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Drugs & Devices > Gardasil

It's ugly looking news for the makers of Gardasil, a vaccine that is intended to guard against four strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). A blizzard of news reports are out today, regarding complaints involving the shot, which reportedly number over 8000, and include numerous reported cases of paralysis and at least 18 deaths. Meanwhile, the vaccine maker is standing by its product, and the Centers for Disease Control suggests there is no reason to believe the deaths are linked to Gardasil.

Shares for the maker of the vaccine, Merck, fell sharply today amid a worry over future Gardasil sales. The vaccine has apparently been a blockbuster for the ginormous drug manufacturer, as an estimated 8 million females have already received HPV vaccination via the companies product. Currently, they have the market cornered on vaccines of this nature, as Glaxo's Cervarix vaccine continues to face delays, it is not expected to win US approval until late 2009.

According to several news reports, information regarding adverse effects (or side effects) of the vaccine jab became available via the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) thanks to the Freedom of Information Act. Watchdog websites like Judicial Watch (Judicial Watch Uncovers New FDA Records) published reports with details on vaccine adverse reactions, which included 10 deaths since September of 2007 (and possibly as many as 20), 140 "serious" reports which are categorized as "life-threatening", 10 reports of spontaneous abortions, and six cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system), of which there is reportedly no known cure.

Amongst the "serious" reports made to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a case concerning a 23-year-old female who was vaccinated with her 1st dose of Gardasil on January 31 of 2008. The patient reportedly experienced anaphylactic shock 2 minutes after vaccination, which can be considered to be immediately life-threatening. Another involved a 14 year old female who suffered an immediate postinjection reaction. After receiving the shot, the young girl reportedly took 6 steps, fell to the ground unconscious and had a 60 second grand mal seizure.

Vaccine advocates will claim fear mongering and interference from preventing daughters dying of cervical cancer, while parents of those children that have suffered injuries (or death), or those believing this may be a huge medical experiment, will be increasingly calling for elected officials and public health representatives to be more transparent regarding the risks associated with vaccination programs such as the HPV and cervical cancer campaign.

Regardless of which side of the fence you may sit on, there's no questioning that soliciting expert advice and researching trusted resources is the way to go when deciding whether or not to vaccinate.

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