By Aaron Derfel, Gazette Health Reporter
Critics doubt benefits for women up to age 45.
MONTREAL – Health Canada’s decision to approve the Gardasil vaccine for women up to the age of 45 has renewed the debate about the purported benefits of the shots and whether they might even be necessary.
Kirkland-based Merck, maker of Gardasil, announced that Health Canada has extended the vaccine’s indication beyond the existing 9-to-26-year-old female age group for the prevention of cervical cancer and genital warts caused by the human papillomavirus.
In a study commissioned by Merck in women 24 to 45 years old, Gardasil was reported to be almost 89 per cent effective against HPV infections that can lead to cervical cancer.
But McGill University epidemiologist Abby Lippman, a longtime critic of Gardasil, questioned the usefulness of the vaccine.
“For a lot of the older women in that age range, the vaccine may not be at all necessary,” Lippman said.
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