By Lisa Bastian
In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Gardasil, the first-ever vaccine for females 9 to 26 years old, designed to prevent just 4 of the over 100 strains of the human papillomavirus. Only two percent of
undiagnosed HPV infections lead to cervical cancer, a rare form of cancer.
Over the past three years, Gardasil’s manufacturer, Merck, has done a good job of scaring parents into immunizing their daughters against sexually transmitted HPV; over 50 million doses have been distributed worldwide.
Despite being fast-tracked through the FDA, Gardasil has not been proven safe in long-term studies. Even a former paid consultant to Merck now questions its safety, Dr. Diane Harper, who helped Gardasil get FDA approval, told CBS News, in an August 19, 2009, interview, “Gardasil has been associated with at least as many serious adverse events as there are deaths
from cervical cancer developing each year.”
A cautionary tale
The National Vaccine Information Center, a vaccine-safety nonprofit,
compared Gardasil to the meningitis vaccine, since both are given to
the same age group. Gardasil’s reported side effects were 30 times
higher. And it prompted over 5,000 emergency room visits—three
times more than the meningitis vaccine.