The chances of having a public debate about Gardasil, the HPV vaccine are getting slimmer by the day.
Polly Tommey, the co-producer of Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe an investigation into the Center of Disease Control’s (CDC) destruction of a study linking autism to the MMR vaccine was banned from Australia because officials felt she was a danger to “the health, safety or good order of the Australian community“. Tommey along with Dr Suzanne Humphries were part of a Vaxxed Down Under Tour organised by the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc (AVN) an organisation which takes a pro-choice position with regard to vaccination and other health decisions.
Speaking in New Zealand last week, Tommey told the press she would be appealing the Australian ban. She said: “I’m just a mother. They say the film, Vaxxed, is dangerous and anti-vaccine. They say I’m a danger but I’m travelling with a doctor and a scientist. The only thing Australia has done is make more people want to watch the film. The main thing is, I don’t understand why we aren’t just having a discussion about it.”
Polly’s last statement is so important. In Australia debate on any vaccine issue is not permitted. And this week was no exception. On August 10 the media reported that cervical cancer could be almost completely eliminated, research has found, thanks to a new vaccine. The news report referenced a study published in the International Journal of Cancer which found that the new HPV vaccine Gardasil 9 was protective against 93 % of cancers. The reporting continued throughout the evening with numerous health professionals and researchers preaching the merits of the latest HPV vaccine and urging young teenagers and even older women to get vaccinated so that they would not be a victim to cervical cancer.
But it is a very strange world we are in today. Infectious disease is definitely not allowed. Cervical cancer is to be avoided at all costs and the costs are high as demonstrated by the huge numbers of young people who are ill after Gardasil vaccination and many who have also died. This new vaccine Gardasil 9, said to be preventative against 9 sub types of human papilloma virus is very problematic. Not that the members of the public would know from the one-sided reporting that ensued from the announcement last week. Gardasil 9 contains more than twice the amount of aluminium, a neurotoxin, used as an adjuvant to stimulate the production of antibodies, than the current vaccine. Gardasil 9 also contains more antigens (the HPV LI proteins) with the total number increasing from 120 mcgs to 270 mcgs. How will additional antigens and more aluminium affect the health of these young people who are now told they need this new vaccine? But listeners to talk back radio and readers of the press were not informed as to the risks rather they were assured by the authoritative voice of the lead author and Medical Director of the National HPV Vaccination Program Register, Associate Professor Julia Brotherton who said: “We can now prevent cancer. You can stop your kids getting infected with this cancer-causing virus. It’s staggering.”
Parents of teenage children need facts not empty promises. We do not know if Gardasil 9 can prevent cervical cancer. And the important point is that Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccines have never been tested against cervical cancer outcomes. It can take decades from HPV infection to the development of cancer so researchers used a surrogate endpoint to support the conclusion that HPV vaccines might be preventative. The suitable surrogate end-point chosen was cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (CIN) grade 2/3 lesions, and adenocarcinoma in situ. This end-point was decided even though these precursor lesions are common in young women under 25 years and rarely progress to cancer. In sum, very few of these CIN 2 and 3 lesions in young women develop into cancer so it is difficult to support their use as end-points or markers. At the end of the month the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee PBAC will decide whether Gardasil 9 is listed on the Public Benefit Scheme, the PBS. If so it will replace Gardasil as the HPV vaccine to be given freely through the school vaccination program to teenage boys and girls.
But there will be no public debate on this move by the PBAC especially after the news today that the Australian Government has launched a $5.5 million immunisation education campaign to counter the views of the anti-vaccination lobby. What is this all about? Australia has a 93% vaccination rate. Would the $30 billion vaccination industry have anything to do with it? How do they sleep at night!