Thursday, December 23, 2010

Toronto Sun: Quebec Coroner Won't Rule Out Gardasil® -- In Girl's Death

The Toronto Sun has a fairly important story, this morning -- do go read it all -- but here is a bit:

. . . .[A 14 year old Montreal girl] had an adverse reaction after her first shot in October 2008. A few days following the immunization, she began experiencing dizziness and memory loss. The symptoms were so severe she was transported to a Montreal hospital for tests.

But two months later she received the necessary second immunization.

Coroner Michel Ferland's report concludes Morin died from drowning [after slipping into an unconscious state in her bathtub, a few days after her second (of a planned three) vaccine doses]. But while there is no evidence the shot killed the teenager, he is refusing to rule out a link between Gardasil and her death.

Ferland is recommending Health Canada, along with provincial and municipal health agencies, better inform patients about the vaccine's side effects.

He also noted the National Vaccine Information Center, a U.S. immunization safety watchdog group, links 78 deaths to the Gardasil vaccine south of the border.

The coroner said he'd like to see further studies carried out in Canada. . . .

In general, I believe Gardasil® has a role to play in public health immunizations, for girls who are openly sexually active, or are considering being active.

That said -- I do feel it has been aggressively pushed, in part through "Astroturfing" efforts, to an age range where it becomes an inappropriate risk -- in many, many 12-1/2, 13 and 14 year old girls. Girls who are not even considering being sexually active -- and know they aren't. In those cases, the potential for even rarely-appearing but serious side-effects is simply an unwarranted (even if small) risk for parents to assume, on behalf of their children. Parents and children should have the right to vaccinate -- but they also should have a completely informed consent, first. [It protects against only four of the at least eighteen strains of HPV, and it carries a small, but occasionally ferocious side effect profile -- a profile that cannot be predicted (with any existing test), based on other factors.] H/T to Ed, at Pharmalot.

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