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Women's Bodies

The HPV Vaccine: Not Really Compulsory, Even in Texas, Not Really Safe

There is a lot of discussion around the blogosphere right now about the HPV vaccine, because Texas has made it “compulsory.”

In fact, in most  states, to include Texas, exemptions are available to parents for religious, philosophical, conscientiously held, or personal reasons.  Here is exemption information from NVIC, the National Vaccine Information Center:

Legal Exemptions to Vaccination

Medical, philosophical or personal belief exemptions are worded differently in each state. To use an exemption for your child, you must know specifically what the law says in your state.

Philosophical Exemption:

The following 18 states allow exemption to vaccination based on philosophical, personal or conscientiously held beliefs: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

In many of these states, individuals must object to all vaccines, not just a particular vaccine in order to use the philosophical or personal belief exemption. Many state legislators are being urged by federal health officials and medical organizations to revoke this exemption to vaccination. If you are objecting to vaccination based on philosophical or personal conviction, keep an eye on your state legislature as public health officials may seek to amend state laws to eliminate this exemption.

Religious Exemption:

All states allow a religious exemption to vaccination except Mississippi and West Virginia. …

Complete information here.  In point of fact, all you have to do is assert a religious exemption in order to get it.  Nobody has to vouch for you, sign for you, anything like that.  Most parents don’t realize exemptions are available, that’s not information that is widely publicicized or that, for that matter is widely known, but exemptions are available in almost every state, and parents who choose not to immunize should take them.  It’s a matter of simply filling out a line on the Immunization Record which states that parents have taken a philosophical/religious/personal/conscientious/medical exemption to immunization for their children.  That’s all that’s required in most states.

The HPV vaccine is not safe, despite the claims of Merck:

The early reports of potential safety problems with GARDASIL raise concerns and questions that need to be addressed by government regulators, manufacturers and prescribing physicians. Specifically, the following concerns need to be addressed

Syncope, seizures and Guillian-Barre Syndrome have now been reported with hours to a week after GARDASIL vaccination. GARDASIL manufacturer, Merck, should add these serious adverse events to the product manufacturer insert.

Considering that over 20 girls have experienced syncopal episodes sometimes combined with seizures and serious injuries, physicians should consider only giving GARDASIL when the patient is safely laying down on the examining table. Because there seems to be syncopal reactions up until 15 minutes after vaccination, patients should be asked to lie down for 15 minutes after receipt of GARDASIL.

The information provided by Merck indicates that it is safe to administer GARDASIL with Hepatitis B vaccine. The prescribing information states, “Results for clinical studies indicate that GARDASIL may be administered concomitantly (at a separate injection site) with hepatitis B vaccine (recombinant). Co-administration of GARDASIL with other vaccines has not been studied.” [4] Due to the small number of girls aged 9 to 15 who appear to have been evaluated for GARDASIL safety in Merck clinical trials (fewer than 2,000) and lack of publicly available information about how many of these girls were given GARDASIL and hepatitis B vaccine simultaneously, the safety of administering GARDASIL and hepatitis B vaccine to all pre-adolescent girls is uncertain.[5]

Aside from Hepatitis B, Merck does not state that it is safe to simultaneously administer GARDASIL with any other vaccine. Considering that there are ongoing evaluations of a reported association between Menactra (meningococcal vaccine) and Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and Merck does not explicitly indicate that it is safe to administer to administer GARDASIL and Menactra simultaneously, consumers and clinicians should question whether administering both GARDASIL and Menactra at the same time is safe.

Similarly, adverse reactions were reported when GARDASIL was administered with eight other vaccines: Hepatitis A, MNQ (?), MEN (Menactra), TD (Tetanus and Diptheria Toxoids), DPP (Diptheria/Pertussis/Polio), PNC Prevnar (Heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate), DTaP (Diphtheria And Tetanus Toxoids and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine), and TDAP (Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis). Because Merck does not state that it is safe to administer simultaneously GARDASIL with any vaccine other than Hepatitis B, consumers and clinicians should question whether co-administration of GARDASIL and other vaccines is safe.

Most, if not all, of the reactions reported to VAERS were in response to the first of the three doses of GARDASIL. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Vaccine Information Sheet (VIS) developed for HPV vaccine states that severe reactions include “any unusual condition, such as a high fever or behavior changes. Signs of a serious allergic reaction can include difficulty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heart beat or dizziness.” [6] The CDC also states that “anyone who has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to yeast, to any other component of HPV vaccine, or to a previous dose of HPV vaccine should not get the vaccine.” Which of the reactions reported to VAERS constitute a “life-threatening allergic reaction” and which, if any, of the children and young adults who experienced reactions should receive additional doses of vaccine? At the October 2006 ACIP meeting, CDC staff stated that only “three serious reports were reported to VAERS after HPV vaccination in females 14 and 16 years of age. One of these patients had vasovagal syncope and was hospitalized overnight for observation.” [7]CDC’s summary of the first 76 VAERS reports suggests that CDC doesn’t regard the remaining reports as “serious.” CDC needs to clarify which of the reactions reported to VAERS constitute contraindications to further vaccination with GARDASIL and make this information available to the public and to prescribing physicians.

What were the short and longer-term outcomes for the individuals who experienced the reactions reported to VAERS? Is there information available that would help to predict the characteristics that predispose one to be at greatest risk of experiencing a serious reaction?

The CDC’s Vaccine Information Sheet indicates that allergy to yeast is a reason to avoid taking GARDASIL. Merck notes that contraindications to the vaccine include “hypersensitivity to the active substances or to any of the excipients of the vaccine. Individuals who develop symptoms indicative of hypersensitivity after receiving a dose of GARDASIL should not receive further doses of GARDASIL.” The prescribing information provided by Merck does not specifically note that yeast allergy is a contraindication to taking GARDASIL. Government regulators and the manufacturer need to address the discrepancy between these documents and clarify the issues related to yeast allergy and make this information readily available to the public and prescribing physicians.Additionally, Merck notes that vaccine ingredients include 225 mcg of aluminum (as amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate adjuvant), 0.78 mg of L-histidine, 50 mcg of polysorbate 80, and 35 mcg of sodium borate. These ingredients are not listed on the CDC’s VIS sheet. The public needs this information so that they can identify whether they have “hypersensitivities” to any of the ingredients and whether they are at risk of experiencing a serious allergic reaction. Hypersensitivities and known allergic reactions are critical pieces of information that need to be communicated to prescribing physicians in order to make the safest possible vaccination decisions…

Footnotes and entire article here

My daughters will not be getting this vaccine.  I think there are lots of alternatives, like teaching our girls the dangers of all sex with men, like teaching them about non-penetrative forms of intimacy, if they choose intimacy with men, like working to end rape, like working to end the prostituting of women.




85 thoughts on “The HPV Vaccine: Not Really Compulsory, Even in Texas, Not Really Safe

  1. I was afraid of this: the vaccine posing hazzards to women.
    When the vaccine was released, I didn’t know whether to should “hooray!” or go with my gut feeling which was: “Many of the other Women Only drugs — oral contraceptives, Premarin, Norplant, etc. and of course, Women Only products such as the IUD, Rely tampons back in the 80’s, etc. were/are very risky to women’s health. Yet, the products were/are readily available. Leading even the, these days, “toned-down” feminist in me to consistantly think: If these products were for men, would things be safer?”

    My gut feeling seems to be right.
    I will be doing far more research on this vaccine before allowing my daughter to get it — as of now, like you Heart, I will not allow it.

    Also: As men carry HPV — why not vaccinate them as well?
    Why does this drug only get pumped into women’s bodies?

    Posted by Kim | February 5, 2007, 10:30 am
  2. “If these products were for men, would things be safer?” – yes, Kim.
    Heart – thanks for the info (not of use to me as such, but the more i learn about the male system (and my own privilege) controlling the bodies of women, the more i well what do i feel? i feel we should try harder to help women change it. sorry that came out wishy washy and liberal with a fence right up my arse. like a lot of m friends got politicised in the uk during the miners’ strike when we realised that whatever they said the state was not actually our friend.
    so thanks – one more drip on the stone.

    Posted by simplywondered | February 5, 2007, 12:27 pm
  3. If the drug is exclusively for women/girls, they roll it out quickly and only ever withdraw it when the litigation levels get too high. The early OCPs had ‘elephant doses’ of hormones in the 60s, and levels dropped with each decade.

    If the drug is for males and females, more care is taken (but like earlier vaccines, not much more).

    But if the drug is for men only, they take forever ensuring its safety (and zero side effects). The male pill has been in development for years. Am wondering if it will ever see the light of day……

    Posted by stormy | February 5, 2007, 12:40 pm
  4. No kidding, stormy. How many times do women have to be harmed before they stop lining up and doing whatever doctors say? There are so many instances of doctors having harmed women, one glaring recent example being the HRT scandal, where after decades of prescribing “hormone replacement therapy,” for menopausal women, there was a hearty and resounding “oops” when the evidence was in as to how much harm it was actually causing women. Same with so, so many drugs and procedures.


    Posted by womensspace | February 5, 2007, 1:08 pm
  5. So true re why aren’t men being treated for this. Then again, that’s another aggravation. Why this assumption that girls are going to have penetrative sex with boys and men? Why not mass campaigns which teach the DANGERS of penetrative sex with men, hello. HPV is far from the only danger, there is a gigantic list, not the least of which is unwanted pregnancy.

    And of course, along the same lines, why are there not mass anti-rape campaigns and tough anti-rape policies.

    Well, we all know the reasons for that.


    Posted by womensspace | February 5, 2007, 1:12 pm
  6. But there are mass campaigns that teach the dangers of penetrative sex with men — unfortunately, they are the bogus right-wing “abstinence-only” programs that lie to kids/teens about what the dangers really are, that claim falsely that sex as a teenager will inevitably lead to physical and psychological damage, that condoms don’t work, that homo-sex (of either flavor) is evil, that *all* sexual activity (not just penetrative sex) is bad outside of marriage, and all kinds of other horseshit. Ugh.

    Also . . . Heart, I’m totally with you on working to end rape as one of many alternatives to HPV vaccination — the problem (as always) is what about “in the meantime” when, in fact, girls and women are at high risk of rape? I’m sympathetic to all your claims about the medical establishment and its evils, but part of me still says “yeah, but if my daughter (if I had one) either chooses to have penetrative sex with a man/boy or has it done to her involuntarily, I’d like this [HPV/cervical cancer] to be at least one harm she doesn’t have to worry about.” So . . . I’m on the fence.

    Posted by Rebecca | February 5, 2007, 1:54 pm
  7. I’m not on the fence. When I have children, the girls will get this vax, for the reasons Rebecca lists. I don’t think that protecting my kid against cervical cancer renders me incapable of educating them about sex in the broadest sense, as you mentioned, Heart.

    Posted by frog | February 5, 2007, 2:16 pm
  8. I think there are lots of alternatives, like teaching our girls the dangers of all sex with men, like teaching them about non-penetrative forms of intimacy, if they choose intimacy with men…

    This is a serious question, no snark intended: Do you really believe that the majority of (nonlesbian) females would voluntarily give up penetrative sex with men, except for procreation, if they were just given the right information? For young women especially, I think that’s just not going to happen. Emotions and hormones are too strong of a pull.

    I feel like I should prepare my daughter for the world that is, not the world I wished we lived in. I was raped when I was 9, and was diagnosed with severe cervical dysplasia when I was 17. This resulted in multiple cone biopsies, and a LEEP, which damaged my cervix so much that when I was pregnant I had to have a cerclage to prevent going into labor when I was 6 months along. Add in the additional paps I’ve had to have (every 3 months for years and years), and I assure you that my body has been far more traumatized by HPV than if I had been given a vaccine against it (not that it was available 25 years ago, but you get the point). I feel like I would be remiss as a parent if I didn’t try to protect my daughter from going through what I had to.

    Posted by Delany | February 5, 2007, 2:53 pm
  9. Thanks for the HRT link Heart.

    I had a premature menopause, and I was really, really pressured to take HRT. I tried it for about ‘five minutes’, decided I was as intolerant to it as the pill, and stopped. I still got pressure from the GP. 😕

    Posted by stormy | February 5, 2007, 3:04 pm
  10. Frog, I cannot understand why you would choose to do that. Any vaccine that requires the patient to “lie down for 15 minutes” cannot be terribly good.

    There was also the scandal of the 60s with the (I think) 4-in-1 vaccine programmes, that caused severe brain damage, deafness, and death. The 4-in-1 was reduced to 3-in-1. It is fairly ridiculous to load small bodies with undeveloped immune systems such a cocktail of drugs. According to my mother, I think I was given the 4-in-1, went into convulsions and other symptoms and taken to hospital. I survived (obviously), but could have ended up with severe brain damage as many babies did.

    The only reason they push the combo vaccines is for financial reasons, especially in those countries where the Government foots the bill for the programme.

    Posted by stormy | February 5, 2007, 3:14 pm
  11. stormy, I don’t think that the vaccine is without risks. Cervical cancer isn’t without risks, though, either.

    It’s okay that you don’t understand why I’d choose this–I don’t understand why you’d choose not to do it. I can live with that.

    Posted by frog | February 5, 2007, 3:54 pm
  12. Rebecca, yeah, that’s the road we go down in our thoughts, huh?

    I should have said, but didn’t, that in actuality, I’ll explain all of my thinking to my daughters, we’ll discuss it, they’ll read, and it will be up to them. If they decide to be sexual with men in traditional ways, the ones who are still minors (only two young Amazons of the Tribe of Heart left at home, hard to believe!), then I assume they’ll probably decide to get this vaccine.

    There is no way in Hades I would immunize them without their consent and there’s no way I’d immunize my 8 year-old. Hell no.


    Posted by Heart | February 5, 2007, 4:42 pm
  13. Yeah, stormy, hormone replacement therapy is a major, major scandal, and yet the outrage which followed it was overwhelmingly… tepid. Like, “oh well, so we drugged millions of women needlessly with harmful hormones for decades, no big, a few are still alive.”



    Posted by Heart | February 5, 2007, 4:44 pm
  14. Yeah, I hear you, Delaney. What kind of hell have you been through anyway. I can only hope the man who raped you has paid for it, in some way or another. ::::RAGE::::

    Oh, and hey frog. 🙂

    Delaney, my experience is that not only will girls not choose penetrative sex with men, they can and do choose not to be sexual with men at all or only to be sexual in certain ways they decide on ahead of time. It’s been quite the interesting ride raising my daughters. One was raised until adulthood in my old world of fundie-dom, the others were little girls when I left that world, the oldest of the then-littles was nine when I was excommunicated and went back to feminism. (I have six daughters, now 31, 22, almost 20, almost 18, 15 and 8.) Of the older five, two have had woman/girl partners, one is now partnered, though not married, with a man and is living with him, one is het but has decided not to be sexual with anyone until she is married (she is a radical feminist, not a conservative Christian) and one is still thinking about what she wants. My little girl isn’t thinking about any of this stuff at all! She and her brother, 11, run out of the room screaming “Ewww,” in love scenes on tv and in movies. Heh. I think it is completely reasonable to expect that girls can grow up deciding not to be sexual with men or to be sexual with men on their own terms.

    But hell yeah, we do have to prepare our girls for the possibility that they will be raped, given the gigantic number of girls who are. :::rage:::

    For me, doing things to my girls (or boys) without their consent is important, central to the way I’ve parented. I wouldn’t forbid them this vaccine or anything like that, or even try to talk them out of it if they decided they wanted it. I wouldn’t withhold information from them– on the contrary, I give them all the info, including about all the ways medicine and the pharmaceuticals industry have aligned themselves against women and have not acted in women’s best interests. I am just saying in this post, I am not going to rush them to the doctor’s office and order them to stick out their arm so a stranger can stick a needle in it, all to the benefit of Merck Pharmaceuticals and patriarchal medicine just in general. I’m going to, as is my practice, explain everything to them and let them decide whether they want this or not.


    Posted by womensspace | February 5, 2007, 5:03 pm
  15. This is all too scary and frankly too much for me to process at the moment. It makes one wonder why if the male carries the virus why is it that he is not vaccinated. And what if my seven-year-old daughter is a lesbian? Then she would have been vaccinated for nothing. Oh but not for nothing, because the vaccination will help her out if a rapist was to decide to rape her. Fuck making a vaccination to keep his little perverted and twisted mind from raping someone. No, instead let’s flood the market with ED medicine. Also, we cannot forget the KY commercials. Which I still seem to not understand. What exactly is KY for? Am I that ignorant? Are they saying that that many people are engaging in anal sex? Or is it to lubricate the vagina? And if it is, I thought that job is done naturally when the circumstances are favorable and welcoming for both parties. Or they saying that many women suffer from nonproducing Bartholin glands? Or is it just another aid to help the man who cannot be bothered out? It is not as if I don’t have enough to worry about. Environmental estrogens all over the fucking place. Every damn thing wrapped in plastic. One hundred years ago, a woman could expect her period at sixteen. Then come the 1970’s and fourteen was not considered too early. Then come the 1990’s and my daughter shocked me at 12. Here I was expecting her to be like me and was totally taken aback when she called me from her summer vacation with her grandmother to ask to come get her. Now, my little seven year old could face this occurrence as early as nine. Oh it is just too much. Plastic plastic plastic. Let’s destroy the earth because GOD knows some motherfucker needs to make more money than he/she could spend in a lifetime, ———and the little drones must have their SUVs and big trucks because no one would want anyone to think that they are not one of the pack.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | February 5, 2007, 5:04 pm
  16. ChasingMoshka: Artificial lube is so prevalent in the US because of the high circumcision rate. Removing the foreskin destroys the gliding mechanism that would otherwise happen during vaginal intercourse. In places where circumcision is uncommon, lube is not seen as “necessary” for sex.

    Posted by Delany | February 5, 2007, 5:19 pm
  17. Yeah, chasingmoksha, pretty much, everything you said there. 😦

    I never got the KY jelly thing, either, unless, like you say, gigantic numbers of people are having anal sex or using sex toys or something like that? I’ve always thought just like you, what’s up with KY jelly. If you’re in the mood, you don’t need it and why are you having sex if you aren’t in the mood? If you think your Bartholin’s glands aren’t working, maybe you just never have been in the mood so far? In which case it seems like there are some possibilities to consider? :/ Besides rushing down to the drugstore for KY jelly? :/

    I’ve also thought that same thing, too, maybe men don’t want to wait, or worse than that, maybe they are raping people. :::rage:::


    Posted by womensspace | February 5, 2007, 5:26 pm
  18. Huh, that’s interesting Delaney. But… if women are in the mood, there’s plenty of natural lubricant and everything works just fine? Circed or uncirced?


    Posted by womensspace | February 5, 2007, 5:28 pm
  19. The problem is that with a circ’d penis, each time the man pulls out in a stroke, a little bit of lubrication come out on the penis and dries off. If there’s lot of lube, it probably won’t be a problem. But with women who don’t produce a lot, or with men who take a long time to have an orgasm, it can end up removing all the natural moisture after a while. That’s what causes chafing or soreness for women after sex, and why a lot of women think that there’s something wrong with them if they can’t stay wet for half an hour.

    With an intact penis, the vaginal muscles grab the foreskin, so even though the man may thrust back and forth, lubrication is not being removed from the vagina.

    Does that make sense?

    Posted by Delany | February 5, 2007, 5:41 pm
  20. Huh. Yet additional reasons why circumcision is a bad thing to do. The part about the lube drying out and women chafing and getting sore and the man taking a long time is disturbing to me. Why have this kind of sex at all, from a woman’s perspective. (I’m not asking you to answer that, Delaney, it’s rhetorical, me feeling sick about it.) There is no reason why het women should ever have to have penis-in-vagina sex, in any event, but particularly where they have to go through this kind of drill and call it “sex” and “intimacy”. This is all about the man, to me, with the woman reduced to, like that Nedra song says, “just a warm, dark place to stick it.” How can sex like that ever be enjoyable to a woman?

    Honestly, it makes me feel like crying.

    Again, not expecting you to answer me here, Delaney, just saying. Dear god. I hate this fucked up world.


    Posted by womensspace | February 5, 2007, 5:46 pm
  21. Ten reasons why HPV vaccine is ‘murky’ issue
    (Created: Sunday, February 4, 2007 8:15 AM EST) | Text Size | print | e-mail

    Here are 10 reasons why we are skeptical about efforts to mandate for school girls the HPV vaccine against the sexually transmitted cervical-cancer virus.

    10. Merck and Co. (the manufacturer of the vaccine) has funneled money through Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country.

    9. Sen. Connie Lawson, the General Assembly’s No. 1 advocate for the vaccine, is a member of Women in Government.

    8. A top official from Merck’s vaccine division sits on Women in Government’s business council.

    7. Women in Government President Susan Crosby, a former Indiana state legislator, said the vaccine could “eliminate a cancer.” Yet Gardasil, is NOT a cancer vaccine. It is a vaccine for a virus; specifically for four of the more than 100 types of HPV, two of which cause 70 percent of cervical cancer in women, and two that cause 90 percent of genital warts.

    6. Merck could generate billions in sales if Gardasil – at $360 for the three-shot regimen – were made mandatory across the country. Depending on how many girls are Medicaid-eligible in each state, much of that money could come from Medicaid dollars – even if the vaccine is recommended, not mandated.

    5. The top 10 leading killers of women in the U.S. are heart disease, stroke, lung cancer (more than 70,000 deaths of women per year), respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, diabetes, accidents, flu/pneumonia and colon cancer. About 3,700 U.S. women die of cervical cancer each year; that is about 1/8th of the number of women who die from colon cancer, the No. 10 killer of U.S. women.

    4. Because the vaccine was only studied for 3 1/2 years, the long-term effectiveness and safety of this vaccine has yet to be determined. It took years for thalidomide and Vioxx (also a Merck product) to demonstrate their most negative side effects.

    3. Pap smears have dramatically reduced cervical cancer deaths in the U.S. But Gardasil does not protect against all cancers of the cervix. If the number of Pap smears go down because of women’s false sense of security, the number of cervical cancer deaths could go UP!

    2. Scarce health care dollars should be spent in the most effective way possible. We believe an investment of billions could be better spent in efforts to battle the top 10 killers of women. (See No. 6 and No. 5.)

    1. With an issue as “murky” as this, our little girls should not be guinea pigs.



    Posted by womensspace | February 5, 2007, 8:08 pm
  22. These two points illustrate something important with respect to just about all vaccines:

    3. Pap smears have dramatically reduced cervical cancer deaths in the U.S. But Gardasil does not protect against all cancers of the cervix. If the number of Pap smears go down because of women’s false sense of security, the number of cervical cancer deaths could go UP!


    7. Women in Government President Susan Crosby, a former Indiana state legislator, said the vaccine could “eliminate a cancer.” Yet Gardasil, is NOT a cancer vaccine. It is a vaccine for a virus; specifically for four of the more than 100 types of HPV, two of which cause 70 percent of cervical cancer in women, and two that cause 90 percent of genital warts.

    Wherever there are vaccines, people put their faith in them and they don’t think about this kind of thing, which again, is virtually *always* true of vaccines, that they do not protect against all viruses or forms of various diseases or whatever.

    In other words, you can get this HPV vaccine and your girls might still get HPV/genital warts, and they might still get cancer. But they might not know about it because they think they are immunized.

    Also, they might engage in riskier behaviors, like unprotected intercourse, with more men, because they, again, think their immunizations protect them.

    Not to mention the way so, so often, viruses often develop in response to various treatments or immunizations which are “super-viruses” for which there are no immunizations and for which treatments don’t work. There was an article about a new strain of HIV in Seattle which has just been identified which is lethal, which moves quickly to AIDs and which is untreatable at the moment, a “supervirus.”

    It’s this kind of consequence to so many of these developments in modern medicine that nobody talks about or thinks about, except that you do, if you’re like those of us who have seen this before.


    Posted by womensspace | February 5, 2007, 8:16 pm
  23. You’ve completely changed my mind about gardasil.

    Posted by Rich | February 5, 2007, 8:55 pm
  24. ***So true re why aren’t men being treated for this. Then again, that’s another aggravation. Why this assumption that girls are going to have penetrative sex with boys and men?***

    Since girls are not necessarily going to have “penetrative” sex with boys and men and boys/men are almost certainly going to be having “penetrative” sex with somebody, why not treat only boys and men for this?


    Posted by Branjor | February 5, 2007, 10:29 pm
  25. Back to the lubrication thing–a key point is that, circumcised or not, if het people are using condoms, as they should be if they don’t want babies or AIDS, this does have an effect on lubrication. At least, it always did for me when I was having sex with men. I found condoms to be very drying. So lube was important.

    That also goes to show just one more problem with this whole vaccine thing, which I think you touched on, Heart–all of these things, the pill, Gardasil, whatever, they’re only addressing ONE PIECE of the puzzle of all that can go wrong from intercourse. The pill only protects against pregnancy (most of the time), not diseases. Gardasil only protects against HPV (maybe, some of the time), not HIV or herpes or syphilis or pregnancy. It’s so easy, with all the hype over one potential problem, to let all the rest fade into the background. I still don’t see the point of, as a society, promoting all these shots, overloading our bodies, when condoms are cheap and cover all the bases. They’re not foolproof, of course–unlike lesbianism 🙂 –but I’d much rather give my (hypothetical) daughter a big box of condoms and the information, social skills and self-esteem to insist on their use, EVERY TIME, than get her a bunch of shots that may or may not protect her while doing goddess knows what else to her body.

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 5, 2007, 10:35 pm
  26. Yeah, Amy, I was just reading along and thinking, “It’s the condoms!!” (not stupid tho!!). I’ve used K-Y to prevent that latex burn, for quickies when my mind is ready faster than my body, and for when I’ve come first and my lover needs more time. It’s in my bedside drawer right now. For me penetrative (penis-in-vagina) sex has been mostly great, though I have friends who were never as thrilled about it. Different strokes, I guess. To me it only felt like a “drill” with bad lovers or when the thrill was gone, which is why I think het marriage and monogamy are for the birds (swans, right?)

    I hear you about Merck and the dangers of the vaccine, and YES why the fuck not give it to the boys? Positioning women as the defenders of sexual safety once again while the boys get to be boys.

    Posted by roamaround | February 6, 2007, 2:09 am
  27. Your primary source is a website that is pretty much anti-vacs, all around. While it is certainly difficult to find decent information about the risks of vaccines, 909 is a pretty biased and unreliable source. It’s certainly not the worst site out there, and I’ve used it myself, but it’s had incorrect information posted before. Sadly, the CDC info on vaccines in general is crap, as they’re focused on public health rather than individual health and so generally recommend vaccines in all cases.

    There are indeed serious risks to many vaccines, and not only are we not given full information about them, we are, more and more, also not given the opportunity to minimize risk by electing vaccines that aren’t bundled. (Which is extremely frustrating – even my *vet* doesn’t like to vaccinate my *cat* for more than one thing at a time, and I’ve been told by vets and pediatricians to wait a month in between vaccinations if I’m going to separate them (for both kids and cats).) But that doesn’t mean that the illnesses the vaccines work to prevent – and the secondary illness they can cause, esp. in epidemic situations – are better. And this is coming from someone who has a healthy cynicism toward allopathic medicine and vaccinations.

    I think you’re right to emphasize other approaches to HPV, but I am wary of rejecting it outright and with limited information. (Of course, in SD, we’ve been struggling to have the right to get the HPV vaccines in the first place because the right wing thinks that it’s better for girls and women to be afraid to have heterosexual intercourse…)

    Posted by plainsfeminist | February 6, 2007, 6:46 am
  28. The Facts About GARDASIL

    1. GARDASIL is a vaccine for 4 strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), two strains that are strongly associated (and probably cause) genital warts and two strains that are typically associated (and may cause) cervical cancer. About 90% of people with genital warts show exposure to one of the two HPV strains strongly suspected to cause genital warts. About 70% of women with cervical cancer show exposure to one of the other two HPV strains that the vaccine is designed to confer resistance to.

    2. HPV is a sexually communicable (not an infectious) virus. When you consider all strains of HPV, over 70% of sexually active males and females have been exposed. A condom helps a lot (70% less likely to get it), but has not been shown to stop transmission in all cases (only one study of 82 college girls who self-reported about condom use has been done). For the vast majority of women, exposure to HPV strains (even the four “bad ones” protected for in GARDASIL) results in no known health complications of any kind.

    3. Cervical cancer is not a deadly nor prevalent cancer in the US or any other first world nation. Cervical cancer rates have declined sharply over the last 30 years and are still declining. Cervical cancer accounts for less than 1% of of all female cancer cases and deaths in the US. Cervical cancer is typically very treatable and the prognosis for a healthy outcome is good. The typical exceptions to this case are old women, women who are already unhealthy and women who don’t get pap smears until after the cancer has existed for many years.

    4. Merck’s clinical studies for GARDASIL were problematic in several ways. Only 20,541 women were used (half got the “placebo”) and their health was followed up for only four years at maximum and typically 1-3 years only. More critically, only 1,121 of these subjects were less than 16. The younger subjects were only followed up for a maximum of 18 months. Furthermore, less than 10% of these subjects received true placebo injections. The others were given injections containing an aluminum salt adjuvant (vaccine enhancer) that is also a component of GARDASIL. This is scientifically preposterous, especially when you consider that similar alum adjuvants are suspected to be responsible for Gulf War disease and other possible vaccination related complications.

    5. Both the “placebo” groups and the vaccination groups reported a myriad of short term and medium term health problems over the course of their evaluations. The majority of both groups reported minor health complications near the injection site or near the time of the injection. Among the vaccination group, reports of such complications were slightly higher. The small sample that was given a real placebo reported far fewer complications — as in less than half. Furthermore, most if not all longer term complications were written off as not being potentially vaccine caused for all subjects.

    6. Because the pool of test subjects was so small and the rates of cervical cancer are so low, NOT A SINGLE CONTROL SUBJECT ACTUALLY CONTRACTED CERVICAL CANCER IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM — MUCH LESS DIED OF IT. Instead, this vaccine’s supposed efficacy is based on the fact that the vaccinated group ended up with far fewer cases (5 vs. about 200) of genital warts and “precancerous lesions” (dysplasias) than the alum injected “control” subjects.

    7. Because the tests included just four years of follow up at most, the long term effects and efficacy of this vaccine are completely unknown for anyone. All but the shortest term effects are completely unknown for little girls. Considering the tiny size of youngster study, the data about the shortest terms side effects for girls are also dubious.

    8. GARDASIL is the most expensive vaccine ever marketed. It requires three vaccinations at $120 a pop for a total price tag of $360. It is expected to be Merck’s biggest cash cow of this and the next decade.

    These are simply the facts of the situation as presented by Merck and the FDA.

    For a more complete discussion on GARDASIL with sources, click on my name.

    Posted by stickdog | February 6, 2007, 8:22 am
  29. ‘Shameless’ Amy said: “…when condoms are cheap and cover all the bases. They’re not foolproof, of course–unlike lesbianism..”
    😉 Nothing like a bit of shameless promotion for the lesbian cause, tee hee hee.

    On the circumcision thing, I found (from my old het days, now retired, stormy-vag is a penis-free zone) that it was the circumcised ones that were able to barge in more easily (if I wasn’t quite ready). Another good reason to make circumcision illegal ! Oh yeah, stormy’s all about making everything ‘illegal’, she is such a buzzkill ! 😀

    Amy, the ‘modern’ condom is far better than its predecessors of the 70s and 80s. Damn near ‘invisible’ in the feeling sense of things. That’s why I find men’s continued “don’t like them” excuse, pathetic.

    Besides, the circumcised ones just look plain ugly. ewww.

    Posted by stormy | February 6, 2007, 12:07 pm
  30. “penis-free zone” — he he. That’ll probably go to moderation.

    stormy–how old do you think I am!?!?!?!? Hee. I didn’t start having intercourse w/men until 1990. But found the prelubed condoms reacted badly with my physiology so had to get the dry ones and the lube separately.

    BTW, I’ve been thinking, and my comment above about het people using condoms was directed to people who aren’t necessarily in LTRs, hadn’t been tested/had partners tested for HIV etc. Certainly folks who’ve been together for years, maybe had a vasectomy or tubal thrown into the mix, or are beyond childbearing, don’t need to be using condoms if they don’t want to. I didn’t mean to sound like one of those radical sex-positive latex advocates! ALL CONDOMS ALL THE TIME!!! No. Just for people who are having het injection sex with those whose status they aren’t sure of, and who are not wanting to become parents. That’s what I was advocating, and I still think that would keep a lot of women safer. Course I know how hard it is to do, and I wish I could say that I had stood up for myself, every time. I wish I had heard lots more the message that someone who didn’t care enough to keep me safe did not deserve sexual access to me. That’s why I think such a focus on vaccines and other intrusive interventions–with no focus on giving women social and sexual autonomy–is a step in the wrong direction.

    Thanks for the great info about the vaccine, stickdog!

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 6, 2007, 9:35 pm
  31. ‘Shameless’ Amy said: “…when condoms are cheap and cover all the bases. They’re not foolproof, of course–unlike lesbianism..”

    Umm, if your lesbian partner has ever been with a male, as in genital contact, she brings the possibility of HPV to a female who has never been with a male.

    It’s all about genital contact with males. When it comes to exposure for those born female. a female is not likely to be exposed to HPV unless she has genital contact with males, or her female partner has had genital contact with males.

    Posted by uppitybiscuit | February 6, 2007, 10:09 pm
  32. “Umm, if your lesbian partner has ever been with a male,”

    Or, if your lesbian partner has ever been a male.

    Oops, wrong thread.

    I’m actually more confused on the gardasil subject than ever, though; I keep going back and forth. The one thing that I don’t understand, whatsoever, is how the anti-vac jesus zombies are THE rightwing and that the pharma companies are somehow, well, not the rightwing.

    Posted by Rich | February 6, 2007, 11:12 pm
  33. Exactly. The RR is an evil conspiracy and we don’t want anybody to think we’re like them! Merck, big Pharm, and the AMA are not an evil conspiracy, they are on women’s side and we want people to think we’re like THEM!

    Or, maybe, more like them than like the RR.

    Or maybe, we like them more than the RR.

    A clue: bunches of the RR ARE Merck, big Pharm and the AMA.
    Bunches of Merck, big Pharm, and the AMA, ARE the RR.
    Bunches of all of them are men.
    Bunches of all of them are misogynist, sexist men.
    Those who make the most money from all of them? Misogynist, sexist men.

    The feminist thing to do is ANALYZE. CRITIQUE. Do the very best you can to learn about all the issues, speak up about all the issues, give voice to all the issues.

    INCLUDING issues around coercion of girls and young women. This is not a good thing, I don’t care who does it, boys, men, doctors, drug manufacturers, teachers, counselors, educators or mothers. When you COERCE your girls (and boys), they begin to not trust themselves. They start thinking everybody knows better than they do what is best for them. Pretty soon they have difficulty *forming* an opinion at all and so they go looking for “experts” to tell them what to do. Prettysoon they can’t say “NO” anymore because they’ve been punished so many times, not only for saying “no,” just for questioning fucking “authority,” including parental authority. Pretty soon they are completely detached from what keeps a woman most safe: her gut. Her hunches. Her sense that something isn’t right. Her intelligence and ability to think through all of the issues without fear or feelings of intimidation or being belittled or told she’s too stupid to know what’s good for her or even getting the idea from others that she’s too stupid to know what’s good for her.

    Men have an interest in creating these vaccines, just like they have an interest in abortion rights, which is why you see leftist organizations mad fired up about abortion rights but not at all interested in things like pornography, prostitution, objectification of women, and so on. They have ongoing conflicts of interest and those we have to examine, talk about, whether in the end we decide it’s in women’s best interests to use the vaccine or not.


    Posted by womensspace | February 6, 2007, 11:26 pm
  34. All of this is CONNECTED. It’s all connected. It shouldn’t be that girls and women “vote” for the “expert” they think cares most about her or all women. It should be that girls and women receive the benefit of the best analysis and critique and thoughts and ideas we can give to them. This bracketing off of this one particular issue away from all of the surrounding issues, then saying, “Ending cancer is good, that settles it, stick your arm out,” is understandable. I do get why sex educators medical professionals, in particular, feel as they do, I get that. But without careful consideration of all of the other issues involved, this is imo not a good thing. There are secondary issues, tertiary issues and they deserve discussion, as well. Years ago it was all about cutting out everybody’s uterus with that same reasoning: “ELIMINATING CANCER IS GOOD.” Well, yeah, but. Over the years many healthy breasts have been removed with that same reasoning, “ELIMINATING CANCER IS GOOD.” Then women end up on down the line with all of these OTHER problems and issues and physical conditions and ailments, and sometimes THEY STILL GET CANCER. And they suffer. And the doctors/pharm/medical professionals say, “oops.”

    Which brings us right back to all we discussed in the Ashley Treatment thread.

    So doctors want to inject women’s bodies with antigens or chemicals or whatever. Let’s not just say, “Oh, yes, eliminating cancer is good,” like somehow that’s an answer to something. Let’s LOOK at it carefully for god’s sake.

    Posted by womensspace | February 6, 2007, 11:31 pm
  35. You’ll note how seldom men’s body parts ever got routinely chopped off to protect them from cancer.


    Posted by womensspace | February 6, 2007, 11:43 pm
  36. And too, this is a time-honored tradition and value of feminism, that the ends don’t justify the means, that the ends and the means are, in fact, one and the same. It’s not good enough to say that the end of preventing cancer is all that should be considered. We have to consider the means to that end very carefully too. And one reason for that is, it is in the considering, analyzing, educating ourselves, that we both develop and model revolutionary activism. How is it revolutionary to say, “Yay, a new vaccine, let’s go!” Given history? Given what drugs/medicine have done to women. And if you have any reservations or need to consider that more, go over to Ballastexistenz’s site and read her blog entry of today where she describes having been diagnosed as schizophrenic as opposed to autistic, where she describes doctors blaming her mother for the fact that she was “schizophrenic.” Read the way doctors force women in mental insitutions to say what the doctors need them to say, like that they are having hallucinations or whatever, under penalty of punishment. Read the way doctors beat Ballastexistenz, literally, into submission.

    Then tell me any woman ought to step right up and do what doctors say without taking a really good hard look, and being completely convinced in their own minds.


    Posted by womensspace | February 7, 2007, 12:07 am
  37. this was the facility that told my parents that they, specifically my mother, had caused me to become “psychotic” and then “schizophrenic” as a result of a poor parenting style. And that also forced me to “admit to” hearing voices I didn’t actually hear, and was shut down because nobody would send their kids there anymore, especially after a guy died there. So anyone who supports the rulings of a facility like this one is supporting the refrigerator mother hypothesis of autism, and the few throwbacks in the mid-nineties who still believed that sort of thing in America (yes, it wasn’t entirely dead by then). And supports a psychiatrist who has been successfully sued for malpractice before.

    When I was later sent to special education, I was sent there as someone who’d had a number of diagnoses, and autism and schizophrenia were both listed among several others. Because I had been trained, by a guy who among other things believed in involuntary trance induction as part of his “Ericksonian psychotherapy technique” (also apparently believed in beatings, etc), to “admit” to all sorts of experiences and beliefs I did not have, and I was now terrified to go against him (he had told me he would go into my head, kill the person I was, and replace me with someone else, and that I would die if I disobeyed him — and I’m the one who was supposedly out of touch with reality, hmm), it was generally accepted that he was right about me, and I was encouraged to write about myself that way.

    Read Of Autism and Sprained Fingers

    Posted by womensspace | February 7, 2007, 12:09 am
  38. Hey, Uppity:

    I know that “your lesbian partner can give you HPV” is kinda the mainstream medical standard explanation/caution, but, as about so many things, I am very skeptical about STD transmission between lesbians. I know many, many lesbians–I do not know ANY who have AIDS/HIV, HPV, or cervical cancer. I’m not saying there aren’t any–I’m just saying STD transmission isn’t anything like a problem for women in the same way it is with sex where penile penetration (or sharing of penetrative devices) is involved. Given the very low rate of cervical cancer among women who DO have regular sex with men (as in stickdog’s comment above) and considering that my lover and I do not rub our cervices together–nor do most of the lesbians I know–I think the risk of a woman contracting HPV, let alone cervical cancer, from lesbian sex not involving shared dildoes is very, very, very slim. The whole “lesbian safe sex” thing is mostly made an issue of in “queer” communities where that emphasis is a side effect of the very necessary emphasis on “safe sex”–that is, latex-mediated sex–between men (once more, women are considered “just like” men and our difference practices and anatomy are completely ignored), and in the SM community, again, where there is a danger of transmission of HIV etc. via blood sports and other body fluid exchanges. (And yes, ick.)

    Please note that this does not apply to herpes–herpes is very contagious for anyone in contact with someone who is having an outbreak. But, again, I personally know women with herpes who have had multiple female partners and their partners have never had an outbreak. I’m not saying don’t be careful WRT STDs; I’m saying, there’s a political agenda in portraying lesbian sex as “the same as”–as in, as dangerous for women as–sex involving men, and I’m not falling for it.

    And lesbianism, barring rape of course, IS 100% proof against unwanted pregnancy. 🙂

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 7, 2007, 1:54 am
  39. Er, that should say “isn’t anything like a problem for LESBIANS as it is…” in line 6 above.

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 7, 2007, 1:55 am
  40. Er, and “different practices” not “difference practices.”

    Sheesh. Could I proofread, you think?

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 7, 2007, 1:57 am
  41. I know many, many lesbians–I do not know ANY who have AIDS/HIV, HPV, or cervical cancer. I’m not saying there aren’t any–I’m just saying STD transmission isn’t anything like a problem for women in the same way it is with sex where penile penetration (or sharing of penetrative devices) is involved.

    Actually I think there has only been one case of a lesbian who supposedly contacted HIV through sexual transmission, and even that case was suspect. It isn’t because women practice safer sex. It’s because women obviously aren’t the ones sexually transmitting the virus. Funny how the politicians, media and medical establishment doesn’t want to talk about that. Despite it all, it’s still referred to as a “gay disease,” which is inclusive of lesbians, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

    As far as I’m concerned, men are walking viruses and a downright hazard to women’s health. But men getting laid takes priority over the health and well-being of women. What else is new with life under the patriarchy?

    Posted by Luckynkl | February 7, 2007, 8:54 am
  42. Aw Amy!

    Hey, we could start the radical, radical wing of the radical feminists—and work towards getting het sex made illegal ??
    [lighten up folks, it’s a joke FFS!] But ‘made ya look’ 😀

    Rubbing cervics? Bizzare mental imagery on that one…

    Posted by stormy | February 7, 2007, 11:40 am
  43. “You’ll note how seldom men’s body parts ever got routinely chopped off to protect them from cancer.”

    Actually, prevention of penile cancer is one of the (fallacious) reasons given for routine circumcision.

    I used to run a urologic oncologist’s office and in the two years I was there we saw exactly 2 cases of penile cancer, but hundreds of cases of prostate cancer and dozens of testicular cancer, fwiw.

    Posted by Delany | February 7, 2007, 4:52 pm
  44. Just stumbled across this quite by accident. I am doing quite a bit of research on vaccines for the field of ‘autism recovery’. It is a shocking statistic, but nearly 1 in every 100 kids is affected. It truly appals me when any governing body enforces the injection of ‘stuff’ for the supposed goal of stopping disease. These things are largely untested, with side effects that often don’t show up for years. I guess if you inject something into a mouse and it cures it, then it is obviously going to work for a human…..errrrm…maybe not.
    Whatever the vaccine, I would take a long hard look at what they put in it before I even considered letting it be injected into my body. The MMR given to our kids was predominantly loaded with Thimeresol as a preservative. Thimeresol is loaded with mercury. Autism is reaching epidemic proportions….what a co-incidence!

    Good luck – nice blog.

    Posted by Eric Chiverton | February 8, 2007, 10:59 am
  45. Displeasure with the conduct of boys and men should not be a consideration in evaluating a vaccine program. And the number affected by uterine cancer should not be downplayed by grading on the curve.

    My current opinion is that the availability of the vaccine should be mandatory, but that vaccination itself should not be, primarily because of the association some will make between receiving the vaccine and voluntary sexual conduct.

    Posted by grey clay | February 8, 2007, 4:05 pm
  46. GC: “Displeasure with the conduct of boys and men should not be a consideration in evaluating a vaccine program.”

    Snort. (holds out hand) “Hi, grey clay, I’m feminism. Pleased to meet you!”

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 10, 2007, 4:06 am
  47. 🙂

    I had to let that one get through– too priceless!


    Posted by womensspace | February 10, 2007, 5:20 am
  48. Well sheesh! Do these people live under rocks? I mean, isn’t the DEFINITION of feminism evaluating the way the conduct of boys and men, and our “displeasure” with it, affects everything? Or one of the definitions anyway?

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 10, 2007, 6:33 am
  49. But in getting one’s personal identification and solidarity statements conspicuously made, it is possible to neglect the health issues. Would you trust constraints on the sexual conduct of males, or vaccination of them all, to be the only solution to an STD transmission problem. I woudn’t, nor would epidemiologists.

    The comments mocking my previous post may have been enjoyable, but the obvious enjoyment of those making them should not conceal their inadequate interest in the health of girls and women, and of us all.

    Posted by grey clay | February 10, 2007, 6:44 pm
  50. Comments following stories at websites. Pony

    Not so fast on cervical cancer vaccinations

    Comment by Pam Martens
    In Orlando Sentinel

    “Before any more young girls are threatened by this inadequately tested drug, Gardasil, the public needs to be told the following facts:

    Cervical cancer affects less than one-tenth of one percent of women in the U.S. annually. There is no raging epidemic to rationalize injecting young girls.

    Gardasil did not originate with Merck. Two researchers in a federal agency, Drs. John Schiller and Douglas Lowy of the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute developed the technology. The NIH Office of Technology Transfer sought out Merck to formulate the vaccine and conduct clinical trials.

    The FDA, which receives funding from NIH, put this vaccine on a fast track, meaning the time from clinical trial to launch was shortened. This was the first time in the history of the FDA that this had been done with a vaccine.

    Voting for this fast track were advisory committee members with conflicts of interest who were given a waiver. When the FDA met to license Gardasil, four of the permanent members were absent from the meeting and did not vote. Instead, government employees voted. Why is that a conflict of interest? Because their government colleagues along with the NIH stood to collect millions of dollars from Gardasil sales over its presumed life. That’s because the NIH Office of Technology Transfer licensed their HPV technology to both Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, effectively handing a monopoly to two of the largest pharmaceutical companies.

    In Merck’s 2005 annual report to shareholders, they state: “In Februrary 2005, the Company announced that it and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) entered into a cross-license and settlement agreement for certain patent rights related to HPV vaccines. Pursuant to the agreement, GSK will receive an upfront payment and royalties from the Company based upon sales of Gardasil….”

    The clinical trial for Gardasil only encompassed a few hundred girls in the 11-12 year old age group. Texas Governor Rick Perry’s mandatory order, if it stands, will actually be the clinical trial for this age group, effectively testing a vaccine for health hazards AFTER it has been approved. Here’s what the FDA’s letter of June 8, 2006 told Merck it had to do in conjunction with getting its Gardasil approval: “…a sufficient number of children 11-12 years of age will be studied to permit an analysis of safety outcomes. The final study protocol will be submitted by December 31, 2006. Patient accrual will be completed by December 31, 2008.”

    Merck had three vaccines approved by the FDA last year. An unprecedented coup. This week, Merck’s infant vaccine, RotaTeq, was given a warning by the FDA for being linked to a potentially life threatening condition in babies. (See FDA text below.)

    There is substantive evidence to suggest that the FDA has bought in to Merck’s model of doing business. Here’s the email that explains that model (published in the Wall Street Journal in an expose of how Merck had lied about the safety of its big blockbuster drug,
    Vioxx): Dr. Edward Scolnick, chief of research at Merck speaking about Vioxx: “We have a great drug and like angioedema with Vasotec and seizures with Primaxin and myopathy with Mevacor there is always a hazard. The class will do well and so will we.”

    Experts now believe that over 140,000 heart attacks, strokes and other serious medical injuries occurred because of taking Vioxx. The product was pulled from the market and Merck reports in its SEC filings that it is facing 27,400 lawsuits.

    And one final point. Once the CDC approved Gardasil, Merck was on its way to being liability free on Gardasil, no matter how many young girls became seriously ill, developed arthritis, or died. A CDC approved vaccine for children is almost always given a liability waiver by the US Dept of Health and Human Services.

    Pam Martens


    Excerpt from FDA release:
    February 13, 2007

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is notifying health care providers and consumers about 28 post-marketing reports of intussusception following administration of Rotavirus, Live, Oral, Pentavalent vaccine (trade name RotaTeq), manufactured by Merck and Co., Inc. Intussusception is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the intestine gets blocked or twisted. One portion of the intestine telescopes into a nearby portion, causing the intestinal obstruction. The most common site is where the small intestine joins the large intestine.

    Intussusception can occur spontaneously in the absence of vaccination. Of the reported 28 cases of intussusception, the number that may have been caused by the vaccine, or occurred by coincidence, is unknown.

    FDA is issuing this notification both to encourage the reporting of any additional cases of intussusception that may have occurred or occur in the future after administration of RotaTeq, and to remind people that intussusception is a potential complication of RotaTeq,.


    More study of vaccine needed before it is mandated for HPV

    Dr. Morris Wortman and Amy Daggett,
    Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
    Guest essayists

    (February 20, 2007) — Merck’s new HPV vaccine, Gardasil, protects against four types of the human papillomavirus — an important scientific achievement.

    But before advocating a public policy for its widespread administration, we need to understand some cervical cancer and genital wart “basics.”

    Invasive cervix cancer is a terrible and fortunately rare disease. Genital warts, while unseemly and embarrassing, are among the more “benign” STDs. Since the 1954 invention of the Pap smear by Dr. George Papanicolaou, invasive cervical cancer, once the leading cause of cancer deaths in women, is now a rare disease, according to the National Cancer Institute.

    In 2006, 3,700 women died of this disease. The same year 79,560 women died of lung cancer, 56,660 of colon cancer, 40,410 of breast cancer and more than 16,000 women died of each of the following three cancers — rectal, ovarian and pancreatic. Uterine cancer claimed 7,310 women while cervical cancer was 14th on the list.

    Invasive cervical cancer typically follows a succession of stages that starts with abnormalities detected on Pap smears. These pre-cancerous changes, called dysplasias, are caused by HPV types 16 and 18, as well as more than a dozen others. Gardasil protects against types 16 and 18 — which are responsible for an estimated 70 percent of cervical dysplasias. The other protection provided by Gardasil is against genital warts (types 6 and 11) which is a self-limiting and easily treated infection. The cause for excitement among the medical community is the protection this vaccine may provide against invasive cervical cancer.

    It takes about 10 years for a cervical dysplasia to progress to invasive cervical cancer. The average age of women with invasive cervical cancer is 50 to 55. The vast majority of American women with invasive cervical cancer are poor and didn’t get regular Pap smear screening. Additionally, most cases of cervical cancer are associated with lifestyle choices — early onset of sexual activity, multiple partners, partners with multiple partners, cigarette smoking and obesity.

    This brings up four important points. First, cervical cancer is largely prevented by Pap smear screening. Second, cervical cancer isn’t a communicable disease. Until now vaccines have been required only for communicable diseases in our state. Third, we need to encourage and enable screening in precisely those women who tend to avoid this test — poor women who don’t have access to regular screening. Fourth, we need to encourage lifestyles that reduce the risk of cervical cancer.

    Gardasil costs about $500 — the cost of the three vaccinations and the office visits for its administration. Its use does not obviate the need for regular Pap smears. That’s a lot of money for an unproven vaccine against a cancer for which we already have an excellent screening tool. Before state legislators begin mandating its administration, they need to be reminded that apart from the potential risks, the long-term efficacy in reducing invasive cervical cancer is yet unproven.

    Within the past few weeks, Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued an executive order, bypassing the state legislature, requiring all sixth-grade school girls (ages 11 and 12) to receive the Gardasil vaccine beginning in September 2008.

    In the ensuing competitive and hysterical political frenzy, some 20 state legislatures, including New York’s, are now looking at mandatory vaccination.

    The bottom line is this — if we want to avoid cervical cancer we need to stress the importance of lifestyle changes — responsible sexual activity, smoking cessation and regular visits to a woman’s health care provider.

    We especially need to improve Pap smear screening among poor women, who suffer disproportionately from invasive cervical cancer.

    It would be an expensive rush to medical judgment for a state, county or city legislature to propose the universal administration of an incompletely understood vaccine at a considerable cost to taxpayers. We need only to look at the recent past to discover other “wonder drugs” that after widespread use and careful scrutiny turned out to have unintended consequences — hormone replacement therapy, Fen-phen and Vioxx are just a few examples.

    Everyone wants to be remembered as the person who invented the wheel. But what about the person who invented the brake? Before we jump onto this legislative bandwagon, I suggest we slow down and let the scientists, not the politicians, do their work.

    Wortman is director of the Center for Menstrual Disorders and Reproductive Choice in Rochester. Daggett is a registered nurse and adult nurse practitioner at the center.

    Posted by Pony | February 20, 2007, 6:42 pm
  51. Hey Pony, can I steal a couple of these links for the Scarleteen info on the vaccine?

    Just want to be sure the girls considering it can have a look at as many perspectives as possible.

    Posted by Heather | February 20, 2007, 7:16 pm
  52. It’s open access Heather. Help yourself. 🙂

    Posted by Pony | February 20, 2007, 9:08 pm
  53. Thanks for that great info Pony!

    And grey clay, yeah, we don’t give a shit about women’s health care. That’s why we spend all this time writing posts, comments, and responses to comments on all kinds of women’s health care issues.

    Seems to me you don’t understand a radical feminist perspective and you don’t like being called on it. Maybe you should spend a little more time poking around here before you start accusing us of “not caring” about women and girls and our health.

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 20, 2007, 10:24 pm
  54. Merck is having second thoughts about its lobbying efforts for laws to mandate Gardasil shots for schoolgirls, since that strategy was backfiring.

    Merck, maker of the first vaccine against cervical cancer, has decided to stop lobbying for state laws to mandate the shot as a condition of school entry, a company executive said Tuesday.

    Posted by Aletha | February 21, 2007, 8:12 am
  55. Provinces will not back vaccine. But before you get excited, it’s for monetary reasons. Still… . Each province has it’s own province-wide drugs formulary and health insurance. If they won’t approve it and pay for it, it’s no go. That’s how universal health care works.

    The organization mentioned near bottom of the news article (copied in whole) is what’s called an astro-turf: they aren’t grass roots plain folks orgs, they’re paid by pharma to pretend to be. They’re part of the pharmas marketing budget.
    Astro Turf org

    The organizations which make up the Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness and Promotion are themselves all bought and paid for by pharmaceutical companies. Also on above link.

    You can check out how much a ho your doctor and various so-called disease non-profits like the Arthritis Society are on this page. Not everyone taking graft is here, not everyone here could be considered to be taking graft {cough}. {legal disclaimer}
    Doctors and scientists

    Who’s funding who

    So called non-profits, universities and medical schools funded by pharma


    Provinces take a pass on cancer vaccine
    ‘Exciting’ advance: Costs and lack of evidence cited for lagging support

    Tom Blackwell
    National Post

    Friday, March 09, 2007

    It has been hailed as one of the greatest advances in immunization in recent years, with the potential to prevent a common form of cancer, but no provincial government has yet chosen to fund the new human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

    At $400 per patient, the cost is likely out of reach for many Canadian families, say advocates. Meanwhile, Australia, Texas and some other U.S. states have already decided to offer the vaccine for free, though it has triggered considerable debate in America.

    In Canada, a government advisory committee recommended in January that the vaccine be provided to all girls aged nine to 13 to prevent the sexually-transmitted virus, which causes most cases of cervical cancer.

    A National Post survey of the provincial governments responsible for immunization programs found that none have decided to underwrite distribution of the shots, though none have ruled out doing so, either.

    Some said they were still waiting for their own expert advice, while others were discussing the issue within their health departments or cabinet, or hoping the federal government would offer up funding.

    In Saskatchewan, the $170 for each of three shots per recipient would translate into a cost of about $3 million a year, compared to the province’s total vaccine budget now of $10 million, said Joan Petrie, a spokeswoman for the health department.

    “That would be significant,” said Ms. Petrie. “It looks like a very good vaccine … (But) it’s quite expensive.”

    Lamont Sweet, Prince Edward Island’s chief public-health officer, has recommended that his government pay to offer the vaccine to all Grade 6 girls, at an estimated cost of about $400,000 annually, but the request is still being considered by the provincial Treasury Board.

    “It’s very expensive, so it’s difficult for anyone to buy this on their own,” said Dr. Sweet. “[However] this is the first vaccine that has could have a major impact on the possible rates of cancer in our province.”

    The HPV vaccine, called Gardasil, came on the market in Canada last July, almost universally hailed as a breakthrough preventive tool for one of the most common cancers among young women. Last year saw 1,350 new cervical cancer cases and 390 deaths.

    The product has been hotly debated in the U.S., where Texas and Virginia have already decided to offer the vaccine to Grade 6 girls, and several other states are considering legislation to do so, while some conservative activists argue that such programs would effectively condone pre-marital sex.

    In Canada, by contrast, there has been relatively little discussion of the issue. A detailed report by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization in January recommended the vaccine be provided to all girls between nine and 13, catching them before any enter sexually active years, and suggested it would also be useful for those 14 to 26.

    But, with no government funding, uptake on the vaccine has been relatively limited. About 15,000 Gardasil prescriptions were sold by retail pharmacies in the first seven months it was available in Canada, according to IMS Health, which tracks the pharmaceutical industry.

    Some way should be found to provide it to everyone who needs it, said Paul Lapierre, a spokesman for the Canadian Cancer Society. He urged officials to be “creative” with financing, which could include negotiating with Merck, which manufactures Gardasil, to lower the price, as has been done in Texas. “It’s the first of a kind, it’s very effective for a specific type of cancer. It is a tool women should have available.”

    All provinces should at least offer the same access to the “exciting” vaccine, said Mary Middleton of the Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness and Promotion. A $300-million federal fund was set up three years ago to help provinces with some of the costs of new vaccines, and has resulted in all the jurisdictions having similar, universal immunization programs for meningitis, chicken pox and other diseases, she said. The fund is expiring next month and should be renewed, said Ms. Middleton.

    Erik Waddell, a spokesman for Tony Clement, the federal health minister, said everyone will have to “wait and see” whether there is funding for theHPV vaccine in the budget March 19.

    Posted by Pony | March 12, 2007, 12:08 am
  56. testing

    Posted by Aletha | March 14, 2007, 5:52 am
  57. The Texas State House of Representatives voted 119 to 21 yesterday to approve a bill that would nullify the executive order requiring sixth-grade girls to be vaccinated with Gardasil.

    Posted by Aletha | March 14, 2007, 5:53 am
  58. That is great news Aletha. Thanks for bringing it. Do you have a link, is this on a government website?

    Posted by Pony | March 14, 2007, 5:55 am
  59. I found that on Google News. I tried posting this link, but for some reason, the comment would not go through until I removed the link. Meanwhile the Democratic governors of Virginia and New Mexico have pledged to sign bills requiring the vaccine, though there will be an opt-out provision.

    Posted by Aletha | March 14, 2007, 6:01 am
  60. I’m not American, so I may not have a good grasp on this, but it seems to me that this vaccine there is all about right vs left, and women’s health is not even part of the consideration.

    Posted by Pony | March 14, 2007, 6:29 am
  61. As far as the politicians are concerned, I think you do have a good grasp on this, Pony. Promoting the health of women is the excuse for promoting the health of Merck, which is hurting due to the Vioxx debacle. The chief of staff for the governor of Texas from 2002 to 2004 was a Merck lobbyist. Pharmaceutical companies are notoriously huge donors to politicians of both parties. Most Democrats dismiss concerns about side-effects or shady aspects of the expedited approval process, yelling those opposing the vaccine must be rightwing wackos worried it might encourage young women to have sex. Democrats questioning medical orthodoxy are a rare breed.

    Posted by Aletha | March 15, 2007, 5:06 am
  62. Last night I posted a story on the scientist who was the lead author on the HPV vaccine study. She said she doesn’t back it for young girls. She also said she’s been trying to tell the truth about how it was tested and marketed — NOT tested on young girls for efficacy — but the media wouldn’t listen. The story is in Tampa Florida newspaper. Two longish newspaper stories, one with the whistleblower (more or less) scientist, and one telling us !! quelle surprise !! that HPV is more prevalent in men.

    My post must be hung in the spam cue.

    Posted by Pony | March 15, 2007, 1:48 pm
  63. Anyway it’s also over at IBTP in the Geek thread, near bottom.

    Posted by Pony | March 15, 2007, 1:50 pm
  64. Whoeeee and Sparkle Matrix hit it too. I wrote the reporter at the newspaper. I am gobsmacked that the lead author on this story of the century COULD NOT GET MEDIA TO LISTEN TO HER.

    You know why! … the ad bucks from Merck speak louder than any truth.

    Posted by Pony | March 15, 2007, 2:06 pm
  65. For the record:
    March 20, 2007

    Gardasil: What you need to know about the HPV vaccine
    Pap tests still the best tool in preventing cervical cancer

    by Women and Health Protection and the Canadian Women’s Health Network, with assistance from Judy Norsigian

    Cervical cancer:

    Cervical cancer is caused by persisting infection with a sexually transmitted virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are over 100 types (strains) of HPV. About 35 types of HPV infect the genitals and reproductive organs. Within these 35, there are high-risk and low-risk types of HPV.

    High-risk HPV infections that persist cause cancer when other factors are also present (for example, having a stressed or compromised immune system, poor nutrition or smoking). The low-risk HPV infections have a less-frequent association with cancer but do cause genital warts. Genital warts are similar to warts on other parts of the body, and are usually treated with liquid nitrogen or are surgically removed; they do not themselves cause cancer.

    With a healthy immune system, most people who become infected with HPV can eliminate the virus from their body — with or without treatment — within three years (the average is about 9 to 13 months). Most women who get an HPV infection do not develop cervical cancer.

    It is important to keep in mind that a compromised immune system, which increases a woman’s risk of cervical cancer, can result from many things, including poverty and poor nutrition. Whether in North America or elsewhere in the world, women who die from cervical cancer are often poor. Efforts to eliminate cervical cancer require understanding and addressing this critical fact.
    Gardasil: The HPV vaccine and cervical cancer prevention

    Gardasil is the first vaccine against HPV to be approved for use in Canada and the US. This specific vaccine prevents infection from HPV types 6 and 11, which cause genital warts, and HPV types 16 and 18, which cause cancer.

    The vaccine is not a treatment or cure for cervical cancer or genital warts, but it does prevent infection by these specific types of HPV if it is administered to girls and women before their first sexual encounter.

    Ads about cervical cancer and genital warts now appear in various media. Putting the information about warts and cancer together can be confusing, because some people assume that having genital warts is a risk for cervical cancer. This is not so. In addition, the ads may generate excessive fear by obscuring the fact that cervical cancer affects a relatively small number of women and is rarely fatal in Canada and the US.

    The vaccine is also very expensive. It is administered in a series of three injections provided over a six-month period of time, and the cost is approximately $405 Canadian per woman and girl.

    If the HPV vaccine is to be covered by the Canadian public health budget, it would be a major additional cost for an already overburdened system. And it is not yet clear that the benefit of this vaccine justifies its very substantial cost. Using public health funds to ensure that all women benefit from regular Pap tests may represent a more effective use of resources in the public sector.
    The importance of Pap screening

    Pap screening for cervical abnormalities has greatly reduced the incidence of cervical cancer in Canada. Cervical cancer is considered to be 90% preventable with screening and treatment. And Pap screening should be available and accessible to all girls and women, as has been recommended, on a regular basis.

    Cervical cancer is responsible for the deaths of about .002% of the female population, or about 400 women per year in Canada. In parts of the world where Pap screening is not available, and where poverty and poor nutrition increase the risks associated with getting – and not being treated for — cervical cancer, thousands of women die every year from this preventable disease.

    If a woman has an abnormal Pap smear that reveals atypical cells, or a low-grade lesion, the body most often repairs itself without treatment. However, a woman with Pap smear results that reveal the possibility of a high-grade lesion, or a woman who already has a high-grade lesion, needs to undergo further testing. She may then have to undergo procedures to remove the abnormal cells. Follow-up testing will indicate if the woman still has abnormal cells that require attention.

    Removing abnormal cells prevents invasive cancer in 90% of cases. In North America, many women who show abnormal Pap results – which can be worrisome – do not actually develop cervical cancer.

    Since the introduction of the Pap test in Canada, the cervical cancer death rate has dropped by half. In the US, the incidence of cervical cancer fell by 74% between 1955 and 1992.

    Posted by Pony | March 22, 2007, 1:09 am
  66. My 14 year old daughter just received the HPV vaccine today along with a tetanus booster and the meningiitis vaccine. She had a sever allergic reaction within minutes – including disturbances to her vision (flashing lights, altered colors) and difficulty breathing. It is impossible to know exactly which vaccine caused the reaction but now I am extremely hesitant about subjecting her to any more vaccines in the future.

    Posted by Susanna Eisenman | April 4, 2007, 12:10 am
  67. Susanna, it takes from 10 to 25 years for cervical cancer to develop. At best estimate, the cervical cancer vaccine will only last for a couple years. But they don’t really know. Your daughter would have had to be revaccinated probably, but they don’t know that either. It’s all a huge experiment, with our daughters the test subjects. Once getting the vaccine has been mandated, no one can sue for harmful reactions or death.

    From the newest Canadian news on this.

    “Dr. Al Covens of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre says up to three quarters of the women he treats for advanced cervical cancer have either never had a Pap test or were not properly followed up by their physician.

    “If we had a screening program where every woman had an annual pap smear, and then a follow up, the incidence of cervical cancer should be negligible,” Dr. Covens told CTV News.”

    CTV news story April 4, 2007

    Posted by Pony | April 4, 2007, 3:03 am
  68. HPV vaccine today along with a tetanus booster and the meningitis vaccine

    I certainly agree with Pony that the longevity/effectiveness of the HPV vaccine is questionable at best, and daughters-as-guinea pigs is extremely accurate.

    Whilst logistically convenient to get/give multiple vaccines, the body’s immune system would disagree — multiple vaccines, and their interactions is a risky area (especially when adding a new and largely untested one into the mix). This is not blaming mothers who get their daughters immunised like this, for they are making their decisions based on what information the medical community give them, ie. “yeah, fine”. Much of the “yeah, fine” is to do with logistical/financial convenience. The medical profession usually only contraindicate combined vaccines when enough subjects have had bad reactions (up to and including death).

    Recalling when I was a teen and got the tetanus shot, it was so painful and the area around the injection site had swollen with the muscle/tissues feeling hard like a rock. I’ve never had another.

    I am certainly not ‘anti-every-vaccine’, but would urge parents to consider each vaccine individually, plus spread immunisations several months apart, especially for babies and toddlers whose immune systems are undeveloped. To put it in really simple terms, most people are aware of ‘mixing’ medications, the same is applicable to vaccines (which usually have a stronger ‘system wide’ effect on the body than do most medicines).

    Posted by stormy | April 4, 2007, 11:15 am
  69. More on this Stormy. This is a respected and reliable source:

    As a former member of the FDA Vaccines and Related Biologic Products Advisory Committee, Fisher has considerable experience analyzing the lengthy documents submitted by the vaccine companies to the FDA, as well as the agency’s own review of company-sponsored trials. Fisher’s safety concerns center on the type of placebo Merck used in the Gardasil trials. “A true placebo would be a saline solution—something that is innocuous and has no potential to cause a reaction on its own,” she said, referring to the injection given study participants who were assigned to the control group against which Gardasil was compared.

    Instead, Merck used a solution that contained aluminum, Fisher explained, and neither the company nor the FDA has publicly disclosed the amount used in the solution. “Aluminum is used as an adjuvant in many vaccines to boost the potency of the vaccine,” she continued, “and though it has been in vaccines for decades, it has never been tested in clinical trials to see whether it is safe.

    “We know from animal and human biological mechanism research that aluminum can cause inflammation and brain cell death. Putting it in the placebo [in a clinical trial] violates the principle of the scientific method when trying to ascertain truth,” said Fisher. “To make matters worse, aluminum is also in the Gardasil vaccine which makes it difficult to tell whether the many adverse events reported in the trials were due to the aluminum-containing placebo or the Gardasil,” she explained, referring to the well-documented fact that adverse events will show up in all clinical trial participants, even those given an inactive placebo.

    Why would the FDA overlook this potential for confounding trial results? “The FDA has become partners with the vaccine manufacturers in fast-tracking these vaccines and in the process, the precautionary principle has been thrown out,” Fisher responded, adding that most health problems occurring in vaccine trials are often dismissed. “The companies tend to write them off as unassociated with the vaccine.”

    Maryann Napoli, Center for Medical Consumers © December 2006

    Posted by Pony | April 4, 2007, 2:38 pm
  70. I just heard on the radio this morning that lawmakers were trying to avoid promoting, mandating or in any other way being associated with this vaccine, because of concern that in some way this encourages teen sex.

    I am a conservative evangelical, and I want my daughter (now almost 2) to avoid sex until marriage. But do I want to deprive her of a vaccine that could theoretically (excepting all the likely valid concern about vaccinations listed above) prevent her contracting a fertiliy and life threatening illness?

    In other words, do I want premarital sex to be a capital offense? Hardly. I think Jesus would agree; he is famous for the phrase “let him who is without sin cast the first stone,” as he let the adulterous housewife go scot-free. He didn’t condone her infidelity, but he didn’t insist she be punished for it, either.

    The argument by these purportedly morally minded legislators is grossly oversimplified. It ignores the fact that women can contract STDs from their legal husband just as easily as from a sleazy teenage boyfriend, and implies that parents should prefer to risk losing a daughter to cancer, than to risk making the very vague implication that sex before marriage is normal.

    If this vaccine ever becomes mandatory in my state, I will tell my daughter I think she will be happier to save sex for marriage, but if she does have sex with somebody with HPV, I want to protect her from the avoidable consequences. Really; do these people also insist on no television? Forbid public schooling? loose-fitting coveralls only? An honest discussion of sex and its place in a healthy human life seems more appropriate than withholding potentially life-saving medication.

    Posted by Isaac | April 5, 2007, 2:23 pm
  71. Well Isaac, considering that you are the good male of faith and are protecting your females, your daughters until you give ownership away to another male, considering that you don’t want your daughters to contract HPV, considering that the females under your charge will contract HPV from any male they come in contact with, even those good faith brothers, considering all of that, tell me what you are doing about the males who walk around with HPV on their dicks by the millions? Females get this from males, not by osmosis. Consider that females don’t have HPV until a male gets his sex organ near her, and gives her this disease.

    Considering that females get this from you and your brother’s dick, what are you doing about that? What are you doing about those males who so carelessly inject and infect females with cancer?
    Huh? What about that?

    Posted by uppitybiscuit | April 5, 2007, 3:53 pm
  72. Pony, the only reason I can think of that Merck would dose up the placebo with a similar ingredient to the Test substance, is so that any side effects could be cancelled by the number of occurences of similar symptoms with the ‘placebo’. It is a form of statistical manipulation (errr, and rabidly dishonest!).

    Posted by stormy | April 5, 2007, 5:28 pm
  73. More reasons not to trust the Gardasil vaccine:

    A stunning, previously censored segment of an
    interview with Dr. Maurice
    Hilleman, the world’s most renowned vaccine expert,
    who was Chief of Merck’s
    vaccine division, has been posted on Youtube.

    Dr. Hilleman, who developed the Mumps, Rubella and
    Measles vaccines, said:
    “Vaccines are the bargain basement technology of the
    20th century.”

    In the taped interview (with about 6 Merck executives
    in the room, their
    nervous laughter audible in the tape) Dr. Hilleman
    explains how in his
    search for uninfected monkeys, Merck imported green
    monkeys from Africa.
    Those monkeys, it turned out, were carrying the AIDS
    “I didn’t know we were importing AIDS.”

    Responding to the question, “so, it was you who
    introduced the AIDS virus to
    this country?” He said, YES.

    Dr. Hilleman also acknowledged that he discovered that
    the Sabine polio
    vaccine (manufactured by Merck) was infected with the
    SV-40 cancer virus.
    In the process of developing vaccines Merck scientists
    are shown to blithely
    disregarded public safety as they conducted massive
    tests exposing millions
    of unsuspecting people to wild viruses. Dr. Hilleman
    acknowledged that the
    cancer infected polio vaccine had been tested in
    massive field trials in
    Russia, then in the U.S.

    The issues raised in this candid interview raise
    serious doubts about the
    propaganda the public has been fed about the safety of
    Vaccines that have been promoted as “safe and
    effective” miraculous cures
    have been infecting (possibly) millions of people with
    cancer, leukemia, and

    The interview was conducted by Dr. Edward Shorter,
    Professor of the History
    of Medicine and Professor of Psychiatry, University of
    I checked the authenticity of the tape with Dr.
    Shorter who informed me that
    he did it when preparing a PBS series called “The
    Health Century.”
    Doubleday published a companion volume of the same
    title in 1987.

    Dr. Shorter deposited the entire tape of the
    interview, including portions
    omitted from the book, along with other interviews in
    the National Library
    of Medicine.

    {…} snip

    Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav

    Posted by Sis | September 19, 2007, 5:05 pm
  74. Movement for a moratoria on Gardasil. From Spanish medical researchers:


    Posted by Sis | June 2, 2008, 4:00 am
  75. ***Dr. Hilleman also acknowledged that he discovered that
    the Sabine polio
    vaccine (manufactured by Merck) was infected with the
    SV-40 cancer virus.***

    S&*T! The first couple of polio shots I got were Salk, but the last one was the oral Sabin vaccine. I guess millions got it since. Well, I’m still here, never had cancer, hope I never do. I still remember drinking that sugar sweetened vaccine, so glad I wasn’t getting a SHOT!

    Posted by Thursday's Child | June 2, 2008, 11:13 am
  76. WOW,

    I’m going to jump in on this one because

    I have carcinoma cells-cervix, [stage III] or had, haven’t checked it in while, last check I was clear–had half of my cervix removed years ago due to this…

    now, but there is MORE…and I’m not surprised that TX is making it mandatory,

    BUT TRUST ME–ITS NOT ABOUT WOMEN’S HEALTH, OH HELL NO, thats a ruse, and I truly believe–this is an attempt to sterilize women or to put them at high risk of worse diseases…and here is why I believe that.

    When I was diagnosed with cervical displasia it was when I was homeless/and pregnant. At that time, I didn’t think anything of it other than being scared out of my mind, because I already had a four year old daughter I was taking care of–

    they couldn’t do anything because of my being pregnant at the time, and I was extremely high risk and malnourished [poverty–didn’t qualify for food stamps, I made 800-900 a month income, therefore I made too much money–yea, go figure, my daycare alone was 400 a month, and that was private daycare in homes that was, uh, not very good, but I had to work, so not a lot of choice there],

    so, food, If I got food for my daughter it was good, for myself, well, she came first…it was just the way it was,

    so, anyway, by the time I had my second daughter and was living on streets, I was moved into the projects, and finally, Finally qualified for help, though, LOL, my rent was 200, my AFDC, 380, not a whole hell of a lot left, esp not for daycare, couldn’t get daycare assistance, my infant was too young, so, kind of screwed there,

    but did get the cancer taken care of, via a scholarship at one of the hospitals, a special ‘study’ that was going on, Anyhow,

    so a year later, I am meeding ALL THESE SINGLE MOTHERS, in the projects,


    and either needed, removal of cervix or complete hysterectomies, now,

    yea, o.k., I could see, like one or two of us,


    THEN, on top of that, one of the younger single mothers, medicaid forced her [if she wanted to keep assistance] to get this patch, Depo something, or one of the patches, they were really pushing these young mothers [many of, who were not unwed but married-divorced] to get these patches,


    especially the Latinas, they were really pushing them…

    Come to find out years later, the patch they were given, was the one that was removed or protested, can’t remember, from the drug market for



    I mean, they were telling older Latina women, way past child bearing age, they needed hysteroctomies, it was like this big guini pig lab, seriously, all in the projects,

    our bodies to be experimented on in the name of ‘assistance’…

    but, it goes a bit further than that…the KIDS,

    when I really started to SEE how they use the poor for experimentation, especially ON MEDICAID,

    is when, I took my daughter in the ER for RSV, a virus that was going around at that time…

    Once they found she was Medicaid, the doctor came in, and said they thought she had Cystic Fibrosis which has NUMEROUS TESTS, THAT NEED TO BE DONE,

    and they ARE EXPENSIVE…

    OK, so what this Doctor didn’t realize, because you know, us poor women, especially single mothers are just like, Dumb ya know, duh,

    is that, I wasn’t always poor, nor was I ignorant. I in fact, had two close friends with Cystic Fibrosis and I know a lot about that disease, and my daughter had NONE of the signs, I used to help a friend with her daughter’s treatments,

    Cystic Fibrosis effects not only the lungs but other body organs, bowels, etc. When I told the Doctor, NO, they weren’t going to run all these unneeded tests on her, and told her what Cystic Fibrosis was,

    she stood there [it was female doctor] with this, I’m not kidding, like her mouth wide open, she’d been caught, red handed,

    and she knew I knew it. Basically, because they can get funds for tests and things, they will [not all doctors but there is some] that will say, oh we think there is possibility of this, this, and this,

    and using your kid, for all types of new testing and research, which the government will pay for [or tax payers],

    so, its a two way problem, one, yes, there are more illnesses due to poverty and malnutrition, which, Ironically, if you know what they give out in Food Banks and some of the food programs, they are the WORST HIGH FAT LOW PROTEIN foods out there, which just COMPOUND illnesses and problems,

    very unbalanced diets, put it that way…but when you are hungry, you make do. But the thing is, PREVENTATIVE HEALTH CARE, IS NOT THE GOAL OF THE WHOLE INFRASTRUCTURE WHEN IT COMES TO




    The years I was living on food bank food, I literally lost most of my teeth–slow enamel decay, that yes, my kids were effected also, not enough calcium while pregnant, and what they needed, they took from me, and I was like 30 lbs underweight, put it this way, the Day my daughter was born,

    I was wearing a size 6-7. Thats how tiny I was, at 5’6″, I looked anorexic and most in the college I attended thought I was, that or a meth head, and I’ve not ever touched meth,

    it was poverty. Living on cereal [high in sugars], beans, beans and more beans, and donuts, no kidding thats what you get as huge percentage at food banks,

    Sometimes if you were lucky, you’d get peanut butter or vegies, sometimes…

    but anyway, off topic here, I did babysit after working all day for $10.00 a week [yea, people love to exploit you when you are backed into corner/pregnant but you know, you do it, when you have kids, you do it], but I’d take that ten dollars and buy potatoes and vegies and make a mash type of meal,

    starches, lol, I can laugh some now, but for like two years, I had so many starches, its amazing I wasn’t a walking yeast factory, LOL–

    but yea I mean, my point is, So much of the shit, is preventable, with just some preventative and ALTERNATIVE health care,

    like herbs and homeopathics and BETTER DIETS/WELL BALANCED,

    and the thing is, all of it combined, DOES EFFECT THE IMMUNE SYSTEM which in turn, yea, makes one more susecptable (sic)to illness and cancers.

    It was no suprise really that the majority of women and some of the men [Veterans, men with cancer who lost everything because they were poor, there were some of them in projects too, a few who got out of prison and were too old, etc],

    but, it was no surprise how many of them had compounded illnesses and illnesses that you could tell, were just contributed to, not by poverty,

    but the poverty INDUSTRY.

    Which is tied, into that whole medical establishment/gov programs,

    and, if all this seems bizarre and unreal, well, then lump this in,

    they had Mandatory rule, that if you lived in transitional housing or projects, you had to sign a release form, giving them access to

    1..all your medical history

    2. public school records

    3. all your past public records like divorce, child custody, etc

    and much more,

    I, refused to sign, the caseworker didn’t ask me until like six months after I was in, they knew I had some education and that I wasn’t like, generational poor, project wise that is…so they were a bit weary of me, but the day she asked, and when I saw that form, I was Furious,

    I was there, due to economics, NOT crime, not Drugs, not Alcohol, not as Teen unwed mother [I was divorced single parent that fled abusive relationship], –and here I was, asked to sign over, every private detail of my life to them,

    pretty much I said, give me my goddamn orange uniform and number, Until you do that, I won’t sign shit,

    they dropped it, but of course when I signed up for college, it was pretty much–get out, which I did…gladly, [how dare one want education and fight to retain their Dignity while poor, hmmm,, another story but anyway],

    that and I got a group together to demand some minimul health standards, like not putting up with sewage overflow into carpets when we had babies/children walking on them…I was a troublemaker I suppose–refused to be treated like a dog,

    the Hard thing, was seeing just HOW many of the downtrodden, women especially just put up with it AND internalized it, and they do, I mean, its just unreal what you see,

    like, one woman, with renal failure, cancer, why she was homeless, an Educated woman, who once had a career–so beaten down by losing everything and being criminalized,

    but anyway, now this whole thing wiht the vaccine, its smells like a rat, it really does, I’ve seen the commercials on t.v. and its just, propaganda, don’t know how else to put it but,

    when they make something in regards to women’s sexual organs Mandatory–that is A RED FLAG RIGHT THERE,

    and in Texas especially, which has a High percentage of Latina Population,

    and an extremely high anti-immigrant mentality.

    Concern for women and cancer–no, doubt it very much, they’ve put in MORE RESEARCH ON MEN AND IMPOTENCY AND VIAGRA,

    than all the years of women/cancer put together. YOu are right, if it was MEN,

    they’d be all over this vaccine to prove its safety–for women, its just, take a chance,

    there is NO WAY IN HELL my daughters will get that vaccine, NO WAY.

    Not after all I’ve seen and know,

    but now, my daughters ARE learning herbal care and homeopathics, how diet contributes to health/and how to naturally detox using herbs/etc.,

    and since being off of Medicaid and having control over what we eat/not relying on Food Banks, etc.,

    my kids, have not been sick, other than colds, nor have I…

    go figure…

    and its been since late 90s, over 12 years now.

    Posted by Tasha | June 2, 2008, 7:26 pm
  77. Sorry to get off topic in above post, but, the point in them asking for Medical History [all of it], and Why its dangerous,

    its that they have ‘control’ once they have that information, and not only that, Why do they need it?

    I remember asking the caseworker why all my medical history/in details was important for her to know, she couldn’t answer, she gave some lame excuse like, if you get sick or something,

    but I think, its more to do, with government having access to the poor’s medical history in a concentrated effort, to further a type of eugenics,


    Some of it, sure, would be used for studies, such as percentage of poor who have such and such diseases, but I doubt it. Because everything about the poor, is


    Women ESPECIALLY, and WOMEN OF COLOR especially.

    Also, the percentage of kids who are low income and forced to be on pyschotics, is just UNREAL, seriously so putting all those facts together,

    its just not by chance or by circumstance, no way, too, way too many coincidences.

    Cervical cancer is one of the top killers of women, but if they really Wanted to curb that, they’d do studies on MEN and arrive at a vaccine for MEN, not just women.

    Its just odd, it reminds me of the drugs they gave women in the 50-60s that they found later causes all types of birth defects and even maternal deaths. That are carried on through generations–thats why they ask if your mother was given them,or at least my midwife asked,

    The REASON I bring up the experimentation on the poor, the underclass, is because it has gone of for years, without public knowledge, meaning its not like advertised or even written about,

    oh, there’s been some studies on forced sterilizations of Native American women and so forth, but not a lot on the testing/and unneeded medical treatment on those who are low income and on gov assistance.

    Some of it, is just pure greed by hospitals/medical establishment becuase they often run in the red, so to speak..its assured income,

    but I think there is more to it than that, and now, these vaccines are being pushed, even mandatory in states. ANYTIME they test things on the poor first–

    there is a reason for it, the Question is, WHY? Especially in regards to women and their reproductive cycles,

    AND when you look, at the state of our nation today and some of the big issues, immigration being one of them.

    Chance, nah, I don’t think so, not even,

    its amazing that, our government is wanting mandatory vaccines for women,

    yet, we still don’t have free access to birth control, or that insurance companies don’t pay for birth control, but they damn sure do,



    I’m not all up on the studies, in detail on the whole gye-cology like many here are, I’m just taking what I’ve seen, witnessed living in underclass/underground–but just taking that,

    and what I do know about government eugenics and the control of the mass labor pool, etc., [esp where welfare is concerned],

    there are too many holes in the whole propaganda and marketing of the HPV vaccine, way too many. That and the studies of negative reactions,

    there is something going on here that is way beyond just preventative or social concern for cervical cancer. Something far more sinister–

    and when its Texas making it compulsory-that says volumes. And I would be willing to bet, they are pushing it, or will make it compulsory in CA too,

    wonder if they are using this vaccine in Mexico, South America and Central America?

    I will look it up later today…

    Posted by Tasha | June 2, 2008, 7:49 pm
  78. Re never had cancer: I just remembered, when I was a teenager I had a couple of warts removed from my hand/finger. No big deal, no cancer dx, no chemo or radiation, just removal. But years later I saw a picture in a medical book that looked exactly like those warts and it was identified as MALIGNANT.

    Could it have been?????!!!!!!

    Posted by Thursday's Child | June 2, 2008, 11:17 pm
  79. Argh, me shot, and everybody in here on a roll with all of these interesting commments and thoughts. Well, I’ll catch up.
    Tomorrow is my birthday and I am not going to work. Yay!

    Thursday’s Child (and everyone), I am convinced there is *so much* we don’t know about cancers. I read an article a while ago about someone who had been to the doctor for literally hundreds of times supposedly to remove skin cancers, had hundreds of operations. The heck. Were those skin cancers at all, most of them? If they were what would have happened if he hadn’t had them removed? Was the doctor just removing bits of skin constantly so he wouldn’t be liable if the guy really turned out to have cancer?

    Nothing would surprise me so far as vaccines go, argh.

    Well, I’ll be back. 🙂

    Posted by womensspace | June 3, 2008, 5:25 am
  80. Apologies for the wonky format. Not more than a couple weeks ago, I read on another feminist blog someone saying she’d been advising others to get their girls vaccinated, because she didn’t know anything negative. Well, this thread has it all. Thanks Heart.

    New info about FDA and Merck collusion over marketing Gardasil before it has been deemed safe or effective.
    June 30 2008

    Promoting Openness, Full Disclosure, and Accountability and


    ***Though approved for marketing by the FDA in May 2006, Merck’s HPV
    vaccine, Gardasil, is still in the testing stages, and will not be fully
    evaluated for safety until September 2009.

    Gardasil gained FDA approval under a fast track process–within 6 months of
    testing. Fast-track approval is a process reserved for life-saving products
    with the potential to fill an unmet medical need, such as, new cancer
    treatments or AIDS drugs.

    A special report issued by Judicial Watch, “Examining the FDA’s HPV Vaccine
    Records: Detailing the Approval Process, Side-Effects, Safety Concerns and
    Marketing Practices of a Large-Scale Public Health Experiment” is (June 30,
    2008) shows that aggressive lobbying by Merck–rather than medical need
    backed by scientific data–led the FDA to approve Gardasil before adequate
    testing for safety had been completed.

    The report is a MUST READ for every parent considering vaccinating a
    daughter with Merck’s papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil. The report
    should be required reading for every public health official and policy

    Thousands of documents were obtained by Judicial Watch after filing a
    lawsuit against the FDA.
    The documents include Merck’s patent and drug information submitted to the
    FDA, transcripts and briefing material from approval meetings, and reports
    documenting health, safety, and efficacy test results, as well as Vaccine
    Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) documents.

    VAERS reports provide details about 8,864 cases of adverse effects
    experienced by girls and women after receiving the Gardasil vaccine.
    Since January 2008, the FDA identified 140 as “serious” reports (27 were
    categorized as “life threatening”), 10 spontaneous abortions and 6 cases of
    Guillain-Barre Syndrome .
    VAERS reports show that at least eighteen people have died after receiving
    See adverse effect reports submitted to VAERS:

    Adverse report excerpts include:

    * Information has been received…concerning a 20 year old female with
    no medical history reported, who on 01-APR-2008 was vaccinated with a dose
    of Gardasil….The patient died four days after…patient sought unspecified
    medical attention. An autopsy was performed which ruled out suicide and
    anything suspicious. The cause of death is currently unknown. VAERS ID:
    310262-1 (D)

    * Information has been received.concerning a 23-year-old female.who on
    31-JAN-2008 was vaccinated with her 1st dose of Gardasil…the patient
    experienced anaphylactic shock 2 minutes after vaccination characterized by
    a brief loss of consciousness…respiratory arrest, eyes rolled upwards,
    blurred vision and greyish skin tone…Anaphylactic shock was considered to
    be immediately life-threatening. VAERS ID: 304739-1 (S)

    * Cold sweat, Fall, Foaming at mouth, Grand mal convulsion, Immediate
    post-injection reaction….Pt [patient, 14-year-old female] received
    vaccine, took 6 steps, fell to the ground unconscious and had a 60 sec grand
    mal seizure then regained consciousness. [Blood pressure] after seizure
    60/40 pale clammy skin. [Patient] had bit her tongue and had foam around her
    mouth. VAERS ID: 305259-1 (S)

    * Information has been received from a physician concerning a female
    patient who on an unknown date was vaccinated with a dose of Gardasil.
    Subsequently, the patient experienced a coma and is now paralyzed. At the
    time of this report, the patient’s outcome was unknown. VAERS ID: 303188-1

    Most health officials believe that adverse reactions to medications are
    vastly underreported, as they are optional. Safety experts estimate that
    only between 1% and 10% of adverse effects are reported. Therefore the
    actual number of adverse events occurring after vaccination with Gardasil is
    likely to be much higher.

    Based on the reports submitted to the VAERS database, Gardasil is
    demonstrably a risk-laden vaccine.

    Even without Gardasil, cervical cancer deaths have decreased drastically in
    the past several decades. The American Cancer Society estimates that deaths
    from cervical
    cancer declined 74% between 1955 and 1992, and that the rate continues to
    decrease by about 4% each year.

    Since condoms are indisputably a safe, non-invasive, cost-effect method for
    protecting boys and girls / men and women against ALL sexually transmitted
    diseases —
    Why are we exposing American girls and young women to a public health
    experiment whose benefits are unclear while its risks include death ?

    Below is the Executive Summary of Judicial Watch’s special report.

    Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav

    Judicial Watch Special Report: Examining The FDA’s HPV Vaccine Records

    In May 2007, Judicial Watch submitted a request to the FDA under the Freedom
    of Information Act for all records concerning Merck’s new anti-HPV vaccine,

    After Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit in October 2007 to compel record
    production, the
    FDA finally released four sets of documents, the last in June 2008. These
    records detail
    the development and expedited approval of Gardasil. The documents include
    patent and
    licensing memoranda, test reports for the vaccine, and the final briefing
    document on
    Gardasil submitted to the FDA in April 2006, one month before the vaccine
    approved. The FDA also produced 8,864 VAERS reports. Judicial Watch
    uncovered a
    transcript of Merck’s May 18, 2006, meeting with the Vaccines and Related
    Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), at which the vaccine received a
    vote of approval.

    Analysis of the records shows:

    . Gardasil is a prophylactic, preventative vaccine and will not treat
    HPV infection. It is not a cancer vaccine or cure.

    Gardasil is marketed as a vaccine that prevents cancer, but it ” . . . has not been evaluated for the potential to cause carcinogenicity or genotoxicity.”

    Gardasil is not 100% effective against all HPVs. It is designed to protect against only four strains of HPV, even though there are over thirty strains including at least fifteen that can cause cancer.

    While Gardasil is the most expensive vaccine ever to be recommended by the FDA, its long-term effectiveness is unknown and could be as brief as only two to three years.

    During testing, an aluminum-containing placebo was used. Aluminum can cause permanent cell damage and is a reactive placebo, unlike most standard saline placebos. This means that tests of Gardasil may not have given an
    accurate picture of safety levels.

    .Although some states are considering making it mandatory for young girls to get the Gardasil vaccine, it has only been tested with one other vaccine commonly given to children. There are ten commonly administered adolescent vaccines.

    .Gardasil is still in the testing stages, and will not be fully evaluated for safety until September 2009. VAERS reports show that as many as eighteen people have died after receiving Gardasil.

    See full report:

    Posted by Sis | July 1, 2008, 10:55 pm
  81. The HPV vaccine one year later: Canadian Women’s Health Network “Network” magazine, free online:

    Posted by Sis | July 14, 2008, 8:16 pm
  82. On PubMed.

    “CONCLUSION: Only 28.2% of women with CIN2 or CIN3 confirmed by
    biopsy were infected exclusively by HPV type 16 or 18, a finding that places
    in doubt the degree of protection afforded by HPV vaccination.”

    Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu,
    University of Barcelona, Passeig Sant Joan de Déu, no. 2, Esplugues 08950
    (Barcelona), Spain.

    OBJECTIVE: To identify the prevalence of human papillomavirus vaccine
    genotypes and non-vaccine genotypes implicated in the appearance of cervical
    intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN2-3). METHODS: Prospective study of 519 women
    with abnormal cytology. All the women underwent a second Papanicolaou test,
    cervicovaginal sampling for type-specific HPV detection and colposcopy, and
    women with abnormal colposcopy results were referred to biopsy. Pearson’s
    chi-square test was used for statistical analysis. RESULTS: HPV was detected
    in 340 patients (65.5%), and in 125 (24%) more than one HPV genotype was
    present. We selected 206 patients with CIN2 or CIN3 confirmed by biopsy. In
    88 (42.7%) of these patients, HPV types 16 and 18 were detected, but only 58
    (28.1%) without co-infection by other high-risk or probable high-risk HPV
    types. In 115 (55.8%) women diagnosed with CIN2 or CIN3 high-risk or
    probable high-risk HPV types other than 16 or 18 were found. High-risk
    and/or probable high-risk HPV genotypes not included in the vaccine were
    isolated in this study more frequently than 16 or 18, and this difference
    was statistically significant (p=0.047). Of the 206 women diagnosed with
    CIN2 or CIN3, 19 tested negative for HPV and 14 tested positive for low-risk
    HPV types. CONCLUSION: Only 28.2% of women with CIN2 or CIN3 confirmed by
    biopsy were infected exclusively by HPV type 16 or 18, a finding that places
    in doubt the degree of protection afforded by HPV vaccination.

    Posted by anonymous | August 11, 2008, 5:25 pm
  83. FDA ok’s Merck’s Gardasil for two more cancers

    (vaginal and vulvar).

    Posted by Sis | September 13, 2008, 6:23 pm
  84. Of course, we should all remember that many cancer prevention screening programs have risks as well as benefits.
    We hear the screening industry screaming about the success of these programs, but they don’t tell us about the people who are harmed in the process – healthy people.
    I simply do not trust the medical profession any more…
    I would never accept their “word” about the need for any
    preventative measure.

    Cancer screening is supposed to be “offered” to women, but the reality is quite different – scare campaigns and bullying behaviour….overstatements and very little risk information.
    GP’s are paid financial incentives to get women into these programs – this is unethical and improper – it encourages bullying behaviour and deters the Dr from providing unbiased and complete information.

    I was shocked when I did my own research into cervical and breast screening.
    I believe women need answers to a few questions before they can make an informed decision.
    It amazes me that Dr’s don’t seem to think consent or informed consent is necessary with cancer screening.
    They accept the risk for us – are they prepared to accept responsibility if I’m harmed from a false positive and follow-up treatment – watch them run!

    Ask a few question: How common is this cancer in an unscreened population?
    What are the risk factors?
    How reliable is the test, injection or exam?
    What is the rate of false negatives and positives or side effects?
    Can I be harmed by a false positive or false negative or side effect?

    If your Dr can’t or won’t answer these questions, go elsewhere or preferably do your own reading.

    I’m so grateful I did my own research and know the truth – scare campaigns don’t bother me at all….I know exactly what they’re doing and it won’t work on me.
    Become an informed patient and protect your health, mental and physical….
    I can’t comment about this vaccine, but given their past behaviour and attitudes, I can assure you I’d be doing my own careful research and asking lots of questions before I delivered up my precious child.
    Sadly, it seems to be that most of this preventative stuff is about power, control and making enormous sums of money – these programs do help some people and harm thousands…
    No Dr has the right to accept risk on behalf of his/her healthy patients.

    Posted by Michaela | February 11, 2009, 1:31 am


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