Media Release 19 October 2012
Family First NZ says that new evidence has demolished claims of safety and effectiveness of the HPV Vaccine, and the government is wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on a vaccine that is unproven.
A systematic review of pre- and post-licensure trials of the HPV vaccine by a Canadian team shows that its effectiveness is not only overstated through the use of selective reporting or “cherry picking” data, but also completely unproven.
The study by the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of British Columbia says[i]:
“The widespread optimism regarding HPV vaccines long-term benefits appears to rest on a number of unproven assumptions (or such which are at odd with factual evidence) and significant misinterpretation of available data. For example, the claim that HPV vaccination will result in approximately 70% reduction of cervical cancers is made despite the fact that the clinical trials data have not demonstrated to date that the vaccines have actually prevented a single case of cervical cancer (let alone cervical cancer death), nor that the current overly optimistic surrogate marker-based extrapolations are justified. Likewise, the notion that HPV vaccines have an impressive safety profile is only supported by highly flawed design of safety trials and is contrary to accumulating evidence from vaccine safety surveillance databases and case reports which continue to link HPV vaccination to serious adverse outcomes (including death and permanent disabilities).”
They conclude that “further reduction of cervical cancers might be best achieved by optimizing cervical screening (which carries no such risks) and targeting other factors of the disease rather than by the reliance on vaccines with questionable efficacy and safety profiles.”
“At the moment, students are being proselytized with unbalanced information through their schools or government organisations, and parents are being bullied into an uninformed response,” saysBob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“Significantly, figures released in Australia last year show that the number of Australian women killed by cervical cancer has halved since the introduction, not of Gardasil, but of the national screening program a decade ago.”
A recent report in the New York Times pointed out the vaccines have been studied for a relatively short period — both were licensed in 2006 and have been studied in clinical trails for at most six and a half years. Researchers have not yet demonstrated how long the immunity will last, or whether eliminating some strains of cancer-causing virus will decrease the body’s natural immunity to other strains.
A Harvard study also concluded that it might make more economic sense to rely on Pap smear screening alone which has effectively reduced cervical cancer death rates to very low levels.
“By spending $177m on this vaccine, there is less money available for other health issues including drugs like herceptin and heart disease medication,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“It seems that the government has been a victim of aggressive marketing worldwide by the vaccine makers with many questions regarding its effectiveness still unanswered – including its duration of protection, potential side-effects, and its cost effectiveness. Regular pap smears are still necessary and have been proved to be most effective in the fight against cervical cancer.”