By Sandy Lunoe, Guest Author
The question does not in this instance refer to the worrying fact that many girls have fallen seriously ill after commencement of the HPV vaccine program. It concerns specifically whether the HPV vaccines are in fact efficacious for the target populations in Colombia. In other words:
Are the virus strains which are targeted by the vaccines prevalent in Colombian women?
If the vaccine related strains are not predominant, then it is imperative that the question be asked if the vaccination program is at all justified.
The high risk strains HPV 16 and 18 which are contained in the HPV vaccines are not necessarily predominant in all populations. According to a study on high-risk HPV infections in cancer-free Jamaican women different genotype distribution patterns are seen in many countries :( 1)
“The most important finding was that unlike the genotype distribution patterns seen in North America, Europe and some parts of Asia HPV types 16 and 18 were not the most common high-risk genotypes. In our population, HPV types 45 and 58 accounted for 40.5% of the genotypes. Other groups, e.g. Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba and parts of Africa have also reported different distributions of genotypes indicating that types 16 and 18 were not predominant in these populations. The recently developed prophylactic vaccines may therefore not be efficacious in our and similar populations”.
Prevalence of HPV strain types may vary even within regions in Colombia according to this study (2) which includes in the conclusion:
“HPV infection clearance in this study was related to factors such as infection type, viral load and the characteristics of the cities from which the women came”.
A study on HPV prevalence in Colombian women shows that predominance of specific HPV strains may not only vary according to the country but also according to age ranges within the country.
This article (3) refers to a study “HPV prevalence in Colombian women with cervical cancer: implications for vaccination in a developing country” which revealed significant age-specific HPV type differences. (4)
“A graph included in the above study – clearly shows that HPV 16 & 18 are not even prevalent in Colombian women until their mid-20s – long after vaccine efficacy has worn off if a girl is administered Gardasil or Cervarix in her adolescent years.”
The vaccination program should be immediately halted until it is investigated and clarified irrefutably that the specific virus strains which are targeted by the vaccines are actually prevalent in the Colombian girls regarding both the relevant age group and for all relevant regions.
The fact that many girls are ill after the vaccines is of deep concern. If in addition to this the vaccines do not target the relevant strains, and are thus not efficacious, it may well be a case of adding insult to injury. A tragic pun indeed.