Perhaps the latter sentiment may be regarded as baseless speculation, but as we shall see after this section, there are a number of researchers whose view supports such a sentiment. Nonetheless, here is the report made available by the mainstream media in 2009:
CDC and FDA researchers wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association that problems such as fainting and nausea remained rare among females who received Gardasil and the vaccine did not appear to be causing unusual side effects. The researchers said 32 deaths were listed in a government database that collects reports of health problems seen in people after vaccination. The reports show only that a patient became ill or died after receiving a vaccine, not that a vaccine was the cause. The FDA and CDC statement said 'concerns have been raised about' the reports of deaths of people who received Gardasil. 'There was not a common pattern to the deaths that would suggest they were caused by the vaccine,' the agencies said. Also, 'there is no evidence that Gardasil has increased the rate of' Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that causes muscle weakness, the agencies said. ("Update 2: U.S. health officials back safety of Merck vaccine")
That review was followed by this one from the pages of Financial Times -- a publication that is telling of the way in which corporate America and public health institutions go hand in hand: "We are confident in the safety profile of Gardasil,' said Pam Eisele, a Merck spokeswoman. 'Leading health organisations throughout the world have reviewed all the safety information available and continue to recommend its use'" ("Merck Rejects Bachmann Vaccine Claims"). This article appeared, of course, after the GOP primary debate in which Michelle Bachmann accused Rick Perry of taking bribes from big pharma to push new drugs onto an unsuspecting public -- vaccines for HPV being among them.
Negative Reviews: Attacks on Merck's Research
Negative reviews have arisen to tell the other side of the story of Gardasil. It appears, based on the research by Wendy McMahon, that there are too many political facets to the promotion of Gardasil -- and not enough scientific evidence to back its claims. McMahon's research, based on several peer reviewed articles as well as the discussions involving "political actions to either promote or prevent a school entry Gardasil mandate," finds that "Gardasil should not be mandated for young girls entering the sixth grade as further studies must be done to ensure the safety and efficacy of the vaccine" (McMahon 1).
Susan Brinkmann is one researcher who has not bought the story that Gardasil can and does do everything it is promoted as doing. In fact, Brinkmann notes Dr. Diane Harper, "lead researcher in the development of two human papilloma virus vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix," as saying that the new drugs "will do little to reduce cervical cancer rates and, even though they're being recommended for girls as young as nine, there have been no efficacy trials in children under the age of 15" (Brinkmann). Here, for example, is a case where a physician speaking at the 4th International Public Conference on Vaccination -- and placed on a panel designed to give support for the vaccine -- actually does the opposite and promotes a view that is negative in regard to Gardasil. "I came away from the talk with the perception that the risk of adverse side effects is so much greater than the risk of cervical cancer, I couldn't help but question why we need the vaccine at all,' said Joan Robinson, Assistant Editor at the Population Research Institute" (Brinkmann). How exactly could that be?
It appears that because Gardasil is so new to the market, the efficacy trials that Dr. Harper speaks of (as in being nonexistent) require simply more time to bear any evidence regarding the claims of Merck, the maker of Gardasil. This physician who was elected to stump for the vaccination actually voices a concern in favor of those who harbor suspicions concerning both the drug and the pharmaceutical agencies that produce such drugs and them push them onto the public claiming miraculous cures of cancer and such. The fact is that there exists little evidence to support such a claim. Big pharma can get away with it because it essentially practices scare tactics.
The scare tactics in this case refer to the idea that if you do not have your children vaccinated with Gardasil, you are putting them at risk for developing cancer. Never mind the fact that Gardasil only attacks 4 types of HPV and that there exist nearly 200 types. Never mind the fact that vaccination may lure children into a false sense of security. Never mind the moral qualms that parents may have regarding such a vaccination: (for example, does it promote sexual activity among pre-adolescents and foster in them a knowledge of intercourse before an appropriate age has been reached?). Such discussions are entirely off the books when it comes to the FDA, the CDC and companies like Merck who are in the business of manufacturing and selling drugs -- not curing cancer. That business belongs to another department entirely.
In conclusion, the pros and cons of the use of Gardasil as a vaccination may be considered in the following light: Gardasil is an incredibly new drug that has produced no efficacy trials with regard to girls under the age of 15 -- but has produce several reports of adverse side effects (even death), although the FDA and CDC deny any relation between such effects and the use of Gardasil. Physicians, nonetheless, have been outspoken about the claims that Gardasil's manufacturer, Merck, makes: these claims are overwhelmingly positive. But are they believable? The fact that there is still much room for doubt is what leads one to point to the cons with regard to the use of Gardasil: it may not even do what it claims -- and in fact it may be more destructive when it comes to the moral upbringing of the children who receive it.
Amiya, N. "Va Vaccines for human papillomavirus infection: A critical analysis." Publikationsansicht. 2009. Web. 15 Oct 2011.
Brinkman, S. "Gardasil Researcher Drops a Bombshell." The Bulletin. 2009. Web. 15
"Gardasil Vaccine Safety." FDA. 2009. Web. 15 Oct 2011.