Drug Company Puts Lives at Risk by Mary Beth Bonacci
rlington Catholic Herald, February 19-25, 2009
Reprinted With Permission


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I’m usually not the kind of person to say “I told you so.”  But in this case, I’m more than happy to make an exception.


Two years ago, I wrote an article called “A Virus that Causes Cancer?”  In it, I discussed the then-new vaccine Gardasil, which helps protect women against the HPV virus, a sexually transmitted organism that can lead to cervical cancer.  Several states were in the process of mandating the vaccine – for girls as young as 11 – under intense pressure from Merck’s lobbying efforts.


I pointed out that early signs were not good, with a high number of reported side effects including fainting, loss of vision and seizures.  More important, I noted that there had been absolutely no studies on the long-term safety of the vaccine.  Given the highly preventable nature of HPV-related cervical cancer, I thought it was senseless – downright dumb – to expose young girls to these kinds of risks.


I received a lot of feedback from that article.  Some thanked me.  Others re-posted and re-published it in outer sources.  But many, many people wrote to argue with me.  Girls are going to have sex no matter what we do.  We need to protect them.  What kind of freakish 1950s era time warp do I live in?


One doctor wrote an impassioned letter defending her practice of vaccinating her young female patients with Gardasil.  She wrote about the critical importance of Gardasil in protecting our young women’s futures – and acknowledged almost as an aside that yes, there are still questions about the long-term safety of the vaccine.


That was then.  Let us fast forward two years.


I was flipping around the TV channels the other night and for some reason I stopped on the CBS Evening News.  (Must’ve been the Holy Spirit, because I’m generally not a big network news fan.)  Soon I was watching a feature story entitled “New Worries about Gardasil Safety.”


The piece started with a very sweet-looking young girl, Gabby Swank, who got the vaccine because “we felt almost pressured by the commercials.”  Afterward, she got sicker and sicker, eventually suffering seizures, strokes and severe heart problems.  She is now too sick to even attend school.  Next we went to a heartsick mother, Emily Tarsell, whose daughter Christ wasn’t as “lucky” as Gabby.  Chris died after receiving the vaccine.


Chris is not alone.  Twenty-nine deaths have been reported from the Gardasil vaccine.  Twenty nine deaths.  It almost makes me cry just to write it.  Twenty nine young women’s lives have been cut short, all because a drug manufacturer convinced them that a vaccine would “protect” them.


And among the living, the carnage continues.  A recent study by the National Vaccine Information Center compared Gardasil’s side effects to another vaccine given to patients in the same age group.  Gardasil led to three times (that’s 300 percent) more emergency room visits, five times (500 percent) more fatalities, and 30 times (3,000 percent) more side effects.  And these are not minor side effects.  We’re talking stokes, heart episodes, lupus, paralysis.


Young girls seem to be winding up permanently disabled.  If you want to see for yourself, just google “Gardasil video” to see young girl after young girl who has dad to give up sports, social life and even attending school because of Gardasil-induced health problems.


In the meantime Merck, Gardasil’s manufacturer, is standing by their product.  Last July, when 15 young women had died from the vaccine, Mereck said it believed that “no safety issue related to the vaccine has been identified.”  No statement to the contrary has been issued by Merck as of this writing, and their Gardasil Web site continues to encourage young women – and their parents – to avail themselves of the vaccine.  Incredibly, Merck is now petitioning the FDA to be allowed to inject boys with the vaccine, because they may be carriers of the virus.


All of this makes me really, really mad.  This about putting profits (in Merck’s case) and ideology (in the case of many of Gardasil’s advocates) over the lives and health of young, innocent women (and, if Merck gets their way, men).


It would be one thing if we were vaccinating against some incurable deadly plague that was wiping out an entire generation.  The maybe the benefits would out-weigh the risks.  But neither HPV nor HPV-related cancers are the plague.  The virus is sexually transmitted, so abstinence  and marriage to an uninfected partner offers 100 percent protection.  But we don’t even need to tread into the treacherous waters of the “kids are going to do it anyway” debate to acknowledge that HPV-related deaths are extremely preventable.


We have pap smears.  Those lovely pap smears detect HPV-related warts and pre-cancerous changes to the cervix.  It is because of the pap smear that cervical cancer deaths declined 74 percent between 1955 and 1992 –the same time period wherein the rate of unmarried sexual activity was rising dramatically.  Those cervical cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society, continue to decline at a rate of about 4 percent a year.


We don’t need Gardasil to prevent cervical cancer.  Gardasil is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to an out and out pharmaceutical hoax foisted on American women under the guise of “pulbic health.”  It is dangerous and only exists on the market today as a testament to corporate greed and the “profits over people” mentality.


Please, do not allow yourself or your daughters to be injected with the Gardasil vaccine.  Tell others the same.  Spread the word.  Young lives may depend on it.

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