HPV Vaccine Risks vs. Benefits: Is It Worth It?


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The HPV virus can cause cancer, but is the vaccine worse than the risk? Image by Laboratory of Tumor Virus Biology

Co-author, Professor Christopher Shaw also explains what they know about the HPV vaccine versus what is claimed about the vaccine in a Canadian newspaper.

He tells us, “We don’t (yet) know if the vaccine will prevent any cases of cervical cancer. It might, but this fact has not been demonstrated. This is because the disease takes years to decades to manifest from first infection, if it manifests at all. Given the time frame of the initial trials, virtually none of the women in these trials will have reached the age where cervical cancer will occur.

What we do know is that the vaccine may prevent some of the pre-cancerous lesions associated with HPV infection, a large fraction of which would spontaneously resolve regardless of vaccine status. The lesions are considered to be a “surrogate markers” for vaccine efficacy, yet do not really justify the claim of cervical cancer prevention. In this regard, Drs Gerhardus and Razum have recently noted that the, “unwarranted confidence in the new vaccines led to the impression that there was no need to actually evaluate their effectiveness” (J Epidemiol Community Health. 2010; vol 64, no 5).”

HPV Vaccine: False Claims

Dr. Tomljenovic tells Decoded Science that there are additional false claims associated with the HPV vaccine:

A second, and equally fallacious claim often told to parents is that HPV vaccines have an impressive safety profile, a notion which is only supported by highly flawed designs of safety trials (Tomljenovic&Shaw, Curr Pharm Design 2012; J Int Med. 2012; Ann Med. 2011). This notion is further contrary to accumulating evidence from vaccine safety surveillance databases worldwide and case reports which continue to link HPV vaccination to serious adverse outcomes (including death and permanent disabilities). For example, compared with all other vaccines, Merck’s HPV vaccine Gardasil alone is associated with > 60% of all serious adverse reactions (including 63.8% of all deaths and 81.2% cases of permanent disability) in females younger than 30 years of age (Tomljenovic&Shaw; Am J Public Health. 2012). Placed into context, while females in this age group have a near-zero risk of dying from cervical cancer, they are faced with a risk of dying and a permanently disabling condition from a vaccine that has not prevented a single case of cervical cancer to date.

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