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Hilary's Desk

Gardasil - whiter than white

Hilary Butler - Friday, August 29, 2008

What happens when Merck is unhappy with Gardasil immunization rates in USA are sub-par? It would appear that strings are pulled so that the National Institute of Health hands over $2.08 million dollars to Florida based Moffit Research Institute,  to study the problem.

Moffit appointed a team headed by Susan Vadaparampil to survey pediatricians, obstetricians, gynecologists, family doctors etc, to look at what factors contribute to vaccine recommendations, but you know exactly where this study is going to go, because Moffitt puts their bias out there for all to see by saying, “It is crucial that physicians recommend and advocate for HPV vaccination, but current rates of immunization for children and adults in the United States are sub par, Moffitt said in its release.”

Sub-par?  Says who, exactly?

$2.08 million dollars for what will be a foregone conclusion, and simply delineate strategies to get Gardasil usage to where Merck wants it. You could just about write the paper yourself.

Meanwhile, where are the millions being put into studying the 9,749 reactions and 21 deaths that CNN has reported on 11 August 2008? 

Oh, I forgot. They are all a coincidence. Merck said so.

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CNN:

HARRIS: Major concerns this morning about a vaccine given to teen girls that could protect them from a type of cancer, but now parents are saying the side effects may not be worth it. Abbie Boudreau with our Special Investigations Unit is here with more on this.

Abbie, good morning.

ABBIE BOUDREAU, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Tony.

So many people are so confused when it comes to the wildly distributed HPV vaccine called Gardasil, which the Centers for Disease Control says helps prevent certain types of cervical cancer.

But since Gardasil hit the market 2.5 years ago, there's been an alarming number of serious adverse reactions and even deaths that some say are linked to the vaccine. And as more girls come forward alleging the vaccine made them sick, the more confusion and mystery there is surrounding Gardasil and its manufacturer Merck.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOUDREAU (voice-over): Taquaria Williams doesn't get to act like a kid anymore. She's just too tired.

TAQUARIA WILLIAMS, GARDASIL RECIPIENT: It's kind of hurt because I used to do a lot.

BOUDREAU: But Taquaria's mother says everything changed last December after her daughter received Gardasil, a vaccine that prevents 70 percent of cervical cancer.

MATIA WHITE, MOTHER: She's never been sick. She's never been in a hospital. Nothing, until the Gardasil shot.

BOUDREAU: Two months after getting the shot, Taquaria says she got a rash on her face and arms, leaving these scars. She had swelling all over, pain in her joints, and poor circulation in her fingertips.

Her doctor told us she now suffers from an autoimmune disease and says it is possible the Gardasil triggered her illness. Though she made it clear the cause cannot be proven.

According to a federal tracking system called VAERS, there have been 9,749 adverse reactions following the vaccination. And 21 reported deaths since 2006.

But Merck, Gardasil's maker, points out these are anecdotal cases. In a statement, company official say it, quote, "does not necessarily mean that the vaccine caused or contributed to the event."

An official with the Centers for Disease Control says VAERS does not provide enough information for researchers to prove whether Gardasil caused any of the reported side effects.

DR. JOHN ISKANDER, ACTING IMMUNIZATION SAFETY DIRECTOR: We want to have better data to reassure people, but, again, the patterns of the -- and the number of serious events looked at in their, do not suggest any increased in risk.

BOUDREAU: While the CDC believes Gardasil is safe, a conservative watchdog group called Judicial Watch, which has been studying Gardasil's safety says parents' concerns about the vaccine are valid.

CHRIS FARRELL, JUDICIAL WATCH: So without long-term studies and without a safety test, essentially the public is being used as a large-scale public health test.

BOUDREAU: What would have happen if you would have known that this research was out there?

WHITE: I would have never got it. Never! I would not have -- never had her get the shot.

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