Harper admits that the rollout of Gardasil and Cervarix were preceded by a fear driven marketing campaign that led to many girls becoming anxious that they be ‘one less’ victim of cervical cancer. In reality we know that this large worldwide cohort of teenagers who are vaccinated with HPV vaccines are extremely unlikely to ever be affected by cervical cancer.
In Australia there are 900 women diagnosed with the disease annually with the death toll at around 200 women a year. And it needs to be said that most of these women are in the older demographic-very few are young women. The campaign aimed at parents and teenagers worldwide did not mention that there are likely to be boosters required. For if there is any protection against the human papilloma virus from the vaccine it has only been shown to last around 5 years.
I was disappointed with her interview in that for the most part she appeared to defend the trials which surely are not defendable in that they were not conducted using an inert placebo and also because the vaccine was fast-tracked before trials were completed.
Harper makes the point that if a young women is already infected with HPV when she is vaccinated she can still develop cervical cancer because the vaccine won’t stop infection that is already there. If a woman decides to have the vaccine then it needs to be given before HPV infection. But how would you know if you have been infected with HPV? Women are not offered a pre-test to determine their HPV status prior to vaccination.
She strongly defended the need for women to continue to have Pap smears even if they are vaccinated. This is not happening. A UK study of large numbers of HPV vaccinated women found that Pap smear screening has decreased among the young women in the 20 plus age group and that only 26% of them are screened. And of these women who were vaccinated and had a smear test, 14-15% had an abnormal smear. These results are similar in Australia. Harper states that these young women need to be advised that even if they are vaccinated they still need a Pap smear.
Her message is that the marketing campaign waged by Merck, the media and health officials has resulted in what she calls ‘reduced good behaviour’ on the part of women and that women are now falling behind in their Pap smear tests. No good blaming women. The public has been told that this vaccine will prevent cervical cancer so why should they be chastised for not keeping up with the bothersome Pap smears.
There is so much wrong with this HPV vaccination program – particularly since it is not needed. There is no proof that this vaccine has ever prevented a case of cervical cancer anywhere. And the mess is there for all to see. Thousands of previously active teenagers ill after Gardasil.
Will we also see an increase in cervical cancer now that changes have been made to the Pap smear program? In Australia the successful Pap smear program has been replaced with an HPV test.
Will the new test pick up the abnormal smears of the HPV vaccinated women? They may not test positive for HPV and in that case their precancerous lesions or early cancer may be missed. If the Pap smear program was promoted and used these changes would be found early and treated.
We should be heeding Dr Harper’s warning about the continued need for the Pap smear and not be heading down this unknown path of HPV testing which began on December 1, 2017.