I’ve blogged before on the ‘good bishop’ and his edict that the HPV vaccine Gardasil not be offered to students in Catholic schools. Only about 20% of these students had parents responsible enough to get their daughters vaccinated.
Many anti-vaccine nay-sayers out there point to adverse reactions and death. The CDC last year released the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) report. The highlites include:
- 13.5 million doses given in the US in 2006-2007;
- < 8,000 adverse reactions (7% of which were considered serious, about half of what most other vaccines produce);
- 15 deaths reported, 10 of which could be further investigated (NOTE: no link was found between HPV vaccination and death in ANY of these cases);
- 31 reported cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a neurological condition that results in temporary but often total body paralysis (10 cases confirmed);
- In Canada, 1,300 women will contract HPV this year and perpetually live in fear of developing cervical cancer;
- 400 women will die from cervical cancer this year.
While the antivaccination nuts will focus on the truly tragic cases of GBS, what do they say to the many, many more who would have otherwise never developed cervical cancer? I have yet to hear an answer to this. There are risks associated with any medical procedure, including vaccination. Measles (MMR) vaccination has a GBS incidence of about 0.62 per 100,000 immunized children1 , and in both the HPV and MMR vaccination the risk of serious complication is far, far lower than the incidence of the diseases they are designed to prevent.