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Gardasil: A vacine against cervical cancer?

My daughter asked for my opinion of Gardasil. What I have done is do a bit of research and copy-paste snippets of what I found below. She is pregnant, and for her, this is of academic interest as Gardasil is not recommended for pregnant ladies. I may rewrite this or write a new post later,

Gardasil is a vaccine against certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), created by researchers Dr. Albert Bennet Jenson and Dr. Shin-je Ghim at the University of Louisville in 2006, following on research done by Professor Ian Frazer of Australia in conjunction with Australian biomedical company, CSL Limited. The vaccine, marketed by Merck & Co. in America, whilst paying royalties to CSL,

Being a patent protected vaccine, Merck is the sole producer.

Gardasil is given in three injections over six months, namely at enrollment, and two and six months later.

GARDASIL may not fully protect everyone and does not prevent all types of cervical cancer, so it is important to continue regular cervical cancer screenings.

Anyone who is allergic to the ingredients of GARDASIL should not receive the vaccine. GARDASIL is not for women who are pregnant.

GARDASIL is for girls and women ages 9 to 26. GARDASIL works when given before you have any contact with HPV Types 6, 11, 16, and 18.

Gardasil is a prophylactic HPV vaccine, meaning that it is designed to prevent the initial establishment of HPV infections. In worldwide clinical analyses, however, women who were already infected with one or more of the four HPV types targeted by the vaccine (6, 11, 16, or 18) were protected from clinical disease caused by the remaining HPV types in the vaccine. For maximum efficacy, it is recommended that girls receive the vaccine prior to becoming sexually active.

One unknown property of the vaccines now being researched is their longevity. Since the studies have been of short duration, it is unknown whether the vaccines will last just a few years or for much longer. Further study over time is required to answer this question.

HPV Types 16 and 18 cause 70% of cervical cancer cases, and HPV Types 6 and 11 cause 90% of genital warts cases.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Gardasil on June 8, 2006.
If you've already been infected with HPV, you may still benefit from GARDASIL because it is unlikely that you have been infected with all 4 types of the virus covered by the vaccine

GARDASIL is given as 3 injections over 6 months and can cause pain, swelling, itching, and redness at the injection site, fever, nausea, and dizziness.IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR YOUNG WOMEN AGES 18 TO 26
Vaccination with GARDASIL does not take the place of Pap tests (cervical cancer screenings). You should keep following your doctor's or healthcare professional's advice on getting Pap tests.

Gardasil will not block infection with all of the HPV types that can cause cervical cancer, the vaccine should not be considered a substitute for routine Pap smears.

In early February 2007, Texas Gov. Rick Perry wrote himself into public health history by signing an executive order requiring all females entering the sixth grade to receive shots of Gardasil, the HPV vaccine produced by Merck (and only by Merck, as the vaccine is patented). In global studies, the drug was found to be incredibly effective against human papillomavirus types 6, 11, 16 and 18, with which 20 million women in the U.S. are currently infected. (note: I read somewhere that Perry is connected with Merck as Merck has contributed to his campaign fund)

The Texas House of Representatives passed a bill overturning Republican Governor Rick Perry’s executive order which was the first in the nation to mandate mandatory Gardasil vaccinations for all girls entering the sixth grade. A similar measure is also slated to go before the Texas State Senate which should end any hope of enacting mandatory vaccinations.

Ian Frazer, the co-inventor of the HPV vaccine:

"It's my belief that the state should offer HPV vaccines free of charge at the point of use to all women between nine and 20. However it should always be the choice of the women - or for younger women under 16, they and their parents - whether a vaccine of this sort should be given. The 'medical' objections are mostly raised by the anti-vaccine lobby and they relate to an inevitable lack of longer term safety and efficacy data for this new product."

Diane Harper, a clinical investigator at the Dartmouth Medical School:

"Giving it to 11-year-olds is a great big public health experiment. It is silly to mandate vaccination of 11- to 12-year-old girls. There also is not enough evidence gathered on side effects to know that safety is not an issue...This vaccine is good, and it will save a huge number of lives around the world. But an important point is that, if women get the vaccine and then not get their Pap smears, or decide to get them infrequently, what will happen in the U.S. is that we will have an increase in cervical cancer, because the Pap screening does a very good job. That's my main diatribe. We don't need mandatory vaccinations for little girls. What we do need to ask, though, is how long does it last, and when do you need a booster?...To mandate now is simply to Merck's benefit, and only to Merck's benefit."

. That is why it is important to note that the vaccine has not been tested for efficacy (effectiveness) in younger girls, she said. Instead, the effectiveness was "bridged" from the older girls to the younger ones -meaning that Merck assumed that because it proved effective in the older girls, it also would be effective in the younger ones. The actual tests on the younger girls, ages 9 to 15, were only for safety and immune response, Harper said, and then only as a shot by itself, or in combination with only one other vaccine, Hepatitis B. It has not been tested in conjunction with any other shots a girl receives at about age 11, Harper said.

. So far more than 40 cases of Guillian-Barre syndrome - a dangerous immune disorder that causes tingling, numbness and even paralysis of the muscles have been reported in girls who have received the HPV vaccine in combination with the meningitis vaccine. Scientists already know that sometimes a vaccine can trigger the syndrome in a subject. "With the HPV vaccine, it is a small number but higher than is expected, and we don't know if it's the combination of the two, or the meningitis alone," Harper said.

. In the end, inoculating young girls may backfire because it will give them a false sense of protection. And, for both young girls and women, because the vaccine's purpose has been so misinterpreted - and mis-marketed - Harper feels that too many girls and women who have had the vaccine will develop a false sense of security, believing they are immune to cancer when they are not, and failing to continue with their annual Pap exams, are crucial to diagnosing dysplasia before it can develop into cancer.

"Also, the public needs to know that with vaccinated women and women who still get Pap smears (which test for abnormal cells that can lead to cancer), some of them will still get cervical cancer."

The reason, she said, is because the vaccine does not protect against all HPV viruses that cause cancer - it's only effective against two that cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers.

. The vaccine only works if the woman/girl does not have a current vaccine type related infection (in other words, the vaccine only works when the woman/girl does not have HPV 6, 11, 16 or 18 - the viruses that Gardasil targets when she receives her first vaccine shot).

. The vaccine doesn't care if the girl/woman has been sexually active, Harper said. "HPV is a skin-to-skin infection. Although the only way to get cervical dysplasia is through an HPV infection, and HPV is most often associated with sexual activity, HPV is not just spread through sex. We have multiple papers where that's documented. We know that 3-year-olds, 5-year-olds, 10-year-olds, and women who have never had sex have been found to be positive for the cancer-causing HPV types."

. So far more than 40 cases of Guillian-Barre syndrome - a dangerous immune disorder that causes tingling, numbness and even paralysis of the muscles have been reported in girls who have received the HPV vaccine in combination with the meningitis vaccine. Scientists already know that sometimes a vaccine can trigger the syndrome in a subject. "With the HPV vaccine, it is a small number but higher than is expected, and we don't know if it's the combination of the two, or the meningitis alone," Harper said.

Welcome to Gardasil Watch - News about the coming cervical cancer immunization

This immunization would be the first one ever to be used against cancer and preliminary testing shows it to work 100%. Gardasil is the brand name held by Merck, and is the quadrivalent human papillomavirus types 6, 11, 16, 18, recombinant vaccine. It's intended to keep women from getting cancer.


This invention could be the biggest thing in the early 21st century. Cancer is one of the last big killers, and if an immunization can be developed against one kind of cancer (cervical), then there is hope that there can be immunizations, or even treatments, for other kinds of cancer, as well. This approach is completely new - instead of chemotherapy or radiation treatments, which poison the patient as well as the disease, humanity could prevent this illness before it even start.

Note - Some religious groups could be upset by the idea of inoculating children who are not sexual yet, but this is the very group who would be most helped by this vaccine. Cervical cancer is caused by sexually transmitted diseases, and a vaccine should be given before the activity is started.

We are entering into a new dawn here. Let us all pray that this medicine turns out to be as effective as possible and that many people's lives can thus be saved.

1 comment:

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