The HPV Vaccine Debate – Profit over people

The HPV Vaccine – Protecting profits at the expense of the people

In a media briefing this week, the Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi announced the roll out of the HPV Vaccine program next month. [1] The program targets grade four learners who are not yet sexually active to receive their first dose of the HPV Vaccine.

HPV Profit over People?

An estimated 550 000 children will receive the first dose of the vaccination next month, and although the costs to the government of the vaccination have not been disclosed, as far as I can tell, if the vaccines were bought at prices quoted last year of R500 per dose, the companies stand to make a whopping two hundred and seventy five million rand. But that may not be the only cost associated with this program. In fact, far from it. The social costs of the program could far outweigh the benefits.

The rationale behind the program is to “protect” women from cervical cancer. According to the Minister of Health and CANSA South Africa, cervical cancer is the second biggest killer of women after breast cancer. We must assume they mean the second biggest killer attributed to cancer and not other causes of death like assault, tuberculosis and heart diseases. In fact, according to statics published in 2010 by the South African government[2], cervical cancer did not even make the top twenty leading causes of death.

To put this “vicious killer” into perspective, according to’s latest statistics[3], your chances of developing cervical cancer are 1 in 39. This equates to a 2.56% chance of developing the disease. This is higher than the statistics published by the Center for Disease Control which claim that sixteen in one hundred thousand women contract cervical cancer. The survival rate of cervical cancer, according to Center for Disease Control statistics is 66% so in fact 6 in 100 000 people die of cervical cancer. So in real terms women in South Africa run the risk of 2.56% chance of developing cervical cancer and 0.006% of dying from the disease. [4]

The HPV vaccine protects women against 4 of the more than 100 strains of the HPV virus. So now work out the benefits of getting a 4% chance of being protected against a disease that has a 0.006% of chance of killing you in twenty or thirty years time.

But the alarming news about the HPV Vaccine is not that South Africa is going to roll out 550 000 of these vaccines but in fact that we make this announcement after serious questions have been raised about this vaccine.

Japan Withdraws HPV Vaccine Recommendation for Girls

Just last year the Japanese Ministry of Health withdrew its support for the vaccinations. It not only withdrew its support, but instructed its local governments NOT to promote the use of the medicine pending further investigation into the serious side effects that were being reported as a result of the vaccine. [5]

According to the article published by a leading medical source, “In the entire Cervarix study population of 16,381 females, 5.3% of recipients reported serious adverse reactions.”

Japan will continue to offer the vaccines but have admonished health care providers to inform patients that the Ministry of Health does not recommend it and they must advise patients of the serious side effects associated with the vaccine.

And alarm bells against the blanket use of the vaccine are not only ringing in Japan either.

The researcher who designed the trials has spoken out against the vaccine too.

Gardasil Researcher Speaks Out

Dr. Diane Harper was one of the researchers who helped design and implement the trials of the vaccine. In an alarming turn of events Dr. Harper has publicly criticized the vaccine. [6] She explains that there is no basis for believing that the vaccine is effective beyond five years. She says the vaccine doesn’t last and according to her if we vaccinated eleven year old girls then, “we’ve put them at harm from side effects, small but real, for no benefit.” She states that, “the vaccine could prove riskier than the cervical cancer it purports to prevent”. She also states that, “its risks – “small but real” – could occur more often than the cervical cancer itself would. Cervical cancer is usually entirely curable when detected early through normal Pap screenings.”

But then again, I suppose if there are no alternatives to cervical cancer prevention, then we must take a risk on a vaccine with serious side effects.

And that’s where even more alarm bells start ringing. Because there are safer, cheaper more effective alternatives to the vaccine!

The simple condom solution

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2006[7], the use of condoms reduces the incidence of HPV by up to 70%. This offers far more protection that either of the HPV vaccines available today.

And if you don’t like the condom, option, then the next study should blow you mind.

New HIV drug kills the HPV virus that causes cervical cancer.

In an article published in the Daily Mail, a new study found that a drug called Lopinavir kills the HPV virus that leads to cancer and that the drug killed off 90% of the pre-cancerous cells with NO side effects.

The study showed that of the 23 women who were initially diagnosed with a high grade version of the disease, 19 women returned to normal after the use of the drug and there was a 91% positive response in all patients.

But then again, what side effects are we really risking with the HPV vaccine? Well, let’s examine the list of the side effects reported as a result of the HPV vaccine.

The Side effects of the Vaccine

In a press release issued in March 2013, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program announced that it has paid out over five million dollars in injury claims as a result of the HPV vaccine and that half of the claims so far are still pending investigation.[8] These included claims for death as a result of the HPV vaccination.

According to VAERS data published in 2011[9], there have been in excess of 22 000 adverse events reported, and these include 104 deaths, 780 disabled, 4 898 who did not recover from side effects, 457 life threatening events, 2335 hospitalizations and 9 312 emergency room visits.

The cherry on top includes the 41 cases of cervical cancer reported as a side effect of the HPV vaccine! That right. According to Merck themselves, the HPV vaccine INCREASES the risk of cancer by 44.6% if the person has been exposed to the virus before the vaccination.[10]

The conclusion: The facts speak for themselves

  • The government will vaccinate 550 000 learners this year at a cost of millions of Rand.
  • Condoms, at a fraction of the price, have been shown to be 70% more effective than this vaccine.
  • Lopinavir – at a fraction of the cost – is 90% effective at killing the virus that causes cervical cancer.
  • You have a 0.006% chance of dying from cervical cancer.
  • You have a 3% chance of developing serious side effects, including death as a result of the HPV vaccine – assuming you believe the manufacturers of the product or a 5,3% chance if you believe the Japanese.
  • It will increase your risk of cervical cancer by 44.6% if you have been exposed to HPV 16 or HPV 18 before vaccination.
  • And the vaccine has not been shown to protect you from cervical cancer for more than 5 years.
  • It seems clear to me that the only people benefiting from this new Vaccination program are GlaxoSmithKline and Merck who will no doubt not have to pay out their victims in Dollars but Rand, at a vastly reduced rate, assuming they have to compensate victims at all.

What remains to be seen is whether the Consumer Protection Act will step up to protect the consumers who are seriously affected by this vaccination in the future.

[1] SA school girls to be vaccinated against cervical cancer :


[3] South African Cancer Statistics:

[4] Cervical Cancer Rates by Race and Ethnicity :

[5] Japan Withdraws HPV Vaccine Recommendation for Girls  –

[6] Gardasil Researcher Speaks Out

[7] Condom Use and the Risk of Genital Human Papillomavirus Infection in Young Women.





[10] via

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