Clear as mud – Today Show segment on Gardasil

Schwitzer health news blog

Gary Schwitzer, University of Minnesota School of Journalism & Mass Communication
August 3, 2009
This is the transcript of an actual exchange on the NBC Today Show among anchor Ann Curry, medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman and ob-gyn guest Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz. I like the term cacophony. I think this is the definition of cacophony.

(Nancy Snyderman) “There have been 37 or 38 deaths. And the FDA has looked very, very carefully at these. There has been no proof of the vaccine causing a young woman to die. And sometimes deaths were reported several days later. But it’s important to remember, you can have fish for dinner and get sick three days later, and the question is, did the fish cause you to get sick? And what they’re saying this time is, no. There’s no proof that this vaccine, in fact, puts women’s lives at risk.
(Ann Curry:) Doctor?
(Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz:) “But causality, absolutely, has not been proven.”
(Dr. Nancy Snyderman:) At all.
(Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz:) “But it’s very, very hard to prove that. And you have to understand that the common thread with these 39 deaths have been recent either use or completion of the Gardasil vaccination. I am not saying it caused death, but women are going to have questions about this. And right out the gate when this vaccination came out, I was thrilled. I was excited and I recommended it. It’s not that I don’t recommend it. It’s that we need to support our patients and their mothers in asking questions.”
(Ann Curry:) Here’s one of the questions we’ve been getting. Emily is asking, `If you already have high risk HPV and you plan to be in a committed relationship with one partner, do you recommend still getting the vaccine?’ Nancy?
(Dr. Nancy Snyderman:) Well, I think it depends how old she is. But you know, even if you have HPV, it may not be these strains that are covered in the vaccine.
Comment from Leslie –
Ridiculous and inane, inaccurate and uninformed discussion on a topic that has killed and maimed adolescent women.

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.