Science and Communications Officer, ANH-Intl
Parents. What would you say if your 12-year-old child could legally get vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease, one that can potentially cause cervical cancer? You might think that such a liberal attitude could be appropriate if the vaccine works; after all, cervical cancer is an awful disease, and is the second most-frequent cancer after breast cancer among women aged 15–44 in the EU. However, what if the policy went a step further – by allowing your child to get the vaccine without you knowing a thing about it?
That’s exactly what’s happening in the US state of California. But it’s a policy based on both flawed science and flagrant disregard of the extremely worrying side-effect profiles of the vaccines. Get up-to-date on the issues, educate others and help to prevent something similar happening in the EU!
The vaccines in question are targeted at the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are currently two available vaccines, Merck’s Gardasil and GSK’s Cervarix, the former having been widely adopted in the US. It’s important to realise up-front is that these vaccines are not the failsafe protection against cervical cancer portrayed by the mainstream media. In short, not only are they directed against only two of the 15 strains of HPV, but the science supporting their efficacy is at best incomplete. To top it all off, the US Centers for Disease Control warns of their worrying side-effect profiles, causing everything from injection-site swelling, via the neurological condition Guillain-Barré syndrome to death. However, as covered by our sister organisation, ANH-USA, American politicians and media alike are involved in a brazen cover-up of the safety issues associated with HPV vaccination.
In California, a Bill is passing through the legislature that will allow those aged 12 years and older to:
We are not aware of any treatments other than the HPV vaccine that can supposedly prevent sexually transmitted diseases, so in effect the second part of the Bill is specific to that vaccine. In short, young girls – and don’t forget that the makers of the HPV vaccines are also touting its usefulness for preventing genital warts, so boys are included too – can choose to be vaccinated without their parents’ knowledge or consent.
Are 12-year-olds really in a position to make a balanced judgement about such an important decision, especially when the full facts about the HPV vaccine are being obscured by both government and media? We think not. It seems to us that this represents yet another tactic by the US government to force vaccinations on everyone, this time by training the full force of propaganda on impressionable children while keeping the parents – who might have different views – out of the equation.
There is no sign yet of an EU policy that follows California’s example. However, the same two HPV vaccines have been licensed in the EU, and a report by the European Cervical Cancer Association (ECCA) reveals an EU-wide HPV vaccination programme aimed at schoolgirls. At present, the UK is the only EU Member State with a national school-based vaccination programme, targeting girls aged 12–15; preliminary figures for Scotland suggest 92% coverage for the first dose and 88% for the second. Across the entire EU, the age range of girls targeted for vaccination is 9 years (in Austria) up to 17 years (in Germany), with subsequent ‘catch-up’ doses at 13–26 years.
The bottom line appears to be that HPV vaccination to prevent cervical cancer has been adopted as policy by the EU as it has in the US, and that Member States are at different points in terms of implementation. Given that the EU often follows the US in healthcare matters, or vice versa, we must be on our guard in case the EU decides to propose a ‘secret’ vaccination programme like California’s – especially if the policy is deemed successful in the US.
Updated: 28 Sep 2011
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