Monday, June 9, 2008

New HPV Article

If you are following the Gardasil controversy and the girls who say they have had serious side effects like paralysis, there is a new article on the topic from Dallas News looking at both sides of the issue. Here's a portion:

Jennifer Allen, a spokeswoman for New Jersey-based Merck & Co.'s vaccine division, which makes Gardasil, said Thursday that the company conducted clinical trials for 10 years and that it remains confident in its product.

Gardasil was approved by the Food and Drug Administration two years ago for females between ages 9 and 26. It protects against sexually transmitted diseases caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV, responsible for 70 percent of cervical cancers and 90 percent of genital warts. Females are encouraged to get the vaccine before they become sexually active.

Three shots are given over a six-month period. The company said 16 million doses have been administered since its approval. And it lists nausea, vomiting and pain following the shot among the side effects.

The HPV vaccine has generated debate across the country and in Texas. Gov. Rick Perry issued an executive order in February 2007 requiring that all sixth-grade girls get the HPV shot. But angry parents and conservative groups fought the mandate, fearing it condoned premarital sex and took away parental rights. The Legislature defeated the order last April.

The National Vaccine Information Center heralded the decision, saying that testing of the vaccine was not extensive enough in girls under 12. The nonprofit center had already started warning about the possibility of adverse reactions such as extreme fatigue, arthritis and loss of consciousness.

Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the center, said she's frustrated that the CDC has "assumed safety" for Gardasil, which has been tested only in conjunction with the vaccine for Hepatitis B. Today, girls often receive the Gardasil shot at the same time as a meningitis vaccine and another new booster that immunizes against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

The FDA has approved all the vaccines separately, but studies on administering them together are still ongoing. "Not only was Gardasil put on the fast track and licensed quickly," said Ms. Fisher, "but to say safety is assumed and you can give any vaccine with it is even more shocking."

I only posted a portion of the article. You can read the full article here.

-NewsAchorMom Jen


Jennifer said...

Thanks for posting about this. I have a thirteen year old daughter and she hasn't had the Gardasil vaccine yet. I am going to ask her doctor about it this summer when she has her sports physical. I'm curious about what he will say. (We live in a small town and it seems things take a little longer to catch on here.) I wonder if doctors in the Peoria area have been doing the vaccine routinely yet?
I've been putting it off the vaccine because my daughter has a serious fear of shots, isn't at all sexually active, and I'd like to give it a little more time to see what continuing research will say about side effects and effectiveness.
That being said, I don't at all have a problem with it being a vaccine "for a sexually transmitted disease." To me that's a non-issue, I'm more concerned about preventing uterine cancer (via hpv) than in a moralistic viewpoint of sexaully transmitted diseases.

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