Clarification Re: Gardasil Bombshell

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Dr. Diane Harper made no value judgments: she laid out the scientific facts. Please note that some of the conclusions (value judgments) that were made in the Infomail re: Gardasil
should NOT be attributed to Dr. Diane Harper, whose presentation at the International Public Conference on Vaccination, was more nuanced than the Philadelphia Bulletin reported.
Dr. Harper presented the following facts:

1. "70 percent of all HPV infections resolve themselves without treatment within a year. Within two years, the number climbs to 90 percent. Of the remaining 10 percent of HPV infections, only half will develop into cervical cancer;"
2. "There have been no efficacy trials in girls under 15 years."
 "There also is not enough evidence gathered on side effects to know that safety is not an issue."
3. "To date, 15,037 girls have officially reported adverse side effects from Gardasil to the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). These adverse reactions include Guilliane Barre, lupus, seizures, paralysis, blood clots, brain inflammation and many others. The CDC acknowledges that there have been 44 reported deaths."
Dr. Harper did not draw conclusions about whether (or not) to vaccinate--except to say, "It is silly to mandate vaccination of 11 to 12 year old girls" given the lack of efficacy and safety data.

Her approach is to educate by laying out the facts, leaving individuals free to chose whether or not they want their daughters to be vaccinated with the HPV vaccine, Gardasil.
Dr. Harper did not explicitly raise serious doubts about the medical justification for use of the HPV vaccines in Western-industrialized countries. What she said was:
"the benefits and risks of both Pap screening and HPV vaccination needed to be reviewed and the value that each of the four components of the decision were personal and had to be made by each person deciding in what way she would participate in cervical cancer screening."

The reported British adverse event data were not cited by Dr. Harper, as these were cited in the British press after her talk:
In Britain, the government began administering the vaccine to school-aged girls last year, more than 2,000 patients reported some kind of adverse reaction including nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, convulsions, seizures and hyperventilation. Several reported multiple reactions, with 4,602 suspected side-effects recorded in total. The most tragic case involved a 14 year-old girl who dropped dead in the corridor of her school an hour after receiving the vaccination. 
Dr.  Harper did not make the statement:: "the incidence of cervical cancer in the U.S. is already so low that "even if we get the vaccine and continue PAP screening, we will not lower the rate of cervical cancer in the US." 

Seh quoted a published article by authors who are scientists at the National Cancer Institute:
See: Castle PE, Solomon D, Saslow D, Schiffman M.  Predicting the effect of successful human papillomavirus vaccination on existing cervical cancer prevention programs in the United States, Cancer. 2008 Nov 15;113 (10 Suppl):3031-5.

Finally, the statement that I characterized as the bottom line:
"The rate of serious adverse events is greater than the incidence rate of cervical cancer."

should read: "The REPORTED rate of serious adverse events is greater than the incidence rate of cervical cancer."

I hope these corrections clarify the distinction between what Dr. Harper stated and the conclusions that I and others may have drawn:

"I came away from the talk with the perception that the risk of adverse side effects is so much greater than the risk of cervical cancer, I couldn't help but question why we need the vaccine at all," said Joan Robinson, Assistant Editor at the Population Research Institute.