Merck Researcher Admits: Gardasil Guards Against Almost Nothing
On the morning of 2 October 2009, one of us (Joan) joined an audience of mostly health professionals and listened as Dr. Diane Harper, the leading international developer of the HPV vaccines, gave a sales pitch for Gardasil. Gardasil, as you may know, is the new vaccine that is supposed to confer protection against four strains of the sexually transmitted Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
Dr. Harper came to the 4th International Public Conference on Vaccination to prove to us the real benefits of Gardasil. Sadly, her own presentation left me (Joan) and others filled with doubts. By her own admission, Gardasil has the doctors surrounding me glaring at a poor promise of efficacy as a vaccine married to a high risk of life-threatening side effects.
Gardasil, Dr. Harper explained, is promoted by Merck, the pharmaceutical manufacturer, as a “safe and effective” prevention measure against cervical cancer. The theory behind the vaccine is that, as HPV may cause cervical cancer, conferring a greater immunity of some strains of HPV might reduce the incidence of this form of cancer. In pursuit of this goal, tens of millions of American girls have been vaccinated to date.
As I sat scribbling down Merck’s claims, I wondered why such mass vaccination campaigns were necessary. After all, as Dr. Harper explained, 70% of HPV infections resolve themselves without treatment in one year. After two years, this rate climbs to 90%. Of the remaining 10% of HPV infections, only half coincide with the development of cervical cancer.
Dr. Harper further undercut the case for mass vaccination campaigns in the U.S. when she pointed out that “4 out of 5 women with cervical cancer are in developing countries.” (Harper serves as a consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO) for HPV vaccination in the developing world.) Indeed, she surprised her audience by stating that the incidence of cervical cancer in the U.S. is so low that “if we get the vaccine and continue PAP screening, we will not lower the rate of cervical cancer in the US.”
If this is the case, I thought, then why vaccinate at all? From the murmurs of the doctors in the audience, it was apparent that the same thought had occurred to them.
In the U.S. the cervical cancer rate is 8 per 100,000 women.1 Moreover, it is one of the most treatable forms of cancer. The current death rate from cervical cancer is between 1.6 to 3.7 deaths per 100,000 women.2 The American Cancer Society (ACS) notes that “between 1955 and 1992, the cervical cancer death rate declined by 74%” and adds that “the death rate from cervical cancer continues to decline by nearly 4% each year.”3
At this point, I began to wriggle around in my seat, uncomfortably wondering, is the vaccine really effective? Using data from trials funded by Merck, Dr. Harper cheerfully continued to demolish the case for the vaccine that she was ostensibly there to promote. She informed us that “with the use of Gardasil, there will be no decrease in cervical cancer until at least 70% of the population is vaccinated, and in that case, the decrease will be very minimal. The highest amount of minimal decrease will appear in 60 years.”
It is hard to imagine a less compelling case for Gardasil. First of all, it is highly unlikely that 70% or more of the female population will continue to get routine Gardasil shots and boosters, along with annual PAP smears. And even if it did, according to Dr. Harper, “after 60 years, the vaccination will [only] have prevented 70% of incidences” of cervical cancer.
But rates of death from cervical cancer are already declining. Let’s do the math. If the 4% annual decline in cervical cancer death continues, in 60 years there will have been a 91.4% decline in cervical cancer death just from current cancer monitoring and treatment. Comparing this rate of decline to Gardasil’s projected “very minimal” reduction in the rate of cervical cancer of only 70 % of incidences in 60 years, it is hard to resist the conclusion that Gardasil does almost nothing for the health of American women.
Despite these dismal projections, Gardasil continues to be widely and aggressively promoted among pre-teen girls. The CDC reports that, by 1 June 2009, over 26 million doses of Gardasil have been distributed in the U.S.4 With hopes of soon tapping the adolescent male demographic, Merck, the pharmaceutical manufacturer of the vaccine, and certain Merck-funded U.S. medical organizations are targeting girls between the ages of 9 and 13.5 As CBS news reports, “Gardasil, launched in 2006 for girls and young women, quickly became one of Merck's top-selling vaccines, thanks to aggressive marketing and attempts to get states to require girls to get the vaccine as a requirement for school attendance.”6
Just as I began, in my own mind, to question ethics of mass vaccinations of prepubescent girls, Dr. Harper dropped another bombshell. “There have been no efficacy trials in girls under 15 years,” she told us.
Merck did study a small group of girls under 16 who had been vaccinated, but did not follow them long enough to conclude sufficient presence of effective HPV antibodies.
If I wasn’t skeptical enough already, I really started scratching my head when Dr. Harper explained, “if you vaccinate a child, she won’t keep immunity in puberty and you do nothing to prevent cervical cancer.” But it turned out that she wasn’t arguing for postponing Gardasil vaccination until later puberty, as I first thought. Rather, Dr. Harper only emphasized to the doctors in the audience the need for Gardasil booster shots, because it is still unknown how long the vaccine immunity lasts. More booster shots mean more money for Merck, obviously.
I left Dr. Harper’s lecture convinced that Gardasil did little to stop cervical cancer, and determined to answer another question that she had largely ducked: Is this vaccine safe?
Here’s what my research turned up. To date, 15,037 girls have officially reported adverse side effects from Gardasil to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). These adverse effects include Guilliane Barre, lupus, seizures, paralysis, blood clots, brain inflammation and many others. The CDC acknowledges that there have been 44 reported deaths.7
Dr. Harper, who seems to specialize in dropping bombshells, dropped another in an interview with ABC News when she admitted that “The rate of serious adverse events is greater than the incidence rate of cervical cancer.”8 This being the case, one might want to take one’s chances with cancer, especially because the side effects of the vaccine are immediate, while the possibility of developing cancer is years in the future.
In the clinical studies alone, 23 girls died after receiving either Gardasil or the Aluminum control injection. 15 of the 13,686 girls who received Gardasil died, while 8 died among the 11,004 who received the Aluminum shot. There was only one death among the group that had a saline placebo. What this means is that 1 out of every 912 who received Gardasil in the study died.9, see p. 8 The cervical cancer death rate is 1 out of every 40,000 women per year.10
The numbers of deaths and adverse effects are undoubtedly underestimates. Dr. Harper’s comments to ABC News concur with the National Vaccine Information Center’s claim that “though nearly 70 percent of all Gardasil reaction reports were filed by Merck, a whopping 89 percent of the reports Merck did file were so incomplete there was not enough information for health officials to do a proper follow-up and review.”11 On average, less than 10 percent—perhaps even less than 1 percent—of serious vaccine adverse events are ever reported, according to the American Journal of Public Health.12
Given the severity and frequency of Gardasil adverse reactions, I definitely wasn’t the only one in Dr. Harper’s audience who winced when she dismissed most Gardasil side effects as “easily just needle phobia.”
Due to the young age of the trial participants and the short duration of the studies, the effects of Gardasil on female fecundity have not been studied. I did discover, in my post-conference reading, that Polysorbate 80, an ingredient in the vaccine,13, see p. 12 has been observed in a European clinical study to cause infertility in rats.14 Is this an additional concern? Time will tell.
I do not wish to give the impression that Dr. Harper presented, even inadvertently, a consistently negative view of her own vaccine. She did tout certain “real benefits,” chief among them that “the vaccine will reduce the number of follow-up tests after abnormal PAP smears,” and thereby reduce the “relationship tension,” “stress and anxiety” of abnormal or false HPV positive results.
To me, however, this seems a rather slim promise, especially when weighed against the deaths and side effects caused by the Gardasil campaign. Should millions of girls in the United States, many as young as 9, be put at risk, so that sexually active adults can have less “relationship tension” about false positive HPV results? Is the current rate of death, sterility and serious immune dysfunction from Gardasil worth the potential that in 60 years a minimal amount of a cervical disease (that is already decreasing on its own) may perhaps be reduced?
But what I really wanted to know is why Merck is so eagerly marketing such a dangerous and ineffective vaccine? Aren’t there other ways they could make a profit? While Merck’s behavior is probably adequately explained by the profit motive, what about those in the Health and Human Services bureaucracy who apparently see Gardasil as medicine’s gift to women? What motivates them?
I (Steve) think that they see Gardasil as what one might call a “wedge” drug. For them, the success of this public vaccination campaign has less to do with stopping cervical cancer, than it does with opening the door to other vaccination campaigns for other sexually transmitted diseases, and perhaps even including pregnancy itself. For if they can overcome the objections of parents and religious organizations to vaccinating pre-pubescent—and not sexually active--girls against one form of STD, then it will make it easier for them to embark on similar programs in the future.
After all, the proponents of sexual liberation are determined not to let mere disease—or even death—stand in the way of their pleasures. They believe that there must be technological solutions to the diseases that have arisen from their relentless promotion of promiscuity. After all, the alternative is too horrible to contemplate: They might have to learn to control their appetites. And they might have to teach abstinence.
For more articles, click the first link in each drop-down menu, e.g. 2010 (v12).
- Weekly Briefing: Español
- La próxima batalla legislativa: el Proyecto de Ley sobre la toma de conciencia sobre el dolor
- ¿La legalización reduciría el aborto en América Latina?
- Las interrogantes de la demografía actual
- Informe de los Medios de Comunicación: Depo Provera es peligrosa para su salud.
- Canadá: una sorpresa ingrata
- Enfermeras dan el ejemplo: renuncian para no distribuir la Píldora del Día Siguiente a
- Ampliación de la Noticia: La desaparición del matrimonio
- Recordando a Reagan
- Population Research Institute expande su actividad; incorporándose en la fundación de
- Frenando la Expansión del HIV/SIDA mediante la Abstinencia (y la Doctrina Católica)
- Los Programas de Planificación Familiar de USAID merman los esfuerzos para frenar la promiscu
- Weekly Briefing: 2013 (v15)
- Controlling Women’s Desires in Kenya
- Why Do Filipino Women Die in Childbirth?
- Franchising Abortion and Sterilization
- Open response to: “Overpopulation: Should America have a one-child policy?
- What Does China Want?
- One Small Snip for Man, One Giant Snip for Mankind
- The End of America—as America
- Refugees Subject to Population Control
- Debunking the Myth of Overpopulation
- Contraception as a "Solution" to Abortion: No way!
- Cutting Foreign Aid to Save Lives
- A Crime in Time—and Again
- Catholic Relief Services Leaves Many Questions Unanswered
- Fundamental Reform Needed at Catholic Relief Services
- Madagascar Bishops and Clergy Complain about Catholic Relief Services' Activities
- Weekly Briefing: 2012 (v14)
- Will Russia Come Back to Life?
- China's one-child policy itself leads to forced abortions
- Why is Government (and Society) Discouraging Childbearing?
- UNICEF Should Rename Itself the United Nations Sex for Children Fund, or UNISEX
- America’s Pediatricians Claim the Right to Contracept Your Kids
- The Mirena IUD is Becoming More Popular - and the Lawsuits are Piling Up
- America's Depressed Birthrate
- Question: What Can we Expect From a Second Obama Administration on the Life Issues?
- Attending the Abortionists’ Annual Pep Rally
- Norplant is Back--Under a Different Name
- Sorry, Mr. Vice President, That Is Not a "Fact"
- Teenage Girl Becomes Infertile after Gardasil Vaccination
- The Contradiction of WHO
- Is Abortion Ever “Necessary?” The Evidence Says “No!”
- Of Mice and Men: New Study Touts a Male Contraceptive
- Weekly Briefing: 2011 (v13)
- Merry Christmas from PRI
- T-Shirts Are Available NOW!
- Catholic Health Care in Jeopardy
- Ban Sex Selective Abortions in the U.S.
- Pro-Life Amendment Defeated in Pro-Life Mississippi
- Baby Seven Billion, Welcome.
- Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics ... and Population Graphs
- Traditional Family Values
- We're In For A Scary Halloween (If You Listen to the Population Controllers)
- Take Good Care of Your Health Care Records - Or the Government Will!
- China's One-Child Policy Toll Reaches 400 Million
- Catholic Bishops Weigh Into Budget Debate
- Latest PRI Video Shows Collapse of Russia
- "Understanding" Joe Biden Perfects the Kowtow
- U.N. Climate Models Flawed - Grossly Exaggerate Warming Effect
- Weekly Briefing: 2010 (v12)
- Fourth Episode of Overpopulation Cartoon Series
- Turner Calls for Global One-Child Policy
- Love and HIV/AIDS
- Pope Benedict Misquoted on Condoms -- Again
- Planned Parenthood Wants to Abort Us into Prosperity
- As Elections Draw Near, PRI Releases Groundbreaking Video
- Does Obamacare Fund Abortion? Let Us Count the Ways.
- Islamic Terrorism and Fertility
- China's Thirty Years War Against its Own People Slated to Continue
- Time to Pay an "End-of-Life Visit" to ObamaCare
- PRI Updates Web Site, Releases New Video
- Radical Environmentalists Disclaim Responsibility for Eco-Terrorist James Lee
- A Farce: The UN's World Youth Conference
- After Passage of Pro-Abortion Constitution, Kenyan Bishops Urge Immediate Amendment
- The United Nations must love Catholics, we give them their best ideas.
- Weekly Briefing: 2009 (v11)
- In His Push for Socialized Medicine, Harry Reid Trashes the Hyde Amendment
- Global Warming Science? Nope, Global Warming Scam.
- Senator Max Baucus Wants to Teach Your Kids About Sex
- Blasted Ovaries: The Failure of Contraceptive Vaccines
- The Overpopulation Movement Struggles to Stay Relevant
- What's Next for the Pro-Life Movement in Health Care Reform?
- Sneak Attack on the Mexico City Policy
- Spain Awakens Against Abortion
- Merck Researcher Admits: Gardasil Guards Against Almost Nothing
- With 19 You Get Heaven
- Population Control to Combat Climate Change?
- Illegal Abortion Hot-Lines: A New Attack on the Unborn
- Obama to Seniors: Take Two Aspirin and Call Me When You're Dead
- Washington Feels the Wrath of Pro-Life Voters
- People Are The Enemy
- Weekly Briefing: 2008 (v10)
- Doug Kmiec's Departure from the Pro-Life Movement
- Abortion and Intolerance: Constants of the Left?
- The Huffington Post Gets It Wrong--Again
- China Frees Pregnant Mom after International Outcry
- Executive (Dis)Orders: Pro-life Policies Set to be Jettisoned
- Payback Time: What Planned Parenthood Expects from Obama
- Killing The Economy: Dennis Howard's "Elephant In The Living Room"
- How to Sell Out Your Country With Just One Word
- Is Immigration the Answer to the Current Economic Crisis?
- Wisconsin Offers "Free" Birth Control -- with Your Money
- USAID Denies Funding to Abortion Group Implicated in Forced Abortions and Sterilizations in China; PRI Applauds Action
- A New Front in the Abortion Wars
- Cyclebeads: The UNFPA Discovers Natural Family Planning, Sort Of
- Sarah Palin, An American Original
- "Kids: Your Time Is Up" -- Global Warming Game Targets Vulnerable Youngsters
- Weekly Briefing: 2007 (v09)
- Preserving Parental Rights in Panama
- Saving the Mexico City Policy
- How Family Planning Programs Cause Sex-Selective Abortion, Female Infanticide, and Other Forms of Ch
- Patrick Carroll's Research and the ABC Link Debate
- What Women Want (Hint: Not Reproductive Health Care)
- Fighting for Our Rights
- Reproductive Health Mortality
- House Democrats Stage Hearing on the Mexico City Policy
- Gender Equity and the Demeaning of Men's Issues
- The Obstetric Fistula Fallacy
- Chimeras, Great Britian, and the Brave New World
- Are There Too Many Columbians
- US Bishops Issue a New CALL to Latinos
- HillaryCare, 2.0
- HIV/AIDS: Western Failure and Ugandan Success
- Weekly Briefing: 2006 (v08)
- Irish Exceptionalism at an End?
- Suicide of the West?
- 300 Million and Immigration: Separating the Issues
- A Cut for Population Control Money?
- 300 Million, Social Security, and Solvency
- Pro-Life Politics
- The Small Problem of Suburban Sprawl
- Three Hundred Million and Counting
- Abortion the Cheap Easy Way
- Life in the News
- Restricting Women's Rights
- FDA Prepares Sell-Out on MAP
- Senate Democrats'Make-Believe on Girls' Abortions
- Kinder, Gentler Genocide in Mongolia
- World Population Aging 2006
- Weekly Briefing: 2005 (v07)
- What Mexican Women Want
- Will making pregnancy profitable save Italy from demographic destruction?
- House Takes an Interest in the RU-486 Poison Pill
- Getting U.S. Out of Abortion
- Time for a RU-486 Rollback
- A Feast for Life
- More Smiles for Scalito
- Abuse of Chinese Women and Children
- France's End
- Smiles for Scalito
- Abortion Doubters at the Washington Post?
- Mostly the Same, But UNFPA Discovers Fatherlessness
- UN AIDS Envoy Cant Stomach Abstinence
- Living the Gospel of Life Down Under
- Pro-Abortion Court Revolution Targets Colombia
- Weekly Briefing: 2004 (v06)
- Unlike Europe's, U.S. Population Continues to Grow--And in the Right Places
- Abortion by Other Means
- China's Persecution of Women and Children: More of the Same
- Canada Cuts off Chinese Women's Freedom in Order to Spite America's Face
- Would Legalization Reduce Abortion in Latin America?
- The Conscience Protection Amendment and NARAL's "D"
- The Abortion Pill Can Kill Mothers, Too
- Will Families Benefit from Tax Reform?
- The Unacceptable Arlen Specter
- How to Reduce the Number of Abortions (Hint:
- UNICEF: The Mask is Off!
- Secularism's Demographic Conundrum
- Despite Bumper Harvests, Lester Brown's Sky is Still Falling
- Peruvian Congress could punish prolife congressmen.
- Media Reports: Depo Provera Is Hazardous to your Health
- Weekly Briefing: 2003 (v05)
- Exposing Domestic Abortion Strategies
- New Revision Points to Underpopulation Crisis
- PRI needs your help for continued success in 2004
- The Coming Demographic Victory
- In Thanksgiving to God for People
- People: the Greatest Unmet Need
- Gates, Microsoft Urged by Shareholders to Cease Making Charitable Contributions
- President Bush Signs Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003
- The BBC's Method of HIV/AIDS Prevention
- Judge Robert Bork in Lincoln Nebraska
- USAID-funded FHI Exploits Women
- Population Control on our Shores
- The Two Sides of the Culture of Death
- Secretary Powell Cuts $25 Million More from UNFPA
- USAID Undercuts U.S. Global HIV/AIDS Initiative
- Weekly Briefing: 2002 (v04)
- Casting Lotts and Throwing Stones in the U.S. Congress
- Bush vs. Bangkok, Abortion as 'Reproductive Health'
- UK Pro-Aborts Seek to CHANGE Peruvian Health Policy
- UNFPA Seeks Drinking Friends to Fund Forced Abortion
- Condom Kingdom Deflated by Failure (Are You Listening, Bill?)
- USAID "Shifts" Focus to More Aggressive Population Policy for the Philippines
- Making "Reproductive Rights" (Read: Abortion) a Relic of the Past
- Broken Promises: Reproductive Rights Agenda Betrays Women and Children
- EU to Increase UNFPA Funding? Not so Fast!
- UNFPA Admits it Has No Way to Monitor China's Forced Abortion Population Program
- Graduating Countries from Population Control
- Foreign Aid in a Grown Up World
- ABOUT FACE: Norplant Victim Sues Wyeth, OBGYN for $120 Million
- How to Save Lives with $34 Million
- Project Afghanistan: A Situation Report
- Weekly Briefing: 2001 (v03)
- Urgent Action Alert! Call on President Bush to Zero-Fund UNFPA
- UNFPA Whitewashes Forced Abortion in China
- Hillary Clinton Forces Abortion Rights Agenda on Afghan Women
- Pro-Family Groups Condemn UNFPA
- Abortion Zealots Threaten Afghan Women
- Muslims Shocked by Western-led 'Genocide' in Refugee Camps
- UNFPA Hides Coercion Behind a Green Front
- An open letter from Steven W. Mosher to Thoraya Obaid, Executive Director of the United Nations Popu
- PRI Investigation of UNFPA Prompts Hearing on Forced Abortion in China
- UNFPA Supports Coercive Family Planning—Including Forced Abortion—In China (and PRI Has
- Abortion Group Targets Vulnerable Victims of Terror
- China's Role in Osama bin Laden's 'Holy War' On America
- America's Frozen Population
- What African Women Want (not "Reproductive Health Care")
- About Face
- Weekly Briefing: 2000 (v02)
- What the Abortion-Breast Cancer Link Means for Women in the Developing World
- Executive Orders to Save Lives
- Heedless of Demographic Dangers, Beijing Pushes Ahead with One-Child Policy
- Amend U.S. China Policy
- United in Opposing People
- RU 486 and Our Ties to China
- Abortion and Population Control
- Drowning Babies in Dollars
- AIDS and Population Control In Africa
- Family Planning Costs Lives
- Another Country
- Population Growth and its Enemies
- Immigration verus Population Control
- Land of the Setting Sun
- The Ordeal of Chinese Mothers Continues: New Evidence of Massive Female Infanticide
- Weekly Briefing: 1999 (v01)
- Planned Giving
- Depopulation Strikes New England
- Albright Scrambles to Appease Population Control Allies
- Wei Jingsheng Calls for Democracy in America
- UNFPA Bribes Kosovo Gynecologist
- Chinese Freedom Fighters to Meet at Historical Summit Conference
- Population Control and the New Global Racism
- Welcome Baby Six Billion!
- UNFPA Spokesman Lies About Milosevic Partnership to Preserve US Funding
- Know Your Rights!
- Feminist Rights Agenda Storms United Nations
- When Family Planning Is Ethnic Cleansing
- New York Post Faults UN Agency for Ethnic Cleansing of Albanians
- Reversing Itself, UNFPA Admits Ties to Milosevic Regime
- Disney Continues to Propagandize 'Myth of Overpopulation' in Public Schools