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Health Impact News
April 7, 2016
9 August 2015, a citizen of South Africa (we’ll call her Sarah) sent the following questions about HPV vaccines to CANSA, the Cancer Association of South Africa. Sarah had no idea her questions would lead to a full-blown scientific debate.
Could you please let me know why CANSA is supporting the use of the hpv vaccines when these are now proven to be deadly? Several hundred young women have died because of this vaccine and thousands more are permanently disabed or battling with chronic health-problems. This vaccine has NEVER been proven to prevent cervical cancer. Many countries have banned these vaccines because they are not just useless, they are dangerous – why is South Africa using them? And why does your web page not list the potential side effects?
Sarah received a reply on August 13th referring her to Professor Michael Herbst, a clinical expert who would answer her questions. Professor Herbst sent Sarah copies of 5 abstracts from peer-reviewed scientific journal articles which stated the following. (CANSA Correspondence: Complete copy here, begins on page 3)
- …trials have proven its (HPV vaccine) efficacy in preventing cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) beyond doubt and its effectiveness in preventing cervical cancer though presumptive is reasonably certain as per mathematical modelling. It also prevents other HPV related anogenital and oropharyngeal malignancies in both sexes.
- The HPVs vaccine prevents infection with certain species of HPVs associated with the development of cervical cancer, genital warts, and some less common cancers.
- The cost-effectiveness of human papillomavirus (HPV) 16/18 vaccination of 12 year-old girls was calculated for 28 countries, under the assumption that vaccination prevents 70% of all cervical cancer cases and that cervical cancer and all-cause mortality rates are stable without vaccination. At three-dose vaccination costs of I$ 100 per vaccinated girl (currency 2005 international dollars), HPV16/18 vaccination was very cost-effective in 25 out of 28 countries…
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is a central and necessary, although not sufficient, cause of cervical cancer. Besides HPV, the additional multiple risk factors related with the onset of cervical cancer are early-age sexual activities; high number of sexual partners, which is the most salient risk factor; suppression and alteration of the immune status; long-term use of oral contraceptives; and other hormonal influences.
- Our analysis (of 24 Hispanic mothers/28 daughters) found several themes that affect whether Hispanic girls get the HPV vaccine: gaps in knowledge; fears and concerns about the vaccine; sociocultural communication practices; and decision-making about HPV vaccination. Both mothers and girls had limited knowledge about cervical cancer, HPV, and the vaccine.
As you can clearly see, Professor Herbst’s reply did not address any of the questions Sarah had asked. Undaunted, she replied to him on August 16th as follows (excerpts):
Dear Prof Herbst
Thank you for the document containing various abstracts to papers on the subject of HPV. With all due respect, these are obviously of zero value in terms of answering the questions that I put to CANSA.
My specific questions are:-
Why is CANSA supporting the use of the HPV vaccines when these are now proven to be deadly and when they have NEVER been proven to prevent cervical cancer? Both India and Japan have stopped giving this vaccine because of the severe side effects – why is South Africa ignoring the glut of data that shows this vaccine is dangerous? (Followed by multiple reference documents)
What we do need to do is look at the reported adverse events and to ask the pertinent questions regarding the safety of this vaccine. No manufacturer is going to admit (unless forced to by a court of law) that their product is either defective or deadly.
If anyone purports to be a caring physician and who wishes to help the community defend itself against deadly diseases, then surely that person needs to look at both sides of the argument? It is completely unacceptable simply to point towards the manufacturer and trust that their data is 100% accurate. Attached is a document that lists many of the criminal activities of (and fines handed down to) various pharmaceutical companies. These are the reasons why a good proportion of the general public does not trust the pharmaceutical industry.
Patients have a right to know the risks and benefits of any medical treatment offered to them. Attached is a document that gives pertinent information for South Africans, including the issue of informed consent. This information should be made known to the patient BEFORE the administration of this vaccine.
I therefore respectfully ask that you go through the above information and then kindly answer my questions.
Several emails were exchanged over the next few days, culminating with this request to Sarah from Professor Herbst on August 20th: