HPV vaccines have been touted as vaccines that would put an end to cervical cancer. But what are they, are they safe, why were they ‘fast-tracked’ by the FDA, and why is vaccination against this rare cancer being pushed by doctors and governmental agencies?
HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus, which is a virus that establishes infections through the skin and mucous membranes. There are about 200 strains of HPV, many of which cause no symptoms at all in humans. Some, however, are known to cause warts, including genital warts, and infections that can lead to cervical and other cancers.
Around 40 HPV strains can be transmitted via sexual contact and certain ‘high-risk’ HPV viruses are thought to be the main cause of cervical cancer in women. They may also cause other genital cancers such as penile, vulvar, vaginal, anal, and cancers of the head and neck. Most infections with these viruses do not, however, lead to serious disease.
Due to intervention of the immune system, 70% of infections by the HPV virus resolve by themselves within one year and 90% resolve within two years. In about 5-10% of infected women, the infection can lead to precancerous lesions or invasive cancer of the cervix. This process is a very slow one, thought to take at least 5-15 years for detectable changes to develop in the cervix.
In most developed countries, women undergo a regular Pap smear test, which involves collecting cells from the outer opening of the cervix. The cells are examined under a microscope to see whether there are any pre-cancerous changes, known as cervical intraepithelial neoplasia or dysplasia, which is usually caused by the HPV virus. If abnormal cells are found, the test is repeated in 6-12 months. If there continues to be an abnormality a colposcopy is recommended. During the colposcopy the cervix is examined visually and a biopsy may be taken. Abnormal areas of cells can be removed using a cauterizing loop or using cryotherapy (freezing). Regular Pap screening allows detection of abnormalities which, if found, can be treated, enabling early detection of cervical cancer and preventing progression to invasive cervical cancer.
During the last few decades, the incidence of severe illness and death from cervical cancer has been substantially reduced by use of the Pap smear, which is considered to be a preventive measure. In the USA in 2008, there were around 11,000 cases and 3,900 deaths from cervical cancer. About 50% of women who develop cervical cancer have never had a Pap smear. In areas of the world where women have reduced access to health care and regular Pap smears, mortality rates from cervical cancer are much higher. Worldwide, there are around 490,000 cases and 270,000 deaths from cervical cancer. Even so, cervical cancer is still a comparatively rare form of cancer.
In recent years two vaccines designed to protect against infection with the HPV virus have been launched onto the market: Gardasil and Cervarix. The pharmaceutical companies that manufacture these vaccines claim that they prevent cervical cancer, but let’s take a closer look at these claims, starting with the first vaccine on the market, Gardasil.
Manufactured by Merck, Gardasil was licensed for use in girls by the FDA in 2006. Also known as Gardisil and Silgard, this vaccine is intended to prevent infection by the sexually transmitted HPV viruses, especially the high-risk strains, 6, 11, 16 and 18. This vaccine is touted as a preventative measure, to prevent infection by HPV and resulting cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers. However, the vaccine is not effective if the recipient has already been infected by the above HPV strains. Gardasil is administered in 3 x 0.5 ml injections over 6 months, at 2 month intervals. Compliance rates are low, in that only 27% of girls complete the 3-dose regimen. What current recipients of the vaccine are not told is that during the clinical trial for this vaccine, participants were actually given FOUR doses of the vaccine to boost the number of HPV antibodies in the blood. Strangely, Gardasil was ‘fast tracked’ through the federal regulatory system even though it does not meet any of the criteria for fast tracking.
Another vaccine, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, and approved by the FDA for use in girls in 2009 is Cervarix. Cervarix is designed to prevent infection by HPV virus strains 16 and 18, which are thought to be responsible for 70% of cases of cervical cancer. The manufacturer claims that Cervarix is superior to Gardasil as it generates a greater antibody response to the virus than Gardasil. After the initial injection, Cervarix is administered by 1 injection a month afterwards, and another 5 months later.
Both these vaccines must be administered before the recipient becomes sexually active.
The FDA has now approved the use of Gardasil in boys. Merck claims that vaccination will prevent them from carrying the cancer-causing strains and infecting women. Gardasil was approved for use in boys in the US in 2009 and in the UK in 2006.
Limitations of these vaccines
There are a few things wrong with this picture …
For a start, the vaccine manufacturers claim that an HPV vaccine can prevent the development of cervical cancer. The HPV vaccines are NOT cancer vaccines. The vaccines only provide limited protection against infection by certain strains of the HPV virus and may only be effective for 3-5 years following vaccination.
Cervical cancer takes an estimated 5-15 years to develop, and the clinical trials carried out by the manufacturers before bringing the vaccines to market only lasted 5-6 years. Therefore, contrary to claims by Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, there is no proof whatsoever that HPV vaccines actually prevent cervical cancer!
Cervical cancer is one of the rarest cancers – in most cases, HPV infection is attacked and destroyed by the immune system before it can develop into cancer.
Federal authorities have decreed that all female immigrants between the ages of 11 and 16 must be vaccinated with Gardasil before entering the country, despite the fact that HPV has a very low infection rate. What could be behind this sinister move?
Side effects of the vaccines
Despite being termed ‘safe’ by the pharmaceutical industry there are serious questions about their safety records, particularly that of Gardasil. A number of serious side effects have been reported following administration of these vaccines. These include life-threatening illnesses, spontaneous abortion, permanent disablement and death.
Gardasil side effects
Minor side effects of Gardasil include dizziness and fainting. These may be categorized as ‘non-serious’, but, read on …. Serious side effects associated with Gardasil include blood clots in the legs, heart and lungs, stroke, heart attack, short-term memory loss, seizures, blindness, paralysis, ovarian cysts, pain, mood changes, movement disorders, speech problems, pancreatitis, and development of Guillain-Barré syndrome. Guillain Barré syndrome is a rare neurological disorder characterized by muscle weakness.
As of September 15th 2011, the CDC reports that there have been 71 reported deaths directly linked to the vaccine, mostly among girls. The true figures may be much higher.
During the clinical trials a number of young women died in car crashes, but Merck does not report whether they were the driver or the passenger. This is critical information in view of the fact that a neurological event such as fainting or seizures could cause a car driver to crash.
In some states, attempts have been made at making vaccination with Gardasil mandatory. This unusual step is explained by the fact that in the state of California alone, 24 legislators are known to have received payments from Merck. The same is doubtless true of other states such as Texas where, happily, attempts at making Gardasil vaccination mandatory ultimately failed.
Gardasil can be considered as one of the most dangerous vaccines ever pushed on young children. All this begs the question: why are these vaccines being promoted by doctors and health authorities alike? The answer may shock you.
Part of the answer is about money, of course. Merck has made billions of dollars from selling Gardasil worldwide, although happily sales in the USA have slumped recently due to the number of adverse reports. Even more sinister forces may be at work, however.
According to Dr Joseph Mercola the World Health Organization has a task force uniquely dedicated to developing anti-fertility vaccines. They are not alone. In Brazil a mandatory rubella vaccination program has been instigated, despite the fact that only about 17 children a year are born with birth defects due to the disease. Moreover, free tetanus injections were handed out in Mexico, Nigeria, Tanzania and Philippines. It was later discovered that these vaccines contained human gonadotrophin (HCG) a hormone which causes spontaneous abortions in pregnant women and may lead to permanent infertility.
Gardasil contains Polysorbate-80, a surfactant that helps deliver pharmacological substances across the blood-brain barrier. Polysorbate-80 has been linked to infertility in mice. It decreases the size of the ovaries and uterus and can result in chronic stimulation of cells that produce estrogen.
Another odd ingredient of Gardasil is L-histadine, which has been found to increase blood clot formation when combined with certain surfactants, of which Polysorbate-80 could be one. Death from blood clots within hours or days of being vaccinated with Gardasil is the most common cause of Gardasil-related death in the young women who received the vaccine.
It is bad enough that these dangerous vaccines are touted for girls, but promoting them for use in boys is simply nonsensical. Again, questions remain as to their safety in boys as well as in girls. It is likely they will have many of the same effects in boys as in girls. Parents need to be aware of the likely adverse effects of these vaccines before making crucial health decisions for their children. Forewarned is forearmed.