recommends it. Since Gardasil has only been approved as an option, some insurance companies will use that to opt-out of paying for it. That's why the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine is now pushing for ACIP to change its approval to a recommendation.
7. Reports of adverse reactions are already coming in to the national Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) for boys who have gotten the HPV vaccine
The reactions –fainting, seizures, muscle weakness and paralysis – are similar to what the girls are reporting. A check with the CDC's Vaccine Adverse Reporting System (VAERS) shows that allergic and anaphylactic-type reactions are also occurring in boys as well as girls.
And, as I reported in an earlier article, as of March 2010, there were already 17,600 reports of adverse reactions with this vaccine, and among them 59 deaths – 18 of which were in girls under age 17.
8. Some health professionals fear that it's possible that the HPV vaccine could end up causing cervical cancer rates to go UP, not down, in developed countries.
Dr. Harper herself has expressed this worry many times. In an interview with the Huffington Post, she said that if the vaccine doesn't last at least 15 years, the young people that are vaccinated will not be protected when they need it most.
Also, if some girls mistakenly believe the vaccine is all they need, and quit getting Pap smears, the cervical cancer rate will go up, if from nothing else, from the HPVs the vaccine doesn't cover, Dr. Harper said. This has already been shown in Finland, she said.
Another concern is that, like other vaccines such as the pneumococcal, the HPV vaccine may encourage viruses not covered by the vaccine to become more virulent, and therefore more apt to cause cervical cancer than if no vaccine were given at all.
9. If your child is harmed by this vaccine, the vaccine companies are not liable, even if by some miracle you can prove the vaccine caused the harm
The National Vaccine Information Center is an excellent resource for this topic. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) was created by Congress as a "no-fault" way to give parents an opportunity to recover monetary damages if they believe their child has been injured by a vaccine.
But the process is long and involved, and can take years to prove, as thousands of parents already know.
Besides, if your child gets cancer many years down the road, how likely do you think it would it be that their cancer would be linked to this vaccine?
10. The reason this vaccine is on the immunization list in the US probably has more to do with making sure it's available in countries with high rates of cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases, than it has to do with protecting your children from cancer or genital warts
In the US, cervical cancer affects about 11,000 women every year, and kills about 3,800. The rate is so low that it isn't even in the top 10 cancers that kill women in the US.
But as this 2008 Human Papillomavirus Background Paper published by the World Health Organization points out, it is the leading cause of cancer among women in Third World (developing) countries, and the second leading cancer in women worldwide.
About 80 percent of cervical cancer occurs in developing countries, and those countries are desperate to get this vaccine. The only thing is, they can't afford it, so they must rely on developed, "rich" nations to help them pay for the vaccines, and for vaccine companies to either drop the price to a fraction of its cost or donate them.
And how do they do that?
By rich countries purchasing enough vaccines, and donating enough money toward the effort to make it cost-effective to manufacture them for poor countries.
Facts You Need to Know about HPV Infection and Protection
If these points seem distressing, the good news is there are far safer, healthier ways to avoid HPV, which I'll review below.
But first, it's important to know a few simple facts about HPV so you know what you're actually dealing with, because "HPV infection" does NOT equal cervical cancer:
- In more than 70 percent of cases, HPV clears up on its own within a few weeks or months. In over 90 percent of cases, it's gone within two years, causing no symptoms or disease.
- Only about 26 percent of girls and women ages 14 to 59 have any strain at all of HPV; and
- Only 2 percent have strains 16 or 18 – the two that Gardasil and Cervarix protect against – meaning this vaccine is completely unnecessary because HPV infection very rarely leads to cancer.
- Women whose partners wore condoms during vaginal intercourse are 70 percent less likely to become infected with HPV. That's a FAR greater level of protection than you can get from this vaccine!
A Healthy Way to Avoid HPV
HPV is exacerbated by:
- Early sexual activity
- Having multiple sex partners
So, teaching your child about making healthy choices and practicing safe sex is a start toward avoiding HPV. As I just mentioned, the simple act of using condoms reduces your chances of acquiring any type of HPV infection by 70 percent.
Additionally, as with all diseases, a low immune system and poor nutrition can also make you more susceptible to infection such as HPV.
I've written many times on how to supercharge your immune system as an alternative to immunizations, but I can't stress it enough: Proper diet, exercise, good hygiene, staying well rested, and hand-washing are excellent ways to begin the road to a long, healthy life, no matter what your age.
I also advocate getting plenty of the most natural health-booster of all, something that's free from Mother Nature – sunshine. Or, when you can't be out in the sun, supplements of Vitamin D, and particularly Vitamin D3, can keep your immune levels up.
For even more ideas on how you and your entire family can get healthy, and stay healthy, my book, Take Control of Your Health, is jam-packed with step-by-step guides for optimizing your health and avoiding disease of all kinds.