Vaccine requires further study on adverse effects

Kentucky Kernel

April 28, 2009 by Editorial Board

Any female student who has been to the Kentucky Clinic since 2007 has probably experienced the same thing. Whether they’ve been in to receive treatment for a common cold or for a yearly physical, they’ve most likely received a spiel about the benefits of a new “wonder drug.”

Gardasil is the first vaccine developed to prevent cervical cancer, but it may not be quite as wonderful as doctors at the Clinic and over the country make it out to be.

First, the vaccine has caused adverse effects ranging from blood clots to paralysis in over 7,000 girls, according to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. Despite these reports, Dr. Hatim Omar, a pediatrics professor in the College of Medicine at UK, said the vaccine is harmless, according to an April 22 Kernel article. On top of that, he mocking those getting the vaccine, saying, “With teenagers, just show them a needle and they’ll faint.”

The vaccine has only been on the market since 2006 and long-term effects have yet to be studied. Should something without long-term research really be administered to so many women? Probably not.

Another problem with the hype of Gardasil is the misconception that it is a cure for all cervical cancer. The vaccine prevents only four types of human papillomavirus, which are responsible for many genital warts and cervical cancer cases. In addition, Gardasil only works before there is any contact with these strands of HPV. Since it does not protect everyone and doesn’t prevent every strand of cervical cancer, overzealous doctors and advertisers should stop acting as if it is a “cure” for cervical cancer.

If Gardasil is to be given to so many women, there must be more long-term studies and more research on the adverse effects. Any drug that helps prevent cancer is the step in the right direction, however doctors must be careful in administering this drug before proper research is completed.

Comment from Leslie

Kudos – to the editorial board.  Where many college campuses are pushing free HPV vaccines, schools are holding parental meetings to discuss the merits of the vaccination –  these folks are at least heeding on the side of caution.


Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.