Are these young people and their parents being properly informed that the co-inventor of the technology enabling the HPV vaccines, Professor Ian Frazer, has acknowledged that the risk of cancer associated with the HPV virus is very low?
“Through sexual activity, most of us will get infected with the genital papillomaviruses that can cause cancer. Fortunately, most of us get rid of them between 12 months to five years later without even knowing we’ve had the infection. Even if the infection persists, only a few individuals accumulate enough genetic mistakes in the virus-infected cell for these to acquire the properties of cancer cells”.
If only “a few individuals accumulate enough genetic mistakes in the virus-infected cell for these to acquire the properties of cancer cells”, is it really justifiable to coerce mass populations of children to have HPV vaccination, particularly as the long-term consequences of the HPV vaccine are unknown?
The Australian National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) website notes: “HPV infection is very common and in most people it clears up naturally in about 8-14 months…Genital HPV is so common that it could be considered a normal part of being a sexually active person. Most people will have HPV at some time in their lives and never know it…” The NCSP website highlights that: “It is important to remember that most women who have HPV clear the virus naturally and do not go on to develop cervical cancer.”
It’s interesting to note that the Gardasil HPV vaccine was originally rejected by the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) in 2006.
An article by Matthew Stevens in The Australian at the time, reports the PBAC rejected Gardasil because it was “too expensive and, just maybe, not what it was cracked up to be anyway”. Apparently, Tony Abbott, then the Australian Federal Health Minister “took to the airwaves, passing on PBAC’s concerns about the efficacy of Gardasil and even floating the bizarre idea that a misplaced confidence in the effectiveness of the vaccine might actually result in “an increase in cancer rates”.”
According to Matthew Stevens very interesting report in The Australian, it took just 24 hours for the then Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, to “put an end to the nonsense”, delivering “sparkling prime ministerial endorsement to Gardasil along with a clear direction to Minister Abbott that the immunisation program should proceed. And pronto.”
So is this how important decisions on vaccination practice are made? On the whim of a Prime Minister in pre-electioneering mode? John Howard’s wife had cervical cancer. Did this personal experience affect Howard’s decision? Was this appropriate considering the complexity of the issue in regards to low risk of cancer, controversy re appropriate age for cervical cancer screening etc?
What sort of lobbying took place to overturn the PBAC’s original decision to reject Gardasil?
This decision to add HPV vaccination to the Australian vaccination program for both girls and boys will impact on millions of children around the world.
Getting a vaccine on the national schedule must be the ‘golden goose’ for vaccine manufacturers as this assures a mass market for their vaccine product. It also helps create a ‘domino’ effect as other countries follow suit and adopt the vaccine, creating a mass global market.
No wonder Ian Frazer was willing to forego royalties from developing countries – how much profit will he reap from sales of the vaccine to governments in developed countries?
The case for universal HPV vaccination is unconvincing, and the motives for its promotion are suspect. It’s time there was an investigation into the aggressive marketing of the HPV vaccine.
For more information, read my detailed letter forwarded to Chris Mitchell, Editor-in-Chief of The Australian newspaper, on this topic: “Is universal HPV vaccination necessary?”