Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Safety of the HPV Vaccine (Gardasil)

There has been a lot of talk the past few years about the HPV vaccine Gardasil.  For some it has been a miracle and a lifesaver.  For others it is just another vaccination they aren't sure they need.  However for a vaccine conspiracy theorist like Lowell Hubbs, Gardasil could quite possibly be the worst thing mankind has produced since Hitler himself.

Keep in mind Mr. Hubbs has never been too keen on supporting his viewpoints with hard science so rather than look at facts and figures he would much rather point you to random Internet testimonials about how some woman suffered some ill effects from the vaccine or how someone contracted a random condition soon after receiving the shots.  He is also a big fan of sharing stories of parents who are "convinced" all of their daughter's medical problems are due to the Gardasil vaccine even if doctors, scientists, and evidence disagree.  Apparently in the mind of a vaccine conspiracy theorist, the word of a parent is as good as a multi-year scientific study.  Go figure.

Therefore when I came across a visual image of the safety of the HPV vaccine I only thought it appropriate that I link to it from this blog.  The image can be found on the Information is Beautiful website, and in case you are curious... they include all of their sources, data, and even their calculations to support the graphic itself.  There are numerous scientific studies referenced, and you won't find a single part of the graphic which isn't supported be evidence nor will you find a piece of it based upon the opinion of a lone parent who "just knows" what the real truth is.

The graphic does a much better job of telling the story than a few words of written text can because it helps visualize the actual data, but at the end of the day here is what is important:

There have been 35,000,000 doses of the Gardasil vaccine distributed in the United States.  Of those 35,000,0000 there have been 1,498 people who experienced serious side effects, which equates to 0.009%.  There have been 68 people die withing one year of receiving the vaccine (0.0004%), however this doesn't mean their deaths had anything to do with the vaccine as they include ALL deaths.  Of these 68 people there were three deaths from car accidents, one from a suicide, and many many more from unrelated medical conditions.

Of those 68 deaths, 32 of them were reviewed by a doctor... and are you ready to hear how many of them were attributed to the Gardasil vaccine?  If you guessed zero give yourself a pat on the back.  This means out of 35,000,000 doses of this vaccine there has not be a single death anywhere in the US which has been directly attributed to Gardasil nor has Gardasil even been considered to be a contributing factor.

Yes I know this is shocking, but it gets even better.

There have been seven studies which have examined the effects of the Gardasil vaccine.  These studies have covered over 44,000 women which were broken up into two primary groups.  One group was given the Gardasil vaccine while the other was given a placebo.

Statistically speaking, the number of women who experienced side effects after receiving their injections was nearly identical as were the number of women who died within several years of receiving the vaccine.  There were a total of 18 deaths reported in the group who had received the vaccine vs. 15 deaths reported in the group which had received the placebo, however none of these deaths (for either the vaccine or the placebo) were judged to be related - so essentially it is a non-issue.

So what else do we learn from these studies?  Well, the lifetime risk of developing cervical cancer in the US is 1 in 147 for those women who are unvaccinated while it is only 1 in 400 for those women who are vaccinated.  Similar numbers were shown in studies over in the UK as well, so this is not a random anomaly.

The fatality rate of cervical cancer is around 35%, so a bit of math tells us that the Gardasil vaccine could potentially save approximately 2,500 lives per year in the US, or a whopping 159,700 lives worldwide.

Think about that... almost 160,000 women could be saved each and every year due to one simple vaccine.  The very same vaccine that conspiracy theorists like Mr. Hubbs claim causes more harm than good.  If we are to believe Mr. Hubbs' nonsense, then where is the data showing this vaccine contributes to over 2,500 American deaths every year?  Where is the data that shows it is responsible for 160,000 deaths worldwide?  Where is the data to suggest it causes more injuries or that it doesn't actually prevent cervical cancer?

As we all know such data doesn't exist because quite simply all the studies that have been done have come to the same conclusions regardless of who was performing the study or who was financing it.  Even the skeptics have to admit that if there was a smoking gun against Gardasil you can rest assured it would have been brought to our attention... yet none exist.

It just goes to show that when the real data is examined, it once again contradicts the opinion of the vaccine conspiracy theorists, and try as they might they have nothing to counter it.  Once again real science wins, and pseudo Internet-educated experts like Lowell Hubbs find themselves on the wrong side of reality.


  1. Just so you know, Gardasil isn't the only HPV vaccine out there. Cervarix is another one although it isn't nearly as common.

  2. Mr. Hubbs - I'm still not posting your comments because they continue to be full of insults and/or profanity, but if you wish to contribute then by all means please provide a peer-reviewed scientific study published in a reputable medical journal which shows the HPV vaccine causes more harm than good or that it is ineffective.

    Until then, you are wasting your time (as usual). By the way, to provide such a study should require no more than one URL and no more than 10 to 20 words of text. Therefore anything you attempt to post with half a dozen links will most likely be sent to the Spam folder as usual... and I no longer can be bothered to read messages in the Spam folder, so do yourself a favor and limit your link usage.


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