Monday, August 3, 2009

Actually, the Feds DIDN’T Say Gardasil Causes 400 Percent more Deaths

When you question a vaccine, whether as a parent, researcher, doctor or writer, you automatically get put in the “crazy” camp. And it doesn’t help when there are people out there misreporting facts and misattributing information.

I’m quite sure I don’t get everything right, but if I don’t, it’s not for want of fact-checking to the very best of my ability. So it made me nuts watching an error-ridden article mushroom across the web last week. The story was about how the feds have concluded that Gardasil causes 400 percent more deaths than the meningococcal vaccine Menactra, and it immediately rang alarm bells for anyone who tries to keep up properly with the unfolding Gardasil side-effects story.

Forensic tracking (not that hard; it was quoted as the entire source for the article) took me back to a New Zealand pro-life blog’s mistake. Back in March, familylifenz posted, “A new report, issued in February, by the centralized federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System in the United States, has compared the anti-HPV vaccine Garasil, with the Menactra (meningococcal) vaccine, and it has found that Gardasil is associated with a far high rate of serious adverse effects than Menactra is.”

One staffer for a natural health site somewhat belatedly picked up on this and apparently followed the provided link back to the report itself for the 400 percent statistic but didn’t notice that it was, in fact, issued by the National Vaccine Information Center, not VAERS. The NVIC isn’t a federal agency, it’s an organization founded by parents whose children have been damaged by vaccines.

The NVIC’s very useful report analyzed data about Menactra and Gardasil from the VAERS system and made some recommendations to the CDC, the FDA, and Congress. It did indeed note that Gardasil was associated with four times as many deaths (and with even greater increases in other adverse events) as Menactra. To say, however, that “a federal report” came to that conclusion, and that researchers for VAERS had commented on the unusually high death rate, is—well, flat-out wrong.

No beef with the NVIC. I thought the report was interesting and blogged about it back when they issued it.

“I am all about the Gardasil vs. Menactra stat as it lives in my house,” wrote one reader to me just yesterday. “I have three kids who all had doctor appointments last June 16, 2008. All three got Menactra; only Nora got Gardasil too, and she was the only one to end up in the ER 5 days later. And again 20 days after her second shot.” Her daughter has been on anti-seizure medication ever since; and she's far from the only girl who has suffered seizure problems after getting the vaccine.

There are obvious pitfalls to the report on the passive VAERS system, of course, as vaccine side-effects are both under-reported and over-reported, and any scientist will quickly point out that correlation doesn’t equal causality. And the CDC isn’t one whit alarmed by the numbers of Gardasil-related adverse events because—even at four or more times the rate of those related to Menactra—in the context of multiple millions of doses given, they’re statistically insignificant (unless you’re a victim or the parent of one, naturally) and it’s statistics that ring alarm bells.

I don’t much like Gardasil. To me it seems rather ineffective, likely to cause replacement disease and highly suspect as a trigger for a variety of auto-immune diseases in susceptible individuals; and Merck’s marketing tactics, what with fake medical journals and doctor-discrediting “hit lists,” are frankly shocking for even the most cynical among us. Unless something happens to change my mind, I’m not getting Gardasil for either of my own daughters.

But when I see an erroneous story being picked up and regurgitated without question on multiple sites and blogs, it is just infuriating. Pretty soon it will have gained the same “everyone knows” status as that canard about how the CDC “knows” that HPV doesn’t cause cervical cancer.

It’s quite possible, even probable, that there’s real harm being done with HPV vaccines. And yet there are careless people out there are making damaged girls and their parents look like credulous crazies. Please, check facts.


JoAnn said...

Thanks for writing this. I get alerts on Gardasil news and I knew it was unlikely that the CDC would have said anything like that. The statistics sounded familiar but I couldn't remember where I read them. Shame on Natural News for publishing something with such an error.

Anonymous said...

I agree-as a mom it is difficult enough to get the FDA to take our daughter's problems seriously without idiots spreading nonsense. Thanks for gettings things straight.

JodiSpeaks said...

My daughter, Victoria, has been ill since February 2008. She had her first Gardasil vaccination Nov. 2007. Her second vaccination was in Feb. 2008. Immediately after her second vaccination, Victoria experienced severe diarrhea, vomiting and was nauseous for about eight weeks. She had blood work done many times and the pediatrician thought she had a virus. On March 31, 2008, she had her first seizure. My daughter has treated with many neurologists, all of whom have not related her seizures to Gardasil. My daughter has had CT scans, MRI's, MRA's, EEG's, blood work and was hospitalized at an epilepsy center in the video EEG monitoring unit for two separate weeks in May 2008 and September 2008. She was put on many different seizure medications. After the normal EEG results, she was taken off all medications. Her SED rate has always been high and she does have protein in her urine, but doctors do not seem concerned. I was told that her red blood are small, but this apparently is not concerning either. She is also slightly anemic.

My daughter has been seen by several neurologists, a psychiatrist, psychologist, several neuropsychologists, an immunologist, several infectious disease doctors, and also treated a at Wellness Center for a period of time.

My daughter currently experiences the following symptoms: non-epileptic seizures, migraines, fainting, tremors, twitches, numbness, intermittent leg paralysis and facial paralysis, tingling, staring or blank episodes, eye pain, joint pain, neck pain, back pain, memory loss, confusion, brain fog, regression, mood swings and chronic fatigue. She continues to have bouts of nausea and diarrhea. She has not been in school since April 2008. My daughter can never be left home alone. She can't go to school, go out with her friends or work or has little "normalcy" in her life. She has very few good days and always says she doesn't feel good.

I do not know which way to turn for help. We have seen so many doctors and I can't seem to find anyone willing to help my daughter. There are so many other young girls who have the same exact symptoms as my daughter and the one thing that all of the girls seem to have in common is the Gardasil vaccination. Most recently, a neurologist informed me that he does believe that my daughter’s symptoms were brought on by the vaccine, just not in a way that he could test or prove. There are few doctors who are making the correlation between Gardasil and many of the girls' symptoms. However, the only doctors I know of right now are in California and Kansas. Other doctors are willing to "try" treatment, most of which is "homeopathic" in nature and extremely costly. Once again, I must reiterate that there are so many other young girls experiencing negative symptoms.

Each and every night, I check on my daughter many times in the middle of the night to make sure she is still breathing (like we ALL did when they were babies).

Each day, I cry and wonder if Victoria will be next one to die from adverse reactions to Gardasil.

We are in desperate need of medical treatment for my daughter. I have run out of ideas, doctors to treat with and finances have dwindled. I do not know which direction to turn. Any thoughts are most appreciated, especially from the medical community.

Please feel free to forward this information.

Thank you.

Jodi Speakman
(267) 939-0591

P.S. Victoria’s story recently appeared in Philadelpia Weekly Newspaper

Anonymous said...

If you examine the test data or talk with the actual researchers, you will find that Gardasil was NOT tested for safety in conjunction with Menactra. ... meaning your doctor and you are taking chances when you combine shots that were not tested in the clinical trials. Menactra already has a track record for causing GBS. Add Gardasil, which has some disturbing reports, and well, this is what happens. Personally, what's the rush? Most HPV infections are cleared up on their own. The whole purpose of this vaccine is to pay for the Advance Market Commitment that the U.S. made with the WHO several years ago about helping developing countries pay for needed vaccines.

Unknown said...

According to Gardasil's prescribing information, only HepB was tested to be safely administered with it. But you're right anonymous, GBS is widely associated with Menactra and according to VAERS, consumers and clinicians should question whether or not it is safe to administer Gardasil and Menactra at the same time.

There are many more questions than answers regarding HPV Vaccination.

lapetitelagniappe said...

I am the mother of a 15-year-old girl and a 13-year-old son.

Our doctor--whom we like immensely--is strangely persistent on this vaccine, even saying that if he had HIS way, our son would be required to get it too. We've repeatedly, politely declined the vaccine for years. On our last visit, the doctor played what he must have felt sure was his trump card: our child could get HPV as the result of a rape, and wouldn't it be a shame?

Fear-mongering tactics always, alwasy set my hackles on "high." I explained patiently that the odds of something being wrong with the rushed-through and oddly hyped vaccine were higher than
1) her being raped
2) her assailant having HPV
3) her actually contracting HPV
4) the HPV she MIGHT catch being one of the two which are linked to cervical cancer that Gardasil "protects" against.

I promised that she'd begin regular, yearly screenings by at least age 16 and would have them as long as I was alive to nag/cajole/insist/pay for them. The pap smear catches unusual cells in most cases. Most cases of unusual cells are resolved. Meaning her chances of dying of cervical cancer were low.

Those are odds I can live with, and so can she.

I have to wonder what is driving this push to mandate/insist/scare us into vaccinating our daughters. Like you, I dislike misinformation, no matter who is distributing it. I just wish we could get someone at the CDC or FDA to address the volumes of half-truths and scare tactics coming out of the Merck camp.

Thank you for your report.