In an unprecedented move last November, the CDC announced they were reducing the number of doses of recommended HPV vaccine from 3 doses to 2 AND warning doctors to wait longer before giving the second dose. The 3-dose series has been the existing recommendation for nearly a decade, and on the current CDC schedule, which advises 70 doses of vaccines for all children, the HPV vaccine is recommended for all boys and girls 11 to 18 years old.

They say the reduced recommendation is to gain better compliance, but the reality is the CDC may have been overdosing American teens by putting the first two doses too close together, triggering severe neurological and autoimmune reactions. Research has shown that most severe side effects occurred after that second dose (given only 1 month after the first). And now the CDC has found that three doses, which they had been advising for 10 years, has no better efficacy – only more side effects. Isn’t this information something that should have been discovered during initial safety testing? And is there a chance there are unnecessary doses of other vaccines on the CDC schedule that may be causing more harm with no actual benefit?

HPV vaccine was designed to protect against sexually-transmitted genital warts and cervical cancer, and it was originally approved as three doses over a 6-month time frame. But the CDC’s efforts to get the American public to accept this vaccine over the past decade have been met with resistance: only 42% of teen girls and 28% of teen boys complete the three-dose series. One of the biggest reasons most families say no to this vaccine is the rising controversy over severe neurological and autoimmune side effects — injuries which have prompted lawsuits against the manufacturers in other countries where pharmaceutical companies aren’t protected against litigation like they are in the United States.

Parents who investigate the HPV vaccine discover some concerning facts:

  • The number of reported adverse reactions in the United States alone is alarming: over 40,000 reactions to this vaccine have been reported to VAERS so far, with at least 4,000 classified as serious (causing a hospitalization or permanent disability) and 225 of them fatal. The makers of the vaccine, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, are facing mass lawsuits for damages in other countries, including Japan where 1600 serious reactions have already been reported. Researchers are publishing their concerns about hundreds of patients who have suffered debilitating neurological and autoimmune reactions, most occurring after that second dose given so close to the first. And now some nations are questioning whether the HPV vaccine is safe enough to even keep on their vaccine schedule at all.
  • The vaccine was fast-tracked through the FDA safety testing process. Dr. Diane Harper, the lead researcher for Merck’s Gardasil vaccine (the first HPV vaccine to be approved in 2006), has been critical of the very vaccine that she investigated for Merck. She and her colleagues originally scheduled a four-year clinical trial to verify the vaccine was both safe and effective. But after only 15 months of clinical research, Merck convinced the FDA to fast-track the vaccine and skip most of the steps in the study. Six months later the vaccine was approved. Maybe this is why they missed the dangers of that second dose?

So why is the CDC now recommending a reduced schedule for younger teens? According to the CDC, the change is intended to make it easier to complete the series. Dr. Maldonado, vice-chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases, says:

“We want to make sure children are up to date on their vaccines and . . . the two-dose HPV schedule is certainly much easier and should hopefully lead to more compliance.”

Compliance has also been used as the reasoning behind giving infants so many vaccine doses at each doctor visit. Babies receive as many as 8 doses at each wellness check up in their first year—2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12 months.

But here are the important questions regarding HPV:

If two doses are just as effective as three, why recommend three doses in the first place, especially for a vaccine that costs $120 per dose (the highest of the childhood vaccine schedule)? And would they have discovered this error if they had completed the full four years of safety/efficacy research instead of fast-tracking the vaccine? The new schedule recommends 6 to 12 months between the two doses. Are they increasing the time between doses to reduce the number of severe neurological reactions? Couldn’t they have discovered that if they had stuck to the four-year safety study? And more concerning, could this also be true for other vaccines?

Asking questions about whether or not vaccines are truly “safe and effective” doesn’t make you anti-vaccine. You have the right to know.

 

Resources:

Facts on HPV disease and vaccine reactions

Motor and sensory clinical findings in girls vaccinated against the human papillomavirus from Carmen de Bolivar, Colombia.

 

Dr. Harper discusses Merck’s fast-tracked research

Countries with lawsuits and questions about safety:
Criminal complaints filed in Spain against HPV vaccine manufacturers

945-million-yen lawsuit filed in Japan against HPV vaccine maker

Denmark skeptical about safety of HPV vaccine