Some years after my bout with cervical cancer, news emerged of a cervical cancer vaccine called Gardasil. I was intrigued and immediately started researching it. Nothing about my initial investigation interested me. Not only did it POSSIBLY cover only a small percentage of the numerous HPV strands, the virus that is said to lead to cervical cancer, but they were pushing it as something all pre-teen girls should be required to get. Possibly? Moreover, at that time, there had only been a small 2-year span between the vaccine’s creation and its introduction to the consumer market. Typically, it takes 20 years of formulating, testing, re-formulating, re-testing, and more before a drug makes it to market. What was the rush?
Though I had been personally touched by cervical cancer, I had so many problems with this drug. I would never want a woman to experience anything I experienced with so many doctors visits, such intrusive exams, and eventually surgery. Any drug, any lifestyle change, any anything to avoid that I would shout about from the rooftops. Instead I found myself speaking out against this vaccine. As my daughter got older doctors would encourage it. I said, “NO!” Advocates would promote it. I asked questions they were not prepared or educated enough to answer. I challenged counselors, nurse practitioners, any one who was pushing this vaccine.
In the meantime, reports of girls getting sick, forming blood clots, even dying after receiving the vaccine emerged giving further cause for concern. Yet, a midst it all, local politicians began beating the Gardasil drum threatening to make it a mandatory vaccine for 11-year old middle school girls to start the school year. I thought, “This is madness.”
It especially made no sense since, initially, they were only vaccinating the girls. If HPV is sexually transmitted, and there is a vaccine against it, why not vaccinate all; girls, boys, and adults? Because the sensitivity of cervical cancer is more marketable to parents of daughters than they are of those with sons, that is why. I determined it was and is definitely NOT for my daughter. Why? First, I parent her. I educate her giving her the information she needs to make choices that will decrease, if not eliminate, her risk of HPV exposure. Secondly, there is now someone shouting from the rooftops that this entire HPV vaccine push was just another drug company agenda masked by concern for the future reproductive health for of our daughters and the drug IS dangerous.
One of the lead safety researchers of the vaccine is speaking out about Gardasil. She speaks of its ineffectiveness after a few year and goes as far as to say, “enough serious side effects have been reported after Gardasil use that the vaccine could prove riskier than the cervical cancer it purports to prevent.” Really? Vaccines have done a lot to protect us from diseases that have devastated entire populations. I am not anti-vaccine. I am against using something so serious and intimate to a woman and mother as cervical cancer and potential infertility, to push dangerous drugs on our daughters.
Be informed not just about Gardasil but about everything concerning your child. Know their friends, research their diagnoses, follow their interests…everything. They are too important to leave things concerning them to chance. For more information on what the researcher had to say about this specific drug, click HERE. For more information about your child: Step 1: Talk to them. Step 2: Listen.