Gardasil debate renewed -Critics doubt benefits for women up to age 45

The Gazette
Montreal, CA

By AARON DERFEL, Gazette Health Reporter April 27, 2011

MONTREAL – Health Canada’s decision to approve the Gardasil vaccine for women up to the age of 45 has renewed the debate about the purported benefits of the shots and whether they might even be necessary.

Kirkland-based Merck, maker of Gardasil, announced that Health Canada has extended the vaccine’s indication beyond the existing 9-to-26-year-old female age group for the prevention of cervical cancer and genital warts caused by the human papillomavirus.

In a study commissioned by Merck in women 24 to 45 years old, Gardasil was reported to be almost 89 per cent effective against HPV infections that can lead to cervical cancer.

But McGill University epidemiologist Abby Lippman, a longtime critic of Gardasil, questioned the usefulness of the vaccine.

“For a lot of the older women in that age range, the vaccine may not be at all necessary,” Lippman said.

“We have to avoid calling it a cervical cancer vaccine because there has not been enough follow-up to know if it will really be changing the cancer rates.

“The benefits are still not known right now, in terms of how long protection lasts,” she added.

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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.