Lest you think my title is overwrought, I present exhibit A: Post-Gardasil Syndrome: The new name for the spectrum of of side effects following HPV vaccination. There is so much bad logic and misinformation in this article that I’m afraid the Republican presidential candidates might be unable to speak for the next few days because Norma Erickson has used up all the dumb.
I’m not sure where to start, so I’ll stick a pin in the article.Oooh, here’s a good one: Of the four girls described in the article, two didn’t even get the HPV vaccine! Whether or not the stories they tell about pressure and lies are true (it’s certainly possible, if somewhat unlikely), they’re irrelevant to any proposed “post-Gardasil syndrome.”
Of the two who got the shot, the list of symptoms is completely bizarre. Take the Canadian girl:
Barely two hours later, she was admitted to the hospital – another victim of Post-Gardasil Syndrome suffering fever, rash, fainting, fatigue, weakness, headaches, stomach pains, urinary infection, and abscesses in her mouth, vision impairment and oral Candida.
Seriously? Seriously? You expect me to believe she developed a UTI, abscesses, and oral Candida in two hours? As a commenter over at Orac’s place notes, it’s a good thing her parents finally stopped ignoring the fact she was sick, which they’d apparently been doing for quite a while. I hope she saw an actual doctor who treated whatever actual illness she had, because this sounds very unpleasant.
Another commenter at Respectful Insolence added up the list of “injuries” supposedly caused by this one vaccine:
peripheral neurological disorder, abnormal pupillary function and dilation, peripheral neuropathy in both legs, decreased endocrine activity and function, idiopathic epilepsy, liver function suppression, GI tract disorders, chronic Guillain-Barre-like symptoms, and hormone problems, fever, rash, fainting, fatigue, weakness, headaches, stomach pains, urinary infection, and abscesses in her mouth, vision impairment and oral Candida.
As PEI Curmudgeon notes, this is truly a powerful drug. “Perhaps it should be further developed as a form of biological warfare.” ::snort:: That’s not evidence of a syndrome connected to one vaccine, that’s a laundry list.
How about the fact most of the “evidence” for this new syndrome comes from VAERS? I know I’ve addressed the problems of using this database before. Oh yes, here it is. VAERS reports are not evidence of harm from a vaccine, they’re evidence that someone (parent or doctor or whoever) noticed that something happened at any point after a vaccine was administered.
Something happening after a vaccine was administered is not proof that the vaccine caused the thing that happened. If I’m in the process of developing a stress headache and then get a flu shot, the headache that develops within 5 minutes of the shot is not caused by the shot! It’s a coincidence.
I’m very sad that there are teenage girls with debilitating medical conditions and I hope that they have adequate medical insurance ::coughs:: and medical professionals will do their utmost to find the real cause of their illness and treat it. But so far all evidence points to those conditions being unrelated to the HPV vaccine.
If you remember only one thing I say, let it be this: If there was any evidence whatsoever that the HPV vaccine was causing serious illnesses in girls, it would be pulled off the market. Believe it or not, public health officials are in the business of making the public healthier, not sicker. (It’s even in the name! Isn’t that clever?) When the rotavirus vaccine started causing a very rare complication in a tiny number of babies, it was yanked off the market so fast, there was hardly time to say “boo!”
I hope that parents take these poor girls to real doctors rather than crooks and liars who will claim to be treating post-Gardasil syndrome but are actually making a lot of money selling the modern equivalent of those old-fashioned patent medicines that were mainly booze.
And I look forward to my children being old enough to get the HPV vaccines and avoid real illnesses like cervical cancer and genital warts.