Josh Mazer, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of IPAKnowledge.org, wrote a piece for Maryland’s Capital Gazette that targeted the mass marketing of the HPV vaccine. Unlike the narratives pushed by most mainstream publications, Mazer, who has a background in science, did not tout the vaccine as a common-sense injection for teens.
Mazer’s column is derived from his experiences attending the Anne Arundel Medical Center Smart Women Lecture Series at Belcher Pavilion, where he claims both he and his 12-year-old daughter “left with more questions than answers.” He noted that the panel was overwhelmingly in favor of all teens receiving the HPV vaccine. Using the CDC’s own numbers, Mazer asserted that the odds of your daughter being diagnosed with cervical cancer is .007 percent. Essentially, 99.9929 percent that nothing happens at all in terms of a dire, cervical cancer diagnosis.
He goes on to says that high cost of shots, along with high volume (2 and 3 doses) compared alongside low probability for cervical cancer do not justify the vaccine’s use on the masses. He even compares the HPV vaccine logic to countering opioid addiction and drunk driving.
Given the relatively high cost of each shot, either two or three are required, and the extremely low probability of the diagnosis, I question whether a mass vaccination program to prevent these cancers, as horrible as they are, is the wisest and best use of limited resources. Would the same money spent countering opioid addiction, or drunken driving in Anne Arundel county perhaps save more lives?
Mazer then moves into claims made by one of the panelist, Dr. Charles Parmele, who claimed, “91 percent of HPV related cancers can be prevented with HPV vaccine.” Dr. Parmele also called the Vaccine Adverse Reporting System unreliable. Mazer countered this claim by calling HPV related cancers pure “speculation.”
The claim of 91 percent reduction of cervical cancers is speculation. The vaccine has been approved since 2006. Not enough time has passed to determine whether it will reduce cancers. The American Center for Cancer Research reported in 2015 that girls who received the four strain HPV shot, when assessed 10 years later, were actually more likely to be infected with high risk, low risk, and all strains of HPV. The four vaccine strains were reduced- but other, possibly more pathogenic, HPV viruses moved in to fill the void.
A VAERS review of HPV vaccine reports shows 54,105 adverse reactions. Among those, 2,227 are listed as “disabled,” 10,416 are listed as “did not recover,” 7,418 are listed as “serious,” and 362 deaths have been reported. Accordingly, the blanket claim that the vaccine has no serious adverse effects should be carefully revisited.
Mazer said the panel justified Japan’s abrupt banning of the HPV vaccine to be related to “social media.” Mazer says that both Medscape and Reuters covered the Japan situation and asserted that there were a great many HPV vaccine injuries. Mazer then goes on to say there just isn’t enough evidence and science to warrant mass use of the HPV vaccine.
My family is grateful to AAMC, and to the panelists, for their heartfelt efforts to minimize the terrible cancers caused by HPVs. Given the vanishingly small probability that any particular person will be affected, it is incumbent on the medical community to provide ironclad data that the vaccine does indeed work as intended and that it prevents more illnesses than it potentially causes.
Unfortunately, we are not there yet. Recommendations for this vaccine should perhaps be limited only to high-risk individuals, or suspended entirely as Japan did, until the science is incontrovertible.”
What do you think of Mazer’s thoughts? You can read his full column here.