HPV vaccine fear mongering in an anti-vax book – a critical review

hpv vaccine

In 2018, “The HPV Vaccine On Trial: Seeking Justice For A Generation Betrayed”, was published. It was written by attorneys Kim Mack Rosenberg and Mary Holland, and Eileen Iorio described as a “health coach.”

As the title suggests, the book concluded that the HPV vaccine (from the first vaccine, licensed in the U.S. in 2006) was a betrayal, because it was unjustified, harmful, and with no health benefits. As the authors’ first chapter lays out, their opinion is in tension with statements from health authorities and cancer authorities worldwide – and goes against a large amount of data.

It is no exaggeration to say that the book is ill-founded, misleading, and anti-vaccine to the core. HPV vaccines have been especially signaled out by anti-vaccine activists since their creation. This book draws on anti-vaccine claims made over the years, including most of the older anti-vaccine tropes (claims, by the way, that are not always consistent with each other – for example, is the problem aluminum in vaccines, or a novel and different adjuvant?) and offering new (and ill-founded – see the discussion of chapter 8 below) ones.

To explain the problems with it, three of us divided the subjects in the book, and are reviewing it as a team. A review by Dan Kegel, who has an undergraduate degree in biology from Caltech and maintains a comprehensive site with the data on HPV and HPV vaccines, is found here. A review of the chapters on autoimmunity, aluminum, and a few more by John Kelly, a career biochemist, and molecular biologist and a survivor of HPV+ cancer, will be added later.

The book has four parts. I will not cover all of it, out of concern of making this review overly long. But I will raise some of the highlights. I am putting chapter 2 and 15 aside to address in my discussion below of the general use of anecdotes. Continue reading “HPV vaccine fear mongering in an anti-vax book – a critical review”

Ursula K. LeGuin is Not an Anti-Vaxxer–Or Why the Omela Argument Fails

Guest blog by Stacy Mintzer Herlihy. Ms Herlihy is a New Jersey based writer, mother of two daughters, Champion for [email protected] and the co-author of the book, Your Baby’s Best Shot: Why Vaccines Are Safe and Save Lives.

ursala-k-le-guinUrsula K. LeGuin is one of great voices of contemporary science fiction. I love her so much I once named a cat in her honor. UrseCat was a grouchy but gloriously pretty long hair we adopted from the North Shore Animal League. Much to Ms. LeGuin’s gracious delight, I brought Miss Ursula Cat to meet the writer when she showed up for a reading in midtown Manhattan.

So it was to my utter shock and disbelief, that I opened up a book with a clear anti-vax agenda and found that it was organized around one of her very best stories. The book in question is Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children by Louise Kuo Habakus, Mary Holland and Kim Mack Rosenberg.

In Ms. LeGuin’s much lauded story, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, we are greeted with a society where all is well but for one particular fact. A single child must be always kept in misery in order for the city to function and for the citizens of the society to be happy. Most citizens learn to cope with fact and accept it. However, some people walk away from the Omelas and from utopia. Continue reading “Ursula K. LeGuin is Not an Anti-Vaxxer–Or Why the Omela Argument Fails”