“Wow,” I thought. “This is huge!”
And it is. But…with an asterisk.
A friend sent me a stunning CBS News article about Gardasil, the HPV vaccine. The headline: “Gardasil Researcher Speaks Out.”
And here’s the asterisk: the article is dated 2009.
But that’s no problem at all. In three years, the key facts have not changed. On the contrary, I wish CBS would republish this article every month. The information here is THAT critical to any parent or grandparent, aunt or uncle, of any school-age girl.
The ultimate Gardasil insider explains it all for you…
Three strikes and out
The moment I saw the CBS headline, I knew the identity of the “Gardasil researcher.”
As I’ve mentioned before, Diane Harper, M.D., was one of the principal Merck investigators in the original Gardasil trials. She has often spoken candidly about Gardasil, but I’ve never seen her comments featured quite like this.
Dr. Harper makes three devastating points…
1) We don’t know how long it really lasts.
Data from the Gardasil trials shows that protection may last five years. Beyond that, potential protection is unknown. Dr. Harper notes that if 11-year-old girls are vaccinated (as the CDC recommends) and protection fades by age 16, then the vaccine is useless.
She states that the public health benefit adds up to absolutely “nothing” unless two conditions are met. One: protection lasts for 15 years. And two: more than 70% of all sexually active females of all ages are vaccinated.
Condition one is unknown (not to mention doubtful). And condition two would be nearly impossible to achieve. So the math here is simple. Benefits add up to zero.
2) The side effect issue needs greater attention.
In almost all Gardasil reports in the mainstream media, authors dismiss side effects as trivial, or never mention them at all. But Dr. Harper has a much different take on this. And it runs COMPLETELY contrary to the “don’t worry about a thing” message from public health officials.
According to Dr. Harper… “Gardasil has been associated with at least as many serious adverse events as there are deaths from cervical cancer developing each year.”
Again, devastating. And yet again, the math is simple. Risk-versus-benefit makes Gardasil a nonstarter.
3) Vaccinated women may develop a false sense of security.
From my own experience, I can tell you that regular Pap screening is essential. Without it, I might not be here. So along with Dr. Harper, I fear that young women might believe that a Gardasil vaccine is all the HPV protection they need. And that couldn’t be more wrong.
Dr. Harper… “Should women stop Pap screening after vaccination, the cervical cancer rate will actually increase per year.”
One. Two. Three. Absolutely devastating.
Dr. Harper is concerned that doctors are not warning parents and young women about adverse effects. But warnings are not likely to increase. Health officials put the most positive spin possible on all vaccines, Gardasil included. And most doctors fall in line with the two-part pitch of “necessary protection” and “rare side effects.”
So it’s left up to us. We have to do all we can to get the word out.
Please share this e-mail with the parents of any young women you know. They deserve the full picture of this vaccine. And they need to know that it’s still very much an unknown quantity.
You can learn more about Gardasil and cervical cancer prevention in a video I made, which you can find here.
“Gardasil Researcher Speaks Out” Sharyl Attkisson, CBS News, 9/29/09, cbsnews.com