Scottish Government Urged To Review HPV-Vaccine Program

Call to review cancer vaccine after Germany demands more medical proof

ICAP Advocates, Freda Birrell and Christina England, members of the international group of women who prepared a series of HPV-vaccine repots to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Germany, have distributed the ICAP reports to the media in Scotland and the UK. Ms England, a research journalist, has written several well-received articles that have been published by news outlets on both sides of the Atlantic. The women have received acclaim and praise for due diligence in presenting information that backs up their concerns:  The Scotsman – June 2, 2009
The article is excerpted below:

The Scotsman 02 June 2009 By MARISA DE ANDRADE

THE Scottish Government has been urged to review its cervical cancer vaccination programme and follow the lead of Germany, which ordered experts to show hard evidence the jab is effective and safe in the long-term.

The International Coalition of Advocates for the People (ICAP) – a group raising concerns of the safety and efficacy of Cervarix and its rival, Gardasil, to health ministers and researchers worldwide – want a thorough investigation into the vaccine.

The organisation successfully lobbied the health minister and medical experts in Germany. Now the country’s Federal Joint Committee, which decides on the formula for the country’s social insurance system, has called for all recommendations on Cervarix and Gardasil to be revised and demanded a new report based on detailed evidence.

Yesterday, The Scotsman revealed more than 150 girls in Scotland have suffered adverse reactions after receiving the vaccine, which was introduced last autumn and is being given to all girls in S2 and to girls in S5 and S6 in a catch-up programme.

Campaigners are concerned about the long-term effectiveness and safety of the vaccine. Six families in England are taking legal action against the maker of  Cervarix, GlaxoSmithKline,,  after serious side-effects they claim are linked to the vaccine.

Freda Birrell and Christina England from ICAP said: “We would welcome a decision by the Scottish and UK governments to put a hold on Cervarix and to carry out a similar thorough investigation as is now being carried out in Germany.”

GlaxoSmithKline admits ‘there are no data on the use of Cervarix in subjects with impaired immune responsiveness’, that ‘duration of protection has not been fully established’ and ‘Timing and need of booster has not been investigated.’

“So why was a vaccination programme in Scotland and England introduced before this was researched?”

The review in Germany came after a team of 13 experts studied all publicly available data on the effectiveness of both vaccines on the market and found the evidence lacking.

Dr Ansgar Gerhardus, a public health expert from the University of Bielefeld in north-west Germany, was part of the team.

He said: “We did not go into further details regarding Cervarix, simply because the evidence base was even more sparse than for Gardasil.

“We did not find any results on the overall protection against pre-cancerous lesions – which would be a relevant endpoint (ie, a way of judging a link to cervical cancer] for individual girls as well as from a public-health perspective. Only in a recent study have selected data for Cervarix been presented. However, many relevant data are still missing, so no conclusions should be drawn until they are made available.”

This statement has not been scientifically challenged.

ICAP added: “We believe the health and welfare of young people is of paramount importance and would welcome a delay in the Cervarix vaccination programme until all avenues are thoroughly investigated.”

The Scottish Government and GlaxoSmithKline insist detailed tests were carried out and that any reactions to Cervarix are within the range expected of a mass vaccination programme.


Author: H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik

I started the Inconvenient Woman Blog in 2007, and am the product of a long line of inconvenient women. The matriarchal line is French-Canadian, Roman Catholic, with a very feisty Irish great-grandmother thrown in for sheer bloody mindedness. I am a research analyst and author who has made her living studying technical data, and developing articles, training materials, books and web content. Tracking through statistical data, and oblique cross-references to find the relevant connections that identifies a problem, or explains a path of action, is my passion. I love clearly delineating the magic questions of knowledge: Who, What, Why, When, Where and for How Much, Paid to Whom. My life lessons: listen carefully, question with boldness, and personally verify the answers. I look at America through the appreciative eyes of an immigrant, and an amateur historian; the popular and political culture is a ceaseless fascination. I have no impressive initials after my name. I’m merely an observer and a chronicler, an inconvenient woman who asks questions, and sometimes encourages others to look at things differently.