Many thanks to the readers who have written me regarding the Gardasil ad that has been appearing in my sidebar here. I hadn't seen it myself until this morning; different ads appear each time you reload the page.
Here at ClubMom, I don't have any control over the ads that appear on my blog. I did write the ClubMom folks expressing my concerns about the Gardasil ad, but they let me know that they have no plans to pull it.
Why am I concerned about this particular ad? Protecting women from cervical cancer seems a worthy cause, doesn't it—and one you would expect me to be particularly in favor of, with a daughter who is a cancer survivor? (In her case, leukemia.)
The Gardasil media blitz omits some important information. The vaccine, which is touted as protection against HPV, a virus linked to cervical cancer, actually only protects against 4 out of the 90 strains of HPV—and only for five years.
Lilting House reader Christine reports:
This vaccine has been linked to deaths, due to blood clots, in girls. It is also the vaccine that Merck has been trying to have states mandate for girls ages 9 and up.
That bears repeating. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, but its manufacturer is trying to have states mandate it for girls as young as nine years old.
Here's what the American Academy of Pediatrics has to say about that:
Dr. Joseph Bocchini, chairman of the committee on infectious disease of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says HPV can take up to 20 years to cause cervical cancer. His organization has withheld endorsement from Gardasil and one of the reasons is that the 20-year incubation period indicates that the vaccine, which has a 5-year effectiveness span, would offer no protection in the overwhelming majority of cervical cancer cases in the United States.
In fact, the American Cancer Society reports that from 2000 to 2003, more than 70 percent of the cervical cancer patients in America were older than 40 – well outside Gardasil’s protection window.
So if the incubation period is 20 years, and the life span of the vaccine is five years, how many booster shots would have to be obtained by the female who is inoculated? Each of the doses of the vaccine runs $360 and it is feasible that a female could have to get at least 10 boosters for a total of $3,600. As one reporter wrote, this means big bucks for Merck.
(The quote is from this article at American Life League.)