In addition to the moral debate that surrounds giving Gardasil, Merck’s new HPV vaccine, to young girls, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) is also urging against a “universal use” recommendation by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on June 29th. The NVIC doesn’t feel that Merck’s clinical trials proved that the HPV vaccine is safe for young girls.
“Merck and the FDA have not been completely honest with the people about the pre-licensure clinical trials,” said NVIC president Barbara Loe Fisher. “Merck’s pre and post-licensure marketing strategy has positioned mass use of this vaccine by pre-teens as a morality play in order to avoid talking about the flawed science they used to get it licensed. This is not just about teenagers having sex, it is also about whether Gardasil has been proven safe and effective for little girls.”
The FDA allowed Merck to use a potentially reactive aluminum containing placebo as a control for most trial participants, rather than a non-reactive saline solution placebo. A reactive placebo can artificially increase the appearance of safety of an experimental drug or vaccine in a clinical trial. Gardasil contains 225 mcg of aluminum and, although aluminum adjuvants have been used in vaccines for decades, they were never tested for safety in clinical trials. Merck and the FDA did not disclose how much aluminum was in the placebo.
Animal and human studies have shown that aluminum adjuvants can cause brain cell death and that vaccine aluminum adjuvants can allow aluminum to enter the brain, as well as cause inflammation at the injection site leading to chronic joint and muscle pain and fatigue. Nearly 90 percent of all Gardasil recipients and 85 percent of aluminum placebo recipients reported one or more adverse events within 15 days of vaccination, particularly at the injection site. Pain and swelling at injection site and fever occurred in approximately 83 percent of Gardasil and 73 percent of aluminum placebo recipients. About 60 percent of those who got Gardasil or the aluminum placebo had systemic adverse events including headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, myalgia. Gardasil recipients had more serious adverse events such as headache, gastroenteritis, appendicitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, asthma, bronchospasm and arthritis.
Hmm. This certainly throws a new wrinkle in the story.
You can read the full article over at Red Orbit.