October 15, 2009
by Tracy Freeman MD
I recently had the opportunity to attend The 4th Annual Public Conference on Vaccination, sponsored by the National Vaccine Information Center. It was both a deeply moving and highly informative event. I was touched by the stories of mothers whose daughters developed Guillane Barre syndrome after receiving the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, better known as Gardasil. It was furthermore shocking to hear the tearful story of a mother who had lost her daughter after the vaccine. During the conference, we were told that 44 girls thus far have lost their lives after this immunization and there have been 8000 adverse reactions. Personally, I remember the first weeks that DC gave the vaccine to high school girls, my brother who was working as a physician in the medical intensive care unit got a patient in respiratory distress afterwards and had to put her on a breathing machine. Is the Human Papilloma Virus that serious that we have to risk the health of young girls? Maybe I am old fashioned and like the old system of pap smears, which by the way, gardasil does not obviate the need for. Or maybe we can learn to support and trust the immune system realizing that approximately 90% of HPV infections regress on there own and only require pap smear follow up at 6 month intervals. If 90% of HPV positive pap smears normalize and we are looking at the possibility of 44 deaths, is this literally overkill?