Should Orthodox Girls Get Vaccinated against HPV?

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hypodermic vaccine needle

Human papilloma virus, or HPV, is spread by sexual contact. The body’s immune system usually eliminates the virus, which can cause genital warts and rare cancers in men and women, as well as cervical cancer in women.

A new vaccine on the market, sold as Gardasil or Cervarix, protects against some dangerous strains of HPV and can prevent 70% of cases of cervical cancer. The vaccine is most effective when administered before the girl or woman becomes sexually active. This pamphlet by the American Center for Disease Control lists basic facts about the vaccine.

A man and a woman in a lifetime monogamous relationship won’t need the vaccine, which is also available for boys. So some parents in the Orthodox community are not planning to get it for their daughters. One friend said to me, “I know my daughters, and they will get married young and have one partner.”

But is that realistic? While monogamy is currently the norm among most Orthodox young people, the virus is spread by sexual contact. Her daughters might choose husbands who are converts, baalei teshuva (returnees to Orthodoxy), or others who “were close to women in the past” (as an old roommate’s date told her).

What happens after marriage also matters. A friend in New York writes:

And here I am deciding about the HPV vaccine. I have a remarried friend who got HPV from one of her husbands.

Another divorced friend got the vaccine after her husband cheated on her repeatedly with prostitutes and a steady girlfriend.

But somehow the boys get a free pass to do whatever and then get married, while girls have to be angelic or ruin their chances of a shidduch. So just for that I want to vaccinate my kids.

And unfortunately, we can never exclude the possibility of rape or sexual molestation. Or that our children will choose a different lifestyle than we expected, with or without our knowledge.

There are 12,000 new cases in the US each year and approximately 150 in Israel. Israel’s rate of 6.2 per 100,000 is lower than the world incidence of 15.8 (source: WHO) and the US incidence of 8.1. The chances are low, especially with an Orthodox lifestyle, but fifty percent of cases are fatal.

Because the vaccine doesn’t prevent all cases of cervical cancer caused by HPV, women still need to get regular Pap smears.

According to Haaretz on December 6, the Health Ministry approved the import of 180,000 doses of the Cervarix vaccine to immunize 60,000 8th grade girls in 3 doses at the beginning of 2013.  Until now the vaccine, which requires 3 doses over a period of six months, has not been included in the “basket” of free health services. All health funds offer it for a fee.

Few safety issues have been reported. See the CDC fact sheet on HPV vaccine safety warnings.

Have you considered getting your daughters vaccinated against HPV? If you have daughters in 8th grade, will you let her get the vaccine?

You may also enjoy:

Teens Locked in Apartment, Parents Unconcerned

Genetic Testing in the Religious Zionist Community

Diabetes, Genetics and Shidduchim

A Mother in Israel’s Guide to the Polio Vaccine

image: steven depolo

 

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Comments

  1. When I did some personal research into this vaccine, and the reasons for getting or not getting it, I was surprised by some of what I learned. One important piece of news was the high rate of adverse reactions to this vaccine. Also, it was administered to girls in age categories it wasn’t studied on. And most of all, the vaccine hasn’t been shown to reduce death from cervical cancer at all! Pap smears are a very good way to detect these cancers early on, and I believe I read that they are easily treated when caught early. The vaccine has not yet been shown (last I looked into this) to reduce deaths from cervical cancer beyond the reduction caused by regular pap testing. It seems to me that educating girls on the importance of getting pap tests is a better use of time and money. As to the risks of a religious girl marrying someone with a background and possibly herpes infection… its a similar discussion to the eye ointment they like to give babies at birth. If you believe you are in a solid, long-term, monogomous, relationship, its so highly unlikely that anything would come of it, it makes sense to weigh the issue the other direction as well. If a girl marries a guy with a sexual history, or who knows he has the infection already (and it can be cold sores too, right?), then she should consider getting that vaccine before marrying him. I don’t think there is any sense in vaccinating everybody across the board, when someone can make a thoughtful decision when the issue is immanent. The reasons for vaccinating 12/13 year olds is because in secular culture they are becoming sexually active at this age, and maybe can’t be depended upon to get regular pap tests, or use protection, etc.

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    • I’m not sure where you’re getting your info, but just from the Wikipedia page:

      The National Cancer Institute says, “Studies have shown that both Gardasil and Cervarix prevent nearly 100 percent of the precancerous cervical cell changes caused by the types of HPV targeted by the vaccine for up to 4 years after vaccination among women who were not infected at the time of vaccination.”
      http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/prevention/HPV-vaccine

      The National Cancer Institute writes:
      Widespread vaccination has the potential to reduce cervical cancer deaths around the world by as much as two-thirds, if all women were to take the vaccine and if protection turns out to be long-term. In addition, the vaccines can reduce the need for medical care, biopsies, and invasive procedures associated with the follow-up from abnormal Pap tests, thus helping to reduce health care costs and anxieties related to abnormal Pap tests and follow-up procedures.

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      • The key word is the “types of HPV targeted by the vaccine.” It doesn’t target all types of HPV. Including some types of HPV that cause cervical cancer.
        Hannah Katsman recently posted..Should Orthodox Girls Get Vaccinated against HPV?My Profile

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        • No vaccine produced on earth is 100% effective, even against a single mutation of a virus, let alone multiple mutations. The yearly flu vaccine doesn’t even treat the mutation that will hit the winter it is given! It treats previous years’ mutations. But I’ve never heard of a doctor recommend against getting it.None of the childhood vaccines are 100% effective (varying likelihoods of not getting completely immune to whatever you got a shot for). Preventing some viruses is better than preventing none.

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          • Abbi, I mentioned the 70% mainly so that parents would realize that their daughters would still need Pap smears. Not to recommend against it as ineffective.

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      • Abbi, your quotes reveal uncertainties, such as: “if protection turns out to be long-term” and as someone else said, it doesn’t prevent other cancer causing HPV variants. The fact, as I see it, is that the vaccine has not been sufficiently tested to show effifacy, reduction of medical costs, benefits to girls, safety, etc. I wouldn’t give this vaccine to my daughters. If Pap Tests can catch most all cervical cancers at the early stage when they are not serious, then why in the world would I subject my normal, healthy daughters to something that affects their immune system, with a track record of adverse reactions more than usual and that hasn’t been tested on that age category. If, on the other hand, my daughter’s grew up, and seemed to be heading in a promiscuous direction, or some other risk factor was apparent, I would definitely talk to them about the possibility of getting this vaccine at that point. Pap testing would be something I would talk to them about early on, whenever it became relevant (they keep changing the spacing and age of beginning to get them).

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        • I don’t know where you get your info about this not having been tested for this age. The FDA is quite cautious, actually, and has set this as the age to give it (before sexual activity). I think it is not effective if given too much later. So I’m not sure how you can isolate your daughters for risk factors–a big risk is living in a world where people are raped. And you do not have to be promiscuous to get a sexually transmitted disease. One partner can be sufficient.

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          • I just started reading up on more current information. I have to say that I don’t have time to read it all these days, so I’ll get to it when my kids approach that age. I think you could be right, miriami, on some points. I did read the vaccine is effective up until 26 years old, as long as you haven’t been infected already. I need to look into the newer info about safety and how well its working. I still think it should be a choice based on individuals.

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        • Please read my reply above to Hannah. None of the childhood vaccines your daughter received are 100% effective. The issues of herd immunity apply in this case just as they apply in all other vaccines. The flu vaccine that is produced yearly fights last year’s flu mutation, since they don’t even know what mutation will go around this year. This doesn’t prevent doctors from strongly recommending them for the very old and very young.

          The efficacy has been proven against the particular strains it was developed to fight. Of course there might be other mutations- it’s the inherent nature of viruses to mutate. This doesn’t mean that the vaccines are worthless. After a quick scan on Google, it sounds like your information is coming from anti-vax sites. Having already destroyed herd immunity against measles, whooping cough and other childhood diseases in communities across the US in addition to the total dismissal of the link between vaxing and autism, I can’t say that’s an agenda I would consider scientifically sound when it comes to my child’s health.

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        • It’s given early enough to catch girls before they become sexually active, and has been shown to have immunologic markers of efficacy for ten years. In the US, most girls/women have the most partners in the first year after becoming sexually active. So they are generally covered. If it turns out that they need a booster later on, they will be more mature and also at lower risk (from having fewer partners).
          Hannah Katsman recently posted..Israeli Baby Name Queries: December 2012My Profile

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          • “has been shown to have immunologic markers of efficacy for ten years”
            Not according to the CDC. They also state the it’s been in use for 6 years, so it’s hard to see how they could see (rather than predict) how long it might be effective.

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  2. But how well educated about sex are religious girls in Israel? (I am asking honestly — we moved here 3 years ago and my daughter is only 8. Does anything get covered in science class? Health class? Is there a special course?)
    Will they recognize sexual activity as sexual activity instead of “fooling around” or simply not being shomer negia?

    And the idea that people will discuss their sexual history before getting married? I don’t trust it. At all. I have seen people that became religious in their mid-20s refuse to discuss, get tested, etc. with their fiance(e). (How someone then builds a marriage on that is beyond me, honestly.) If this kind of danger could be circumvented by the vaccine, I’d be in favor of it.
    Kate recently posted..Temper, temperMy Profile

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    • Well, a friend of mine who sends her 11 year old daughter to a chabad Mamad and has done so for all of her schooling life had the following encounter: Her daughter came home from school recently and informed my friend that the reason she has 4 brothers and no sisters is that “Ima, you were doing it wrong. You were supposed to be on top”. :-O

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    • Kate, how about teaching your girls yourself about all of this? Why leave it to the school? How do you know the quality of what is being taught, if at all?

      And, if a person won’t talk to their potential life-mate about their previous sex lives before getting married, then don’t marry him/her. That would be a big red flag for me. Some people could still lie… but again, there are many many other STDs they could be carrying besides HPV… so what are you going to do, stay single? The vaccine isn’t an answer to this problem. It simply provides an added level of protection in one very limited area. It doesn’t solve problems for potential young couples and truthfulness about sexual experience.

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      • I am absolutely the one in charge of my kids’ sex ed. At the moment it is age-appropriate (how babies are made, etc)–and that is the easy part. By age 12 it’s going to be a lot trickier.

        But I did not grow up frum or in Israel and have no idea how much is left to schools (whether biology or “other”) or chatan/kallah teachers. There have got to be kids who are NOT educated because it’s not tzanua or whatever.
        Kate recently posted..Temper, temperMy Profile

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    • Education should be dependent on the parents. Ideally you should talk to your child before they hear anything in school.

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    • ” (How someone then builds a marriage on that is beyond me, honestly.) ”

      Good question. But, at that point, it’s certainly reasonable to seriously think about the vaccine. To me the refusal to discuss would be a red flag of risk factors, which would definitely tip the scales.

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  3. I am the mother of a 13 year old girl who just completed her 3 doses of the vaccine and who is far from sexually active. To me it seems like a no-brainer to have my daughter get the vaccine. I am not a scientist and am a believer in vaccines–so while not an expert, I was surprised to read Shira’s comments which seem to be counter to other things I have read.
    Most of all, I feel that none of us know what can happen to our children (inlcuding, as MIL says) rape. I think PAP tests and the vaccine are both advisable–not one or the other. I also had false positives with PAP that led to more invasive (and uncomfortable) procedures.
    And why not do what you can to help your children avoid genital herpes? Teaching your values is one way; vaccinating is another. As MIL points out, we live in a complicated world, where people change their lifestyles (including becoming religious after sexual activity), where people divorce, etc.
    & a personal anecdote: my 13 yo could not understand when she started the vaccine (there are 3 shots, several months apart) why she needed the shot and suggested that she just decide to be celibate. By the time the shots were over, she was horrified that she ever made that suggestion. Right now, her fantasies are confined to boy bands and if an actual boy wanted a kiss, she would be shocked (and likely uninterested). But our children grow and we have a responsibility to do our best to keep them safe. For those who choose, raising them in a way that means they will likely only have one sexual partner is one way to keep them safe. The vaccine is another.

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    • I should have said that raising them in a way that means they will likely only have limited sexual partners (successive spouses) is one way to TRY to keep them safe.

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  4. Perhaps because we live in a small community, and because I’m very involved in my children’s lives, I’m comfortable at least waiting on this particular vaccine. I’m not pro-vaccine in general, and my children are uptodate on their shots mostly because I didn’t want to fight state regs and the school. I did delay the chicken pixels shot — 15 months is very early for that. And I only eventually had them fascinated rather than seeking out wild chicken pox because my husband never had it and it was easier to take them than to get him vaccinated. I’m still working on him. ;-) (he got one shot of two)

    I’ve also read studies that suggest the adverse reactions are better than the supposed protection. I’m going to be the bad parent who relies on a combination of low risk and herd immunity from the vaccine being pushed so hard on all preteens. (it was pushed harder for my teenage son than daughter!)

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    • This is just anecdotal, but… I got the chicken pox vaccine when I was 14, and about a yr later I got a mild case of chicken pox . (chicken pox + high school = NOT PRETTY!!!) my two children, and my two nieces got chicken pox after having received the vaccine! When I asked the doctor, she said the vaccine just reduces the chances of chicken pox (not eliminate). If they do get it, it reduces the severity, but the body doesn’t create full immunity, so they could possibly get it again. what do you know, as I was caring for my boys, I got chicken pox again!
      I would never actively seek out wild chicken pox to expose my kids to, but if they naturally get it, I think it creates better immunity than the vaccine. Better to get a real case once, and be done with it! JMO
      As por HPV, I’m with Hannah. You can educate your kids as much as you can, but there’s no way to know what will happen to them, what choices they will make with/without your knowledge/consent, and the same thing for the person they choose to marry. As long as the vaccine is safe and effective, I don’t see a problem. When my sons reach that age, I will definitely consider it and discuss it with them.

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  5. Sorry about the autocorrect! Pixel = pox and fascinated = vaccinated. also better = worse.

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    • The perils of autocorrect! Although I enjoyed the Mad Libs version of your reply. ;)

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  6. I’ve been noodling on this one since my earlier comment and I’ve decided I have to say and hope not to cause offense: I guess I feel it’s foolish and even smug to assume that your child will not get HPV because of the life you are hoping (and doing a lot to ensure) s/he will lead. We all try the best for our children, but despite our best intentions they can be exposed to sexually transmitted diseases. It’s nice to believe that these things don’t happen, but they do and sometimes in the worst way possible, that is, rape. Recently a few scandals have been exposed in the frum community–best not to have our heads in the sand when it comes to our children’s safety and health.

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    • Miriami, I understand your concerns. I hope I’m not foolish or smug. I don’t think my children won’t get HPV because of how I raise them. I don’t assume they won’t participate in risky behaviour during their lifetimes. I do believe that the vaccine won’t protect against all forms of HPV, and therefor if I want my kids to avoid HPV altogether, there are better ways to lower the likelihood of infection that will cover all kinds of viruses. I do know that the vaccine won’t protect against most cervical cancers, according to what I remember reading, just a few that are responsible for most of the HPV caused cancers, and so I believe that Pap tests are the better choice there. I read somewhere the speculation that girls might feel ‘protected’ by the vaccine, and skip their pap tests. That’s a possible risk of getting the vaccine. We can’t predict what choices our children will make, but we can give them all the information, and support their choices, and be there loving them no matter what they do in life. Its wrong to represent the HPV vaccine as something you give to your daughters at a young age and it prevents something ‘huge.’ Its only preventing one small piece of all the dangers of unprotected promiscuous sex. There are many other STDS, pregnancy, emotional difficulties, abusive relationships, etc. I feel and have always felt, in growing up myself and now with my own children, that giving my children acceptance and love, supporting their choices, helping them seek out and understand information about what’s important to them and to their safety, will help them to stay safe in the world, even if they don’t make the choices that I would make in their place.

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      • Shira, I agree with almost all you so and wish I could have expressed hopes and concerns for my child in the same way. But the 1 % of disagreement will have to remain only because I am not sure why the vaccine and PAP smears are an either/or. I am working to see that my teen knows all the options. I have always been open with her so that she can feel that I am a nonjudgmental resource and I am glad that her American, community day school also has sex ed–because as much as I tried and read, they discussed things I would not have known I had to (can’t remember a detail now but they were better at answering scientific questions than I could be).
        It’s a small 1% in the context of the other 99%.

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  7. Miriami, I’m glad we aren’t so far away from each other’s views. I guess its not an either/or situation. Its just that this vaccine is being pushed for girls, generally too young to be sexually active anyhow, and I remember the first add campaign, when I was in college still. It was all happy young ladies (not 12-13 year olds), with quotes about how ‘safe’ they now felt – and the quotes were all subtle scare tactics aimed at worried parents. It made parents feel like if they got this vaccine for their daughter, she’d not have any problems at all. It was similar to the Allesse ads that came out earlier than that. “I’m on the pill, and I feel so safe!” as if the pill is perfect for anyone, has no side effects, and prevents STDs too. As if its now okay to go have unprotected sex all over campus.

    Just like a teen will have to be educated, and make the choice, to go and get pap tests done on a regular schedule, I think it should be their choice to get this vaccine, when they feel its necessary. This isn’t a childhood disease that we are trying to protect them from, that we need to vaccinate for in childhood in order to prevent. This is an adult disease, that we are telling our daughters they are going to get, and that therefor we should vaccinate them now, while they are too young to object or have legal opinions on it, because, we don’t plan on trusting them later on to act with smarts. Its just all so twisted to me.

    Pap Tests. Vaccines. Condoms. Monogamy. The Pill. Breast Exams. Abstinence. – Its about all these things and more. The choice should be there for them. I’m glad my mother didn’t let me get the HEP C (or B?) vaccine they were pushing when I was in high school. It was to prevent an STD. I wasn’t having sex. I wasn’t going to have sex. I understood the risks of unprotected sex. My mother was suspicious of the idea of vaccinated against STDS kids who weren’t having sex. If I had made different choices, I probably would have gotten that vaccine later on. But since I didn’t, and I’m in a monogamous committed relationship of 10 years, married, and without any previous partners on both sides, the risk is so low, I don’t want to get that vaccine, nor the HPV vaccine, for myself. There has to be a point below which the risks of the vaccine (Adverse reactions) is higher than the risk of the disease, in individual cases. I think in my own case, that must be true. But a person has to be honest with themselves about their partner, and what they believe, I suppose. There is always some level of risk involved.

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  8. Seems to me unless someone is opposed to vaccines, they should just go along with the standard. Getting all offended about one particular vaccine as if it implies something specific about that very child being vaccinated (or their family) is just silly and irrelevant. Worse, starting a vocal movement against that vaccine will only encourage those in the real risk groups to avoid it.

    By the way last I knew the US administered this vaccine at 5 years old – because they couldn’t count on finding those kids in the highest risk group by the time they’re 12.

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  9. Vaccination (just like all of medicine) is about risk management. The HPV vaccine has been around for just 6 years. There is no long-term study of its effects.

    I consulted our Ob-Gyn about this and he was emphatic that unless I expect my daughters to “go wild” (his lingo), there is no reason to vaccinate them. Also keep in mind that the incidence of HPV is much lower in partners of circumcised males and with almost universal circumcision here in Israel the chances of contracting HPV are much lower.

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    • I listed Israel’s statistics in the post, the rate is lower here than in the US but clearly circumcision isn’t doing the job.
      Hannah Katsman recently posted..Israeli Baby Name Queries: December 2012My Profile

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    • Ms. Krieger says:

      @leah

      1. The HPV gardasil vaccine was being tested in my university when I was in college (1998-2003) and so yes, they do have 10 years of experience monitoring it.

      2. Almost EVERYONE is infected with some form of HPV at one point in their life. Male circumcision does reduce transmission of the virus but not absolutely. You cannot rely upon that. Several OBGYNs have told me that almost every patient they have ever tested for HPV has come out positive. Your OB.GYN is being extraordinarily complacent. Perhaps he has not begun testing his patients for HPV routinely, or perhaps he does have a very special subset of patients who are somehow immune.

      HPV vaccination is much like vaccination for measles or polio–it’s not about protecting the individual receiving the vaccination. It’s about protecting society as a whole. If enough people are vaccinated, the virus cannot spread and attack the vulnerable.

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  10. Of course I want my daughter to get this vaccine.

    I do my best as a parent, and my wife and I try to raise our children to love Hashem and serve Him to best of their abilities. So far, with G-d’s help, so good.

    However – how many of us have NEVER transgressed the Torah?

    While I hope and pray it doesn’t happen, it is possible that any of our daughters could have a moment of weakness when single, engage in a single act of youthful indiscretion.

    The chances of that happening are GREATER than the chances of adverse side effects from the vaccine.

    Therefore, anyone who loves their daughter must make sure that they receive this vaccine.

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  11. I think everyone here should know a few things.

    1) Even the lead researcher who created Gardasil has this to say: from Sharyl Atkissson’s report on CBS: “Dr. Diane Harper says young girls and their parents should receive more complete warnings before receiving the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. Dr. Harper helped design and carry out the Phase II and Phase III safety and effectiveness studies to get Gardasil approved, and authored many of the published, scholarly papers about it. She has been a paid speaker and consultant to Merck. It’s highly unusual for a researcher to publicly criticize a medicine or vaccine she helped get approved.

    Dr. Harper joins a number of consumer watchdogs, vaccine safety advocates, and parents who question the vaccine’s risk-versus-benefit profile. She says data available for Gardasil shows that it lasts five years; there is no data showing that it remains effective beyond five years.”

    2) Gardasil and Cervarix have a VERY high rate of serious adverse reactions and according to the VAERS database has killed close to 100 girls and ruined many lives. U.S. government experts say that between 10% and 1% of all medical adverse reactions get reported, so the real figure is probably much, much higher. Just read these girls’ bios. http://www.truthaboutgardasil.org

    3) LIVE vaccine strain viral HPV DNA has been found in at least a few girls upon postmortem (only a couple checked). http://www.examiner.com/article/gardasil-hpv-dna-discovered-post-mortem-samples http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sanevax-announces-medical-surprise-gardasilr-hpv-dna-discovered-in-post-mortem-blood-and-spleen-tissue-2012-08-08

    This spurred a vaccine safety group (Sanevax, I think) to do an independent investigation. They procured 16 Gardasil samples from several sites around the world, and every single sample contained live HPV viral DNA. Unkilled viruses are of course capable of causing illness and even autoimmune reactions. Coming through a needle and into the blood system is far, far worse than catching the virus through the normal routes of the mucous membranes, where cellular immunity plays a great part in handling illnesses (hence the about 95% of people who clear HPV totally and without issue, having never known they had it, with full immunity thereafter). This live virus DNA also accounts for one of the many complications reported at VAERS as happening post-vaccine: GENITAL WARTS (ironic ain’t it).

    Things to consider.

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    • http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/ucm179549.htm
      The Gardasil safety review assessed the following adverse events: local injection site reactions, syncope, dizziness, and nausea, headaches, hypersensitivity reactions, such as rashes, hives, itching, anaphylaxis, Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), transverse myelitis, motor neuron disease, venous thromboembolic events (VTEs), pancreatitis, autoimmune disorders, pregnancy, and deaths. All of these events are included in Gardasil’s labeling. In VAERS, a higher proportion of Gardasil reports were of syncope and VTEs compared with other vaccines. However, none of the adverse events in the safety review, including syncope and VTEs, were reported at rates (number of adverse events/number of doses distributed) greater than expected in a population of this age and gender and with other known contributing factors to these adverse events.
      Hannah Katsman recently posted..Israeli Baby Name Queries: December 2012My Profile

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  12. Here is the link to the press release of the report re: Gardasil’s 16 samples tested by a leading expert in PCR analysis of HPV virus. All were positive for live HPV.

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  13. children do not in general advertise their activities to their parents.

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  14. I haven’t read through all the comments, so I don’t know if this has already been said or not. I had a doctor offer me the vaccine when I was 18 (it was only recently being used for this purpose). What she told me was that yes, if I’m planning of having a monogamous relationship then I probably won’t need it – but that you never know where your husband has been. Not in the sense of cheating or anything, but what if you marry a baal teshuva, convert, divorcee or someone who for whatever reasons had been sexually active in the past? And she’s right. As it happens I didn’t marry anyone in any of those categories, but I couldn’t know in advance who I would marry.

    I wound up only getting two out of the three shots (long story) but I would definitely get it for my children. With cervical cancer having such a high fatality rate, why not give them what small protection I can?

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  15. ABBI:

    “The flu vaccine that is produced yearly fights last year’s flu mutation, since they don’t even know what mutation will go around this year.”

    i have to double check, but i don’t think this is quite accurate. it’s not that they fight they previous year’s strains, but rather they researchers use previous year’s data to predict which 3 strains (2 of type A and 1 type B) will predominate in the coming year.

    SHIRA:

    i don’t even know where to begin, but mostly it’s been said already above.

    LEORA:

    VAERS is a poor (at best) source for compiling an adverse effect profile. it is mostly a recording service, not an investigative one. the data it compiles is important in telling drug manufacturers, researchers, etc. what they should be checking, but how do you draw an implication of causality? if you get a vaccine, wake up the next morning with a headache and report it to VAERS, it gets recorded as an adverse event. but maybe you happen to wake up every morning with a headache? or you were up late the night before and didn’t get enough sleep? or perhaps a sinus infection had been brewing for a few days?

    and of course, as MOI wrote, you have to compare the incidence profile with the vaccine vs. incidence in the general population.
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  16. I am not against deadly disease vaccines such as small pox and measles, but I am against over vaccination as we are doing it now. The survival rate after chicken pox is very high, yet we vaccinate our children against it. The survival rate after a flu is high too. If our bodies are vaccinated against every disease then they won’t learn to fight, and when a new one comes along we are doomed.

    Another reason I worry about over vaccination, is because vaccine is nothing less than infecting a healthy body with a sickness. What are the negative side affects of these vaccines? I know that measles, mumps and etc have a certain percent of children contracting the said disease from a vaccination. Yes, the chance is small, but it is still there.

    Now to HPV. People who are sexually active with multiple partners are aware of dangers of contracting various things as well as pregnancy, and use condoms to combat these dangers. So, while this HPV vaccine would protect one from one specific virus, the person would still be vulnerable to a myriad of others. These people are very careful and use protection. So, the question in this case should not be if my daughter should marry someone who has sexual history or is going to cheat on her, the question should be what are the chances of her marrying such a person who would also not be using protection. That should be weighed against all the negatives of the vaccine itself and then the decision should be made.

    I decided, that it is better not to vaccinate my daughters, because the odds are against the vaccine.

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  17. Anyone who thinks that Orthodox girls don’t have to worry about protecting themselves from STD’s needs to visit Tel Aviv’s “red light” district after midnight on any given day…
    Wearing a black hat and praying all the time doesn’t necessarily mean someone’s sexual behavior doesn’t deviate from the ideals held by the community – and pretending it does endangers the women (and children) in that community.
    Even the most virtuous woman doesn’t control what her husband does (or did in the past) and diseases don’t make moral judgments about who they infect. I know there are problems with this particular vaccine, but parents – all parents – have a responsibility to educate their children to cope in the real world (not the fantasy of the world they wish they lived in).

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  18. Remember DES? Those of us who do are reluctant to give anything to our daughters where the expected benefit is small and the long term risks are entirely unknown.

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    • You are correct that there could be long-term risks. The HPV vaccine has been tested much more extensively than DES and over a much longer period. There have also been cases where women got pregnant after getting the vaccine, although they are advised not to I believe. You can look up the research yourself.

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  19. In fact, both the long term risks and beneifts of the HPV vaccine are pretty much unknown, according to the HPV vaccine factsheet at the US National Cancer Institute. l

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    • Long-term is relative. Not long term compared to the measles vaccine, but very long-term compared to DES.
      Readers can read and judge for themselves about how long is long enough.

      http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/prevention/HPV-vaccine
      From the fact sheet (Updated in 2011):

      How effective are the HPV vaccines?

      Gardasil and Cervarix are highly effective in preventing infection with the types of HPV they target. The vaccines have been shown to provide protection against persistent cervical HPV 16/18 infections for up to 8 years, which is the maximum time of research follow-up thus far. More will be known about the total duration of protection as research continues (7).

      HPV vaccination has also been found to prevent nearly 100 percent of the precancerous cervical cell changes that would have been caused by HPV 16/18. The data so far show duration of production for up to 6.4 years with Cervarix and for up to 5 years for Gardasil—in women who were not infected with HPV at the time of vaccination (7–10).

      A recent analysis of data from a clinical trial of Cervarix found that this vaccine is just as effective at protecting women against persistent HPV 16 and 18 infection in the anus as it is at protecting them from these infections in the cervix (11).

      How safe are the HPV vaccines?

      Before any vaccine is licensed, the FDA must determine that it is both safe and effective. Both Gardasil and Cervarix have been tested in tens of thousands of people in the United States and many other countries. Thus far, no serious side effects have been shown to be caused by the vaccines. The most common problems have been brief soreness and other local symptoms at the injection site. These problems are similar to ones commonly experienced with other vaccines. The vaccines have not been sufficiently tested during pregnancy and, therefore, should not be used by pregnant women.

      A recent safety review by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considered adverse side effects related to Gardasil immunization that have been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System since the vaccine was licensed (14). The rates of adverse side effects in the safety review were consistent with what was seen in safety studies carried out before the vaccine was approved and were similar to those seen with other vaccines. However, a higher proportion of syncope (fainting) and venous thrombolic events (blood clots) were seen with Gardasil than are usually seen with other vaccines.

      Falls after syncope may sometimes cause serious injuries, such as head injuries. These can largely be prevented by keeping the vaccinated person seated for up to 15 minutes after vaccination. The FDA and CDC have reminded health care providers that, to prevent falls and injuries, all vaccine recipients should remain seated or lying down and be closely observed for 15 minutes after vaccination. More information is available from the CDC.
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