The HPV cancer-preventing vaccine, especially Gardasil (or Silgard, depending on market), has been targeted by the anti-vaccine religion more than just about any other vaccine being used these days. So many people tell me that they give their children all the vaccines, but refuse to give them the HPV vaccine based on rumor and innuendo on the internet. This article provides all the posts I’ve written about Gardasil safety and efficacy.
As many of regular readers know, I focus on just a few topics in medicine, with my two favorites being vaccines and cancer – of course, the Gardasil cancer-preventing vaccine combines my two favorite topics. Here’s one thing that has become clear to me – there are no magical cancer prevention schemes. You are not going to prevent any of the 200 different cancers by drinking a banana-kale-quinoa smoothie every day. The best ways to prevent cancer are to quit smoking, stay out of the sun, keep active and thin, get your cancer-preventing vaccines, and following just a few more recommendations.
The benefits of the vaccine are often overlooked as a result of two possible factors – first, there’s a disconnect between personal activities today and cancer that could be diagnosed 20-30 years from now; and second, people think that there are significant dangers from the vaccine which are promulgated by the anti-vaccine religion.
It’s frustrating and difficult to explain Gardasil safety and efficacy as a result of the myths about safety and long-term efficacy of the vaccine. That’s why I have written nearly 200 articles about Gardasil safety and efficacy, along with debunking some ridiculous myths about the cancer-preventing vaccine. This article serves to be a quick source with links to most of those 200 articles.
And if you read nothing else in this review of Gardasil, read the section entitled “Gardasil safety and effectiveness – a quick primer” – that will link you to two quick to read articles that summarize the best evidence in support of the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness.
- All about HPV and Gardasil
- Gardasil safety and effectiveness – a quick primer
- Gardasil safety
- Large Gardasil safety studies
- Gardasil prevents cancer
- Gardasil safety and the law
- Japan and Gardasil safety
- Diane Harper
- Other “researchers” against Gardasil safety
- Gardasil and promiscuity
- Gardasil myths
- Other topics
- Gardasil safety – summary
All about HPV and Gardasil
Although many of you have read this section an enormous number of times, for some of you, this might be your first bit of research into the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, so it’s important to get a brief overview of HPV and the vaccines. If you’ve read this before, just skip to the next section if you want.
Genital and oral HPV infections are the most common sexually transmitted infections (STI) in the USA. HPV is generally transmitted from personal contact during vaginal, anal or oral sex.
It’s important to note that there are more than 150 strains or subtypes of HPV that can infect humans – however, only 40 of these strains are linked to one or more different cancers. Although the early symptoms of HPV infections aren’t serious and many HPV infections resolve themselves without long-term harm, HPV infections are causally linked to many types of cancers in men and women. According to current medical research, here are some of the cancers that are linked to HPV:
These are all dangerous and disfiguring cancers that can be mostly prevented by the HPV cancer vaccine. If you’re a male, and you think that these are mostly female cancers, penile cancer can lead to amputation of your penis. Just think about that guys.
HPV is believed to cause nearly 5% of all new cancers across the world, making it almost as dangerous as tobacco in that respect. According to the CDC, roughly 79 million Americans are infected with HPV – approximately 14 million Americans contract a new HPV every year. Most individuals don’t even know they have the infection until the onset of cancer. Accordingly, about 27,000 HPV-related cancers are diagnosed in the USA every year.
There were two HPV vaccines on the world market before 2014. GSK, also known as GlaxoSmithKline manufactured Cervarix, a bivalent vaccine. It has been withdrawn from the US market (although available in many other markets), because of the competition from the quadrivalent (immunizes against four different HPV subtypes) and 9-valent (against nine subtypes) Gardasil vaccines.
Merck manufactures Gardasil, probably the most popular HPV vaccine in the world. The first version of the vaccine, quadrivalent Gardasil, targets the two HPV genotypes known to cause about 70% of cervical cancer and two other HPV genotypes that cause genital warts. In Europe and other markets, Gardasil is known as Silgard.
The newer Gardasil 9, approved by the FDA in 2014, is a 9-valent vaccine. It targets the four HPV genotypes in the quadrivalent version, along with five additional ones that are linked to cervical and other types of cancer. Both versions of Gardasil are prophylactic, meant to be given before females or males become exposed to possible HPV infection through intimate contact.
Gardasil is one of the easiest and best ways to prevent a few deadly cancers that are related to HPV. It is definitely a cancer-preventing vaccine.
(Just a quick note. There are actually two cancer-preventing vaccines. Along with the HPV vaccines, the hepatitis B vaccine is also important for the prevention of some cancers. The vaccine prevents hepatitis B viral infections. Chronic hepatitis B infections can lead to liver cirrhosis or cancer. Liver cancer is actually one of the few cancers in the USA where the incidence has increased over the past few years. And if you follow the anti-vaccine rhetoric, you know the hepatitis B vaccine is almost as controversial as the HPV vaccine.)
Currently, in the United States, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that preteen girls and boys aged 11 or 12 are vaccinated against HPV. The immunization is also recommended for teenage girls and young women up to the age of 26 who did not receive it when they were younger, and teenage boys and young men up to the age of 21.
Gardasil safety and effectiveness – a quick primer
As you can see, there’s a metric tonne of information about Gardasil that I have written over the past six years. So, I wrote and published one article that summarizes the safety evidence, and another article that does the same for effectiveness. If you only have time for these articles, you can have substantial and robust evidence in support of the HPV cancer-preventing vaccine’s safety and efficacy:
- Gardasil safety facts – debunking myths about the HPV vaccine
- Gardasil effectiveness – yes, HPV vaccine does protect you against cancer
These two articles summarize the best peer-reviewed research regarding the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. So, if you’re “researching” information about Gardasil, those two articles will get you started. If you’re trying to convince your sister to get her children vaccinated, those articles could be an easy way to get the discussion going using scientific evidence.
I won’t be going on a thin limb by stating that Gardasil is extraordinarily safe, and it is also extremely effective in preventing cancer. Those two articles summarize the robust data supporting those two claims.
However, I don’t want to ignore the thousands of hours I put into all of the articles I’ve written about HPV vaccines, so I’ve summarized most of them below. They are in sections to allow you to find the right article for the right conversation.
- Digging for data in VAERS, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, in an attempt to show some relationship between report adverse events and Gardasil is a form of “dumpster diving” for data. VAERS, a passive reporting system, is barely more than an anecdotal reporting system, not scientific. There is no review of medical records, an inquest into a causal relationship, or anything else that real clinicians would use to ascertain causality.
- Gardasil does not cause blood clots.
- The European Medicines Agency is reviewing some potential adverse events that may or may not be related to HPV vaccines. It’s based on some very badly done, very biased studies. After their review, the EMA concluded that “the evidence does not support a causal link between the vaccines (Cervarix, Gardasil/Silgard, and Gardasil-9) and development of CRPS or POTS. Therefore, there is no reason to change the way the vaccines are used or amend the current product information.”
- HPV vaccine anecdotes are not the basis of real science.
- No, the HPV vaccine does not cause primary ovarian insufficiency.
- Christopher A. Shaw and Lucija Tomljenovic are back with bad research (that may have been retracted). No, the HPV vaccine does not cause behavioral problems.
- The American College of Pediatricians claims that Gardasil harms girls. Then they prevaricate. Then they don’t. Who knows? But we do know that they’re trying to co-opt the name of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is a real science-based organization that loves HPV vaccines.
- A false authority attacks Gardasil – no, Gardasil does not harm people.
- HPV vaccine side effects – unrelated to chronic fatigue syndrome – a large study of girls in Norway provides robust evidence that Gardasil is not linked to chronic fatigue syndrome.
- HPV vaccine affects fertility? Another myth gets debunked – no, Gardasil does not affect fertility in women, except in cases of women with previous cases of sexually transmitted infections – their fertility actually increases after receiving an HPV vaccine.
- Gardasil killed Colton Berrett? The evidence does not support this claim – despite the claims of Colton’s mother, the scientific evidence does not support a causal link between the vaccine and his contracting transverse myelitis (which lead to his death).
Large Gardasil safety studies
- In a large study, that included nearly 200,000 young females who had received the vaccine, the researchers found that the vaccine was only associated with same-day syncope (fainting) and skin infections in the two weeks after vaccination. The authors stated that “this study did not detect evidence of new safety concerns among females 9 to 26 years of age secondary to vaccination with HPV4.”
- In another huge study, that included nearly 1 million young females, an HPV vaccinated cohort was compared to an unvaccinated cohort. The authors concluded that “this study identified no safety signals with respect to autoimmune, neurological, and venous thromboembolic events after the qHPV vaccine had been administered.”
- Eight years of post-licensure studies have shown no significant relationship between the vaccine and serious adverse events.
- An eight-year clinical trial comparing the HPV vaccine vs. a saline control group (the saline control group eventually received the vaccine, after the study endpoints were reached) show no difference in adverse events.
- Even though there was no plausibility, researchers found that the HPV vaccine was unrelated to an increase the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) or some other acquired central nervous system demyelinating syndrome (CNS ADS).
- Another huge study, including nearly 2 million doses of HPV quadrivalent vaccine, showed no increase risk of multiple sclerosis or other demyelinating neurological disorders in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated groups.
- A review of all of the post-licensure studies of quadrivalent HPV vaccines provide strong evidence that Gardasil is extremely safe.
- HPV vaccine and autoimmune diseases – no link in new 2 million patient study
- Cervical cancer vaccine – Gardasil 9 shows long-term effectiveness – another clinical study shows that Gardasil 9 reduces the risk of cervical cancer by over 90%.
- Cancer preventing vaccine safe for women – no excuses for HPV vaccine – another study, this time with over 3 million women shows the vaccine to be extraordinarily safe for women who receive Gardasil.
- Vaccines cause multiple sclerosis? No link found in a large scientific review. Despite looking really hard at the data, researchers could find no link between the HPV vaccine and multiple sclerosis.
Gardasil prevents cancer
- Gardasil has been shown to retain effectiveness at least 8 years post-vaccination.
- The vaccine has shown to reduce the risk of cervical neoplasms by nearly 40% in large population of Danish women.
- Since the vaccine was introduced in the USA in 2006, the prevalence of the HPV types prevented by the vaccine decreased by 56% among female teenagers, 14-19 years old.
- HPV infection rate in the UK dropped significantly after release of the HPV vaccine.
- Free HPV vaccine in Australia cause a greater than 60% drop in HPV infection rates.
- Even one dose of the HPV vaccine is sufficient to prevent cancer.
- More powerful Gardasil cancer prevention vaccine is recommended for teens and young adults.
- The Gardasil cancer prevention vaccine saves money by reducing the rate of oropharyngeal cancer in men.
- Gardasil cancer prevention vaccines prevents pre-cancerous lesions (cervical dysplasia) in girls 3-4 years after vaccination.
- The HPV vaccine prevents cancer in men and saves lives. Time to get that HPV vaccine uptake higher.
- The new, more powerful, version of the HPV vaccine , recently cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration, protects teens and young adults from 9 subtypes of HPV, helping prevent more cancers. The new vaccine, called Gardasil-9, prevents even more types of cancer.
- The CDC has recommended Gardasil for children who have been subjected to sexual abuse.
- Evidence has shown that the HPV infection rate is dropping in US teens as a result of the HPV vaccine. Good news!
- Increased uptake of Gardasil 9 will lead to a large reduction in HPV-related cancers and lower healthcare costs.
- HPV vaccine effectiveness – cervical cancer rate halved in 10 years.
- HPV vaccine effectiveness – even better than we thought – we’re getting better and better information that HPV vaccines are reducing the incidence of some cancers!
- We have a cancer prevention vaccine, and it’s called Gardasil – how many times do we have to say this?
- HPV infections – puts one-quarter of Americans at high risk for cancer – Gardasil prevents HPV infections, one of the most important risk factors for various cancers.
- Gardasil prevents cancer – evidence for oral cancer protection – Strong evidence that Gardasil may prevent oral and neck cancers, especially in males.
- HPV and prostate cancer – meta-analysis shows link – another cancer related to HPV infections. Gardasil prevents HPV infections and probably will reduce your risk of prostate cancer.
- Oral sex and HPV-related cancer – another reason for HPV vaccine – oropharyngeal cancer rates are up thanks to HPV.
- HPV infection of male virgins – reason for cancer preventing vaccine – even young individuals who are not sexually active can contract HPV through acts like kissing. More reasons to get vaccinated.
Gardasil safety and the law
- A French Court hands down a ludicrous decision stating that Gardasil caused damage to a young girl. Courts are not capable of deciding on scientific facts unless you’re trying to create a vaccine manufactroversy.
- HPV vaccine and lupus – bad expert testimony in a lawsuit – no, Gardasil does not cause autoimmune diseases.
- HPV vaccine consent case in New York – a review – An attorney filed a suit to prevent teens, who were sexually assaulted, from getting the HPV vaccine without parental consent.
- Vaccine injury compensation and autoimmune syndromes – Gardasil is not related to autoimmune disorders.
Japan and Gardasil safety
The Japanese Health Ministry seems to love myths, so there has been a big kerfuffle in that country regarding HPV cancer-preventing vaccine. Here are my articles that focus on that country’s activities with the HPV vaccine.
- Japan’s Ministry of Health did withdraw its recommendation for the vaccine, but only because they used bad mathematics. They accepted supposed “adverse events” after Gardasil vaccine as causal, even though the rate after vaccination was LOWER than the general non-vaccinated population.
- Japanese HPV vaccine lawsuit – no science, no evidence. A bunch of lawyers in Japan are trying to get money for their clients who were “injured” by the HPV vaccine. Of course, all evidence contradicts their claims.
- No no no. Japan did not ban Gardasil. Of course, they didn’t.
- Diane Harper, lead Gardasil researcher – what are the facts? An updated article about Diane Harper and her opposition or support of HPV vaccines.
- Dr. Diane Harper and HPV vaccines – the tin foil hat version
- The myth of Gardasil researcher Diane Harper – debunked
- Diane Harper supports HPV vaccine – and she published it. Once again, we have published, peer-reviewed evidence that Diane Harper is a solid supporter of Gardasil.
Other “researchers” against Gardasil safety
- A French researcher claimed that he had “inside knowledge” of the Merck’s activities in manipulating data about the dangers of Gardasil. Interesting that he never worked for Merck, actually worked for a drug distributor (they don’t develop or research vaccines), and was made redundant when Merck acquired the distributor. In other words, he had no inside knowledge.
- A case report study, of no scientific or statistical value, claims that the HPV vaccine causes Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), except they didn’t even diagnose it. Bad study.
- Genevieve Rail – “lead developer” of HPV vaccines opposes it. She was not a lead developer. And she has no evidence to support her claims about HPV.
- Aluminum adjuvants in vaccines – another attempt for something, anything – a group at Cochrane trying to find anything to show that Gardasil is dangerous.
- Bernard Dalbergue and Gardasil – another anti-vaccine shill says nothing.
Gardasil and promiscuity
- The HPV vaccine does not make young women more promiscuous or engage in more risky sexual behavior. In fact, it appears that those women who do so actually choose to get the vaccine to protect themselves.
- Gardasil does not make teens more promiscuous, despite a certain church’s adamant refusal to allow their teens to get the vaccine.
- And once again, Gardasil does not make teens more promiscuous and does not lead to risky sexual behavior.
- HPV vaccine propaganda – anti-vaxxers get it all wrong again. An anti-vaccine group creates an HPV vaccine video that’s filled with misinformation, disinformation, and lies.
- Gardasil cancer-preventing vaccine is the greatest medical scandal – nope. Not even close.
- HPV vaccine clinical trials being attacked by anti-vaccine religion again. Slate published an article filled with false claims about the Gardasil clinical trials – we debunk it.
- The vaccine package insert doesn’t say what many think it says.
- Parents are refusing to immunize their kids against HPV for a wide range of reasons.
- American boys aren’t getting cancer-preventing HPV vaccine. We need to change this uptake.
- Gardasil DNA and aluminum – another manufactroversy debunked with nary a sweat bead forming on my forehead.
Gardasil safety – summary
As I’ve said a thousand times, there are no debates about vaccines, and certainly none about Gardasil safety and efficacy. The real science, published in real medical journals, and reviewed by experts in epidemiology, virology, infectious diseases, cancer, and other biomedical researchers, is all that matters. This is overwhelming evidence that supports the scientific consensus on Gardasil safety and efficacy.
Let’s be clear. Gardasil prevents cancer. And Gardasil safety is supported by massive evidence. Every teenager in the USA, where the vaccine is essentially free (drop a comment if you can’t get it for free, and I’ll point you in the right direction), should get the vaccine.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in December 2014. It will be constantly updated to include new articles about Gardasil and other HPV vaccines.
Full disclosure – I have not nor have I ever been an employee or executive of the Merck or GSK family of companies. I do not own any shares of stock in Merck or GSK. I don’t get paid by anyone to do this, hence I have to beg regularly for help from my loyal readers to keep this website going. I just care about ways to prevent cancer which include the HPV vaccines.
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