By Kathleen Roberts
Gardasil was approved in 2006 for use as a vaccine to prevent a limited number of types of human papillomavirus, or HPV.
Supporters want to make this vaccine a requirement, but is it really a safe drug to inject into our children?
Many experts feel the potential for benefits are not worth the serious risks. This debate has been at the center of the Gardasil controversy since the vaccine hit the market.
There are over 100 types of HPV with about 15 types known to potentially cause certain types of cancer.
It is considered the most common of all sexually transmitted infections, though most people that are infected exhibit no symptoms and may not ever know they have it.
Using Gardasil to Guard Against HPV
Gardasil, manufactured by Merck, is intended to suppress only four of these strains of HPV. The hope is to protect girls from genital warts as well as cervical, vaginal and anal cancers and to protect boys from genital warts, anal cancer and penile cancer.
The FDA is recommending that children as young as nine years old be vaccinated against this sexually transmitted disease. (1)
According to the CDC, 20 million people are infected with HPV, with 6 million becoming infected each year.
Of these, 12,000 women will get cervical cancer each year, 1500 will get vulvar cancer, 500 will get vaginal cancer and 2700 will get anal cancer. In men, 400 will get penile cancer and 1500 will get anal cancer. (2)
Vaccination may seem like a good idea, until you realize that most cases of HPV clear up on their own, and rarely progress into cancer.
In addition, these types of cancer are not always caused by HPV. Your child could be vaccinated and still end up with one of these rare cancers.
According to New Scientist magazine, the overall effectiveness is not known and won’t be known for decades. So getting the vaccination is not a promise of protection. It is just a maybe. (3)
And this possible protection may not last, so children and young adults could still be vulnerable to cancers and be exposed to side effects of a vaccine that may or may not be helpful.
In fact, it could be far from helpful. It could be deadly.