Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gardasil Side Effects

Although the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently stated that Gardasil is safe, over 10,000 side effects have been reported since it was approved by the FDA in June 2006. These include non-serious (94%) and serious side effects (6%). The most common non-serious events included fainting, pain and swelling at the injection site (the arm), headache, nausea and fever. Serious events experienced included Guillain-Barré Syndrome, blood clots in the heart, lungs, and legs, and 27 reports of death.

Serious events are defined as causing hospitalization, death, permanent disability, or a life threatening illness. According to the CDC there is no discernable pattern linking any serious events to the Gardasil vaccine. Despite the results of these studies, there are individuals who positively believe Gardasil has seriously damaged their health – in some cases permanently.

One girl and her parents believe Gardasil drastically changed her life for the worse. Before getting the Gardasil vaccine, she was an active high school athlete for the varsity lacrosse team. Upon getting the vaccine, she started to have pain in her arm where she got the shot. The pain eventually traveled down her arm and her legs so that she now has to take morphine to deal with the chronic pain caused by this autoimmune myofasciitis. Both her parents happen to be medical doctors and are wishing they had not been so trusting of this new vaccine (which they believe is unnecessary because HPV is more often than not a virus that causes no symptoms or health problems). Her father commented that, "as the father of three girls, I've had to ask myself why I let my eldest one get an unproven vaccine against a few strains of a nonlethal virus that can be dealt with in many more effective ways. It's not like they are at high risk. It was the regrettable acceptance of the vaccine party line that [mis]led me."

Three other girls, ages 12, 13 and 14, all experienced some type of paralysis after getting the Gardasil vaccine. One is permanently paralyzed, while another took a year of therapy to start walking again.

Since Gardasil is a new drug, it makes it difficult to know what the long-term effects will be and whether these current side effects are in fact caused by this vaccine or not. It may take decades to know all the consequences of this treatment and its true effectiveness. In the meantime, 25% of girls between 13 and 17 have already gotten this shot, and many more are being recommended to get it.

What do you think? Is Gardasil a safe and effective way to treat cervical cancer? What side effects have you experienced since getting the vaccine? Please leave a comment with your experiences!