In a shocking move, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today that the HPV vaccine Gardasil should be given to 11- to 12-year-old boys as well as girls.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices unanimously recommended routine vaccinations for boys to protect them from cancers related to the human papillomavirus, or HPV. Federal health officials usually adopt what the panel says and asks doctors and patients to follow the recommendations.
Merck & Co. designed Gardasil to prevent sexually transmitted HPV infections, which can lead to genital warts and cervical cancer in women, and cancer of the penis and anus in men. Merck won FDA approval for female patients in 2006, and male patients in 2009.
The problem, as we have pointed out previously, is that of the 100 different types of HPV, only fifteen might someday develop into cancer; moreover, the Journal of the American Medical Association says the relationship between infection with HPV at a young age and later development of cancer is unknown. Of those fifteen potential cancer-causing strains, the vaccine targets only two: HPV-16 and HPV-18. In other words, the vaccine will have no effect on 87% of the HPV viruses that might potentially cause cancer, and the causal link between HPV and cervical cancer is far from definitive.
According to Bloomberg.com, today’s finding reverses a 2009 recommendation by the panel that the HPV vaccine should be optional for boys. The panel at the time said the benefits of giving it routinely to 11- to 12- year-old boys wouldn’t justify the costs.
The CDC’s recommendation flies in the face of data from its own Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, which received a total of 18,727 reports of adverse events following Gardasil HPV vaccination. A whopping 1,498 of those events (8%) were considered “serious”—such as blood clots, the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and 68 reports of death. While the most common reactions might be redness or swelling at the injection site, to ignore or soft-pedal the existence of serious side effects (including death!) is not acceptable.
As our readers know, the HPV vaccine has been a national issue recently thanks to the GOP presidential debates. During this time, the major media have faithfully parroted the line that the vaccine is safe, and have refused to pay any attention whatever to the adverse event reports or the testimony of parents. The US government’s Institute of Medicine has also chosen to ignore the adverse event reports, saying disingenuously that they only consider peer-reviewed research. Unfortunately, both the major media and many of the IOM researchers depend on the drug companies for support, and it appears that we cannot expect anyone in an official position even to acknowledge, much less investigate, reports—often submitted by doctors—of what this vaccine is really doing.
It is outrageous that this vaccine has been mandated for girls in some states. To recommend it for boys is no less outrageous.