The Controversial HPV Vaccine: Is it Saving People or Killing Them?

Both sides are passionate about the issue, which has become as polarized as any political hot topic. One side says that the HPV vaccination (specifically the Gardisil vaccine) is safe, and that it’s vital to ending cervical and other cancers associated with the human papilloma virus (HPV). The other side says it’s harming, and even killing, healthy teenage kids and has no place in preventative medicine. Is either side correct, or could both sides be missing the mark?

A heated debate has arisen between health officials and anti-vaccination activists over the safety of HPV vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) say it’s safe. Opponents say it’s crippling and killing children. Take a closer look at each side of the controversy below, and then decide for yourself.

The Official Stance

According to the CDC, vaccines like Gardasil are safe and effective against many HPV strains responsible for cancer. The CDC recommends girls and boys both receive the vaccine before they become sexually active. The World Health Organization (WHO) has a similar stance. It estimates over 270 million doses of HPV vaccines have been administered, with no verified adverse events beyond “rare reports of anaphylaxis.” The WHO has also investigated reports of autoimmune responses to the vaccine, but hasn’t found any link between the two.

The Other Stance

Some people believe vaccines pose a far greater threat than the CDC and the WHO are willing to admit. They assert the HPV vaccine is responsible for numerous injuries and deaths, and that the CDC is ignoring important data. Research backing these claims is scarce, but one study shows the vaccine may cause two cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) for every 100,000 injections. Another study found 0.1-0.2 cases of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis for every 100,000 injections.

A rare phenomenon called molecular mimicry could be responsible. Molecular mimicry occurs when the presence of proteins from bacteria or viruses confuse the immune system. This can make your immune cells turn on your own body, leading to autoimmune disease. For example, Epstein-Barr virus may trigger some cases of systemic lupus and multiple sclerosis, and a strain of strep could be responsible for some cases of psoriasis. It is possible proteins found in the HPV vaccine could trigger GBS and similar autoimmune responses affecting the nervous system. This is still under debate.

The Bottom Line

It’s likely that the CDC is ignoring a possible threat -- but also that anti-vaccination activists have blown that threat out of proportion. Risk factors could predispose certain people to have these rare reactions. They’re drugs; reactions sometimes happen with drugs. Research into risk factors could help more people who aren’t at risk vaccinate more confidently, with those predisposed to certain disorders advised to opt out without judgment.

Vaccines have done wonders for disease control, but they have also likely harmed some people along the way. Researchers and activists might be able to find some common ground between them if only each could adjust the angle of their viewpoint a little. Creating and maintaining herd immunity is important, but so is protecting every person who could have a rare reaction. And since we are talking about a virus (HPV) that is usually harmless and goes away by itself, and only in rare cases can lead to cancers or genital warts, it's understandable why many would question the need for a vaccine in this case. Until we have more definitive answers about the connections between the HPV vaccines and GBS and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, the controversy will continue.

~ Here’s to Your Health and Wellness

3/2/2019 10:00:00 PM
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I think the CDC is going way over board with the vaccines.
The vaccines that are supposed to be givin by weight size. Babies no matter what there weight size get the same amount of vaccine. I think giving babies all these shots are more damaging then letting them catching the disease and let it run its course.
We have done fine all these years without all these shots. People don’t realize that a babies immune system is to weak to handle all these shots. How does the CDC no that all these diseases are working? Autism has risen , 1-58 children have some type of ASD. Vaccines may help some but not for everyone. There are just to many factors that we need to know about that the CDCisnt going to tell us. We as parenents need to have the right to decide what goes into our children’s bodies. Educate yourselves and then decide.
Posted by Arlene
There seems to be an ever-growing fear campaign (mostly by people with no medical qualifications) to spread the idea that vaccines are inherently bad. Sadly, this is causing a growing resurgence of diseases that were once nearly eradicated! What's worse is this spread is becoming pandemic and could cause a disaster that exceeds the 'black plague.' To those who say they 'have the right' to self determination I say, Yes, you DO. But when your 'self-determination' endangers the populace, it is no longer you right. When it becomes a matter of injuring or killing others, society's rights trump yours. I'm sure you wouldn't want one of MY kids causing YOUR children severe and possibly lethal illnesses.
Posted by David
The same can be said for Repatha. That's a drug you inject yourself with to lower cholesterol. Being allergic to statins, I was told this would be the perfect drug for me. That no one had ever had an adverse reaction to it. After 3 injections , I struggle daily to breath. Have so much edema in my feet and legs that I have to go barefoot most of the time. Body aches and joint stiffness so bad I use a walker at times and always have to use a cane if no walker. Before this, u was an active carpenter, climbing ladders, roofs and walking on floor stringers n roof trusses. Now I'm lucky if I don't trip over a dust bunny. FDA doesn't care about your health, just big pharma lining the pockets of its shareholders
Posted by Bishop J
I know someone who has lived with this dx for years & it is not harmless. The effects can be catastrophic.
Posted by Suzanne
There appears to be enough evidence on the pro side to justify making the vaccine available. There also appears to be enough evidence on the con side that the heavy hand of government should not force anyone to take the vaccine.

In addition to the specific problems noted in the article, there are possible long term effects for all vaccines which will take decades to come to light, and even then only if studies are funded. Unless there are truly overwhelming reasons to force vaccines, they should be optional and school attendance should not be conditional on taking them.
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