Gardasil, a vaccine manufactured and marketed by Merck Sharp & Dohme, Ltd, is marketed as a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. In fact, Gardasil is a vaccine to prevent the sexually-transmitted disease human papillomavirus or HPV. The vaccine prevents four types of HPV, two of which are thought to be associated with the development of cervical cancer and only occur in a very small percentage of patients. Since 2006, the vaccine has been suggested or indicated for girls ages nine to 26. Recently, it was approved for use in boys.
Gardasil came to our attention in spring 2007 when Merck began a huge push to make Gardasil mandatory for all girls between the ages 11 and 12 in the State of Texas. Though the efforts of Merck’s lobbyist failed in Texas, they have been successful in the District of Columbia and the State of Virginia. Other states mandate that information regarding Gardasil be given to girls near age 12. Over 25 million young women in the U.S. have been vaccinated with Gardasil.
Within the last year, our firm received calls from numerous mothers of young girls who, after receiving the vaccine, suffered debilitating adverse events. Healthy young girls after vaccination developed acute onset auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and others. Over 16,000 adverse events have been reported through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS). Of these adverse events, more than 50 have been deaths.
In addition, in recent months very disturbing information about the testing of the drug has come to light. Dr. Diane Harper, a leading expert on HPV, a Merck consultant, and a lead investigator for Gardasil, publicly expressed her concern that the vaccine has not been adequately tested for safety or effectiveness in girls under the age of 15. According to Dr. Harper, the practice of vaccinating girls 15 and younger is a “great big public health experiment.”
For many parents considering having their daughters (or sons) vaccinated, the risks of Gardasil may far outweigh the benefits. For those who have been vaccinated and are experiencing health problems such as seizures, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis, recourse may be available. If you need more information on Gardasil, contact Leigh O’Dell at 800-898-2034 or by email at Leigh.Odell@beasleyallen.com.
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