Plan 4 Health and Fitness
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Beware: Gardasil Launched In The UK

Just say 'No'. Say it firmly and stick to your guns... that is, if you want to protect your teenage daughter or granddaughter from the potential dangers of cervical cancer vaccines.

The UK government recently announced that they are replacing Cervarix — the UK's equivalent of Gardasil (currently used in the US), which is used against the sexually transmitted Human papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause cervical cancer.

Warts and all

Gardasil targets four strains of HPV, while Cervarix protects against only two of the HPV strains. As a result of this 'extra protection' UK experts weighed up both the cost and clinical benefits of the two vaccines and decided to switch to Gardasil.

Now, let's go back a few years to September 2008 when the UK Department of Health (DOH) introduced a HPV immunisation programme to routinely vaccinate girls aged 12-13 against cervical cancer, using Cervarix. A catch-up programme started in autumn 2009 offering girls aged 16-18 the vaccine... since then, Cervarix has wreaked havoc on the lives of countless school girls.

In 2009, we told you about the horror story of Natalie Morton, a 14 year old girl who died hours after being given Cervarix. Back then, we also highlighted the fact that no trials were conducted on the use of Cervarix in patients with underlying health problems. We also told you that the vaccine may not provide protection against HPV for very long (if at all!) and no-one knew when exactly to administer a follow-up jab. If you ask me, that certainly doesn't sound like a vaccine that has undergone rigorous testing with concise results, does it?

We weren't the only ones questioning the safety of Cervarix. Dr Harper, director of the Gynaecologic Cancer Prevention Research Group at Dartmouth Medical School, in the US, was one of the vaccine's biggest critics. Even though she helped Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK), the manufacturers of Cervarix, to conduct safety trials, Dr. Harper believed that these safety trials should have been conducted for at least five more years before the decision was taken to give the vaccine to thousands of school girls.

She said: "We can't tell you it is 100% safe because we don't know that. In five years, it will be pretty clear how safe it really is because 70% of adverse events occur within five years. That way we would have a good sense of comfort and you can reassure your population."

Clearly, Dr. Harper knew what she was talking about. Within a year of the launch of the vaccination programme, 2,137 cases of adverse side effects had been reported. These included muscle aches and pains, tiredness, nausea and fever. More severe side effects included chest pains, deafness, balance disorders and partial paralysis — which a young girl from Liverpool suffered from for six months after receiving the vaccine.

Now Gardasil is about to be let loose on school girls... and things aren't looking any better. In fact, it gets worse. The website, set up by mothers of teenage victims of the vaccine, claims that more than 100 girls have died in the US alone from the vaccine and thousands more suffered side effects. Serious adverse reactions have included deaths, convulsions, paralysis, seizures, autoimmune disorders, chronic fatigue, muscle and joint pain, anaphylaxic shock... and believe it or not, cervical cancer!

My question is this: is this vaccine really worth risking harmful and even potentially life-threatening side effects like these? Especially when you consider that, other than sexual abstinence, the BEST way to prevent cervical cancer is with regular smear tests. HPV is easily detected and treated when women have Pap smears. The HPV Test offers even greater assurance that the virus will be caught early.

So, get all the facts, gather as much information as you can and then decide for yourself if letting your daughter or granddaughter have this vaccine really is a safe option.

Please forward this message to all the parents and grandparents out there with teenage girls who may be considering (or being pushed into getting) the cervical cancer vaccine... You might just save a life!