Medwatcher Japan takes on GAVCS

SaneVax-FeaturedBy Norma Erickson

Gardasil and Cervarix: The medical consumer safety group Medwatcher Japan and the GAVCS (Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety) are at odds regarding HPV vaccine safety, efficacy and need. Medwatcher also made allegations of scientific misconduct and coercion on the part of GAVCS.

Gardasil and Cervarix were included in Japan’s national immunization program for only six weeks in 2013 before government health officials rescinded their recommendation for HPV vaccine use due to the high rate of serious adverse events being reported following vaccine administration. This decision set off a firestorm of controversy that shows no sign of rapid resolution. (More information here)

Pharmaceutical companies, vaccine stakeholders and international health authorities such as GAVCS declare HPV vaccines safe and effective while dismissing the reported adverse events as coincidence, hysteria, or downright lies. These groups continue to push for increased vaccine uptake in Japan claiming lives will be lost if vaccine uptake is not strong.

Scientists, medical professionals and HPV vaccine survivor groups say a temporal relationship between HPV vaccines and excessive adverse events exists which warrants acknowledgement and independent investigation. They believe regardless of what caused the new medical conditions, the girls deserve recognition and treatment for their symptoms. They believe HPV vaccine administration should be halted until such time as efficacy can be established and safety issues are resolved.

The most recent development in this ongoing debate was the following announcement published by Medwatcher Japan on 2 November 2016:

Medwatcher Japan submitted “Refutation of GACVS (Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety) statement on Safety of HPV vaccine on December17, 2015” to WHO on November 2, 2016.

Medwatcher Japan firmly rejects as flawed and totally unacceptable the Committee’s “Statement on Safety of HPV Vaccines: 17 December 2015”.

The GACVS statement not only exhibits an incorrect understanding of the situation in Japan but also reveals a mistaken assessment of the risk-benefit balance of this vaccine.

Moreover, the WHO has clearly overstepped its mandate by publically criticizing Japan’s policy decision to withdraw active support for HPV vaccination, and by mischaracterizing that decision as being based on “weak evidence…that can result in real harm”. This attempt to coerce Japan, in the public arena, into adopting a fundamentally flawed and misguided vaccination policy goes against the very fundamentals of national health policy-making-;namely that appropriate preventive measures should be established by each individual country taking into account the state of disease prevalence, hygienic environment, education, and economic status in that country.

Refutation of the Committee’s statement is detailed in the following document with respect to AE reporting, data collection and analysis, composition of the National Expert Committee, the Genetic basis of autoimmunity, and correct understanding of relative risk reduction (RRR) versus actual risk reduction (ARR).

Medwatcher Japan strongly urges the members of GACVS to refrain from making coercive statements about Japan’s national health policy-making and to reconsider the safety of HPV vaccines after actually conducting their own investigation into the symptoms following HPV vaccination. (see original article here) (read the entire complaint here)

Here is an excerpt from the GAVCS Statement on Safety of HPV vaccines, issued 17 December 2015 to which Medwatcher Japan was responding:

The circumstances in Japan, where the occurrence of chronic pain and other symptoms in some vaccine recipients has led to suspension of the proactive recommendation for routine use of vaccine in the national immunization program, warrants additional comment. Review of clinical data by the national expert committee led to a conclusion that symptoms were not related to the vaccine, but it has not been possible to reach consensus to resume HPV vaccination. As a result, young women are being left vulnerable to HPV-related cancers that otherwise could be prevented. As GACVS has noted previously, policy decisions based on weak evidence, leading to lack of use of safe and effective vaccines, can result in real harm5. (Read the entire statement here.)

Theoretically, this battle could go on indefinitely. What is anyone supposed to believe when health authorities say one thing and the evidence in front of your face indicates something entirely different? This is exactly the situation parents throughout Japan, and the rest of the world for that matter, are faced with. It is no different for the medical professionals who are trying to treat all of the mysterious new medical conditions appearing after HPV vaccine administration. The evidence in front of their face every day does not support what the vaccine stakeholders are telling everyone.

What now?

First, everyone must understand science is a process by which knowledge is gained using observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena. Science is an evolutionary process, never a settled issue.

Second, everyone has to remember families are suffering. Thousands of children are experiencing debilitating new medical conditions no one seems to be able to explain. They deserve honest medical assessment and appropriate medical treatments regardless of what the ultimate cause is determined to be.

Third, the longer health authorities ignore the problem the less trust people have in the agencies they represent. This issue needs resolution. Families will not tolerate years of battling the details in the press. They need help now.

Fourth, it is painfully obvious health authorities are doing little to maintain or restore public trust.

Time for political representatives to step up?

Medwatcher Japan is an organization of consumer advocates, medical, legal and scientific experts dedicated to monitoring and preventing drug-induced disasters. By bringing the issue out in the open, they have made the first step toward avoiding what could very well turn out to be a huge drug-induced disaster.

Now it is time for politicians to take the lead. After all, they have been elected to protect and serve those who put them in office. Will they take any of the following steps to help solve the problem?

  • Hold open public scientific debates between scientists/medical professionals representing the manufacturers of HPV vaccines and scientific/medical professionals concerned about the safety, efficacy or need for HPV vaccines.
  • Establish independent scientific and/or medical teams to investigate any unresolved concerns arising from said debates.
  • Establish medical teams to thoroughly examine anyone with new medical conditions after HPV vaccine administration.
  • Establish medical teams to develop successful treatment protocols for those with new medical conditions.

The time for pretending there is no problem is long past. If concrete actions are not taken soon all hope of restoring the public’s faith in national and international health authorities will be gone forever.

Read this article in Spanish here.

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