Victims of severe side effects call for removal of HPV vaccine
In late October, Freda Birrell, a representative of the UK Association of HPV Vaccine Injured Daughters, called for the Scottish government to stop the administration of the Cervarix human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to girls until after a thorough discussion and investigation into the safety of the vaccine.
About a week later on Monday, Nov. 2, news broke of a story about a mother who claims that her daughter has suffered severe side effects as a result of being administered the Gardasil HPV vaccine and is now seeking to halt the Gardasil vaccine’s continued availability in her country, Ireland.
The mother, Fiona Kirby, is a nurse and part of a parents’ support group, REGRET (Reaction and Effects of Gardasil Resulting in Extreme Trauma), that alleges about 100 girls have experienced horrendous side effects as a result of this vaccine.
With all these allegations and accusations about the potentially dangerous and life-altering side effects, should girls and boys still be receiving the HPV vaccine, or should the administration of the HPV vaccine be stalled until further investigation can be done?
First, it is important to understand what a vaccine is and how it works. “Vaccines are generally inactivated or weakened versions of microbes that are introduced into the human body. These compounds trick the body into thinking that it’s a real infection.
In response to this injection, the adaptive immune response, which is consists of the humoral and cell-mediated branches of the immune system, produce cells and molecules that can be used later if you encounter the actually live version of the microbe that causes a particular disease,” explained Professor Craig Vierra, who holds a doctorate in biochemistry and serves as the chair of biological sciences at University of the Pacific.
The HPV vaccine in particular helps protect against cervical cancer; Gardasil’s three-dose vaccination protects against strains that compose 90 percent of HPV-related cancers.
The HPV infection is also common with about 9 in every 10 people getting infected at some point in their lives.
In the United States, the HPV vaccine was first licensed in 2006 and initially only recommended for girls. However, in 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started recommending the HPV vaccination for boys as well.
Potential life-threatening side effects include severe stomach pain, swollen glands, chest pain, shortness of breath and fever, among others.
Although the vaccine does have potentially dangerous side effects, these side effects are statistically rare, and CDC studies have concluded that all HPV vaccines are not only safe and effective but also recommended.
In these two extreme cases, even if the vaccine did cause and contribute to these traumatic side effects, this anti-vaccine approach and attempt to remove the vaccine off the market are misguided.
Vaccines are not only about protecting individuals against a certain virus but also about protecting the elderly, babies, people with cancer or autoimmune diseases or anyone else that is most likely to be harmed by the disease or cannot get a vaccine.
“Once most people in a population are vaccinated, it creates what is called a herd immunity. Herd immunity is where individuals in a population who have not been vaccinated are protected because the majority of individuals that have been vaccinated do not allow for the microbe to replicate itself,” told Vierra.
By arguing against general vaccination and refusing to vaccinate their own children, anti-vaccination advocates are undoing the hard work toward eradicating these diseases.
“Vaccines are very helpful in protecting the human population from dangerous diseases. Vaccines, simply put, save lives. There is a tremendous amount of data and information that clearly demonstrates this concept,” concluded Vierra.
Latest posts by Nanxi Tang (see all)
- The 58th Annual Grammy’s were a hit - February 28, 2016
- Trump appears as host on SNL - January 22, 2016
- Day in the Life of an Athlete: Angelique Santos ‘17 - January 22, 2016