The tween is now at the age where she will be offered the HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccine which is intended to protect against cervical cancer. The vaccine is said to protect against cervical cancer for at least 20 years. Clearly it sounds like a good thing. Cervical cancer is close to any woman’s heart and being able to protect your daughter from it, albeit for twenty years, is nothing short of a miracle.
I was all set to book her an appointment to have the injection (they don’t offer vaccinations in her school) when I visited the doctor with my toddler last week and asked the GP about it. Although he said he would do it, he urged me to investigate the side effects of the vaccine before agreeing to give it to my daughter. It turns out a girl at the school just down the road from where I live received the vaccine and was left paralysed. And it isn’t an isolated case.
I had a look at side effects on the NHS website and it almost dismisses them, stating that as information is received directly from the patients and not medical facilities it can’t be recorded. Unless the patients themselves report such side effects I’m not sure exactly how else a clinic would learn of them. If you dig around, however, there are plenty of sites with some pretty worrying information on them, like this one, which details paralysis and even death of previously healthy teenagers shortly after having the vaccine. Infact in just a year, between 2010 and 2011, 26 deaths were recorded following the administration of the vaccine. In the grand scheme of things, that’s probably a relatively small percentage, but for 26 young girls to die after having an injection which is supposed to protect them, is nothing short of a tragedy.
Why on earth is a vaccine killing them? Why is it paralysing them? (an even greater amount of young girls are left paralysed or with lasting damage following the injection) Is it really the lesser of two evils?
As a parent, it scares the hell out of me that while I may be protecting my daughter from cervical cancer I might be signing her death warrant or condemning her to a life or pain or paralysis. I was always under the impression that this injection protected the girls for life, not just 20 years and from more than just 4 strains of cervical cancer when there are apparently hundreds of them. Needless to say, I’ll be thinking about this one very hard, investigating some more and discussing it with the tween. It’s her body after all and I think with something as important is this, she deserves the right to decide what she puts into her body.
What do you think? Am I the only one who was completely misinformed about this vaccine?
Update: Following conversations on Twitter, you might find the following information regarding the safety of the vaccine helpful, especially as this post and its comments do tend to lean towards the potential side effects of the drug. http://hpv.kegel.com/faq/ http://www.jostrust.org.uk/about-cervical-cancer/hpv-vaccines-and-preventing-cervical-cancer and http://www.jostrust.org.uk/about-cervical-cancer/hpv-vaccines-and-preventing-cervical-cancer/frequently-asked-questions-on-hpv-vaccination