Book Review: The HPV Vaccine on Trial: Seeking Justice for a Generation Betrayed

Review by Maria Ryan

Book Authors: Mary Holland, JD, Kim Mack Rosenberg, JD, and Eileen Iorio

The HPV Vaccine on Trial is filled with an overwhelming amount of resources for fact-checking and further research into Gardasil and Cervarix, the vaccines developed to eliminate HPV infections that are said to lead to cervical cancer. The book is a deep dive into the full story of how the HPV vaccines were created, brought to market, and what happened in post-market use. It should be an absolute reading requirement for anyone considering this vaccine for themselves or their children.

Holland, Rosenberg, and Iorio bring to life the entire story – from the desire to invent a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, to the egregious clinical trials and their lack of an inert saline placebo, to Merck’s rush to market. This is a story of non-existent safety controls, inconsistent data collection, inadequate follow-up, and blatant denial of probable vaccine-related side effects. All of this for a vaccine that has not prevented a single case of cervical cancer since it came to market in 2006. The questions loom large. Is the HPV vaccine necessary or do the risks outweigh the never proven benefit?

There are two HPV vaccines currently on the market: Merck’s Gardasil 9, the second generation 9-valent vaccine and GlaxoSmithKline’s bivalent vaccine, Cervarix. Which vaccine is used in a particular country is politically based and monetarily motivated. Consumers generally have no choice in which vaccine they receive.

Part I of the book starts with an exhaustive overview of the clinical trials and the race to bring to market an HPV vaccine by two competing teams of scientists. The vaccine was crudely created and clinical trials were quickly undertaken. A lack of informed consent and blatant disregard of the Nuremberg Codes were present from the outset of the trials. Chapter 7 covers the initial Gardasil trials and the use of false placebos, known as “fauxcebos” (pg. 54, paperback ed.). A small group of participants received a saline placebo; however, they were subsequently absorbed into the aluminum adjuvant group, an attempt to hide the fact that the saline only group had zero side effects and to downplay the negative effects of the vaccine. This information came out after the vaccine was already licensed for use.

During the trials, the side effect reporting system denied the many signals given by young female participants or the symptoms were denied as being caused by the vaccine. In one of the control arms of the trials, aluminum was used as a placebo. The women in the control arm were advised to get the “real vaccine” after the trial concluded, doubling the amount of aluminum these unsuspecting girls received. Further, study participants were told the vaccine had already been proven to be safe, even though no such thing had been established. The vaccine makers were so intent to rush this product to market, confirming true safety was irrelevant.

Part II covers post-market surveillance and how the market for this vaccine was created out of thin air. Fear was the primary motivator used to promote the HPV vaccines, even though the vaccine was anticipated to prevent cancer, three or four decades in the future. Nearly 98% of HPV infections resolve on their own without any intervention. Real risk factors for non-clearance are discussed extensively in the book.

Sadly, the vaccine was rolled-out in primarily industrialized countries where the rates of cervical cancer are very low, but insurance coverage is high. The book details why some countries have higher rates of cervical cancer, a risk directly related to the lack of regular screening (pap tests) and access to other forms of preventative care.

As the injuries began to be apparent, brave parents took a stand and began to demand answers. The usual blaming of the victims ensued, and the injured girls and their families were attacked. Many were given labels for their illness as being “psychosomatic.”  Some of the parents were even accused of Munchausen by Proxy. Fortunately, a freelance reporter read a Gardasil package insert and began to follow Merck’s ad campaign. In 2010, the reporter published the first ‘Gardasil story’, a personal testimony about injuries caused by vaccines. (pgs. 135-136).

Part III covers the vaccine’s shotty science. The authors dive into how aluminum-containing adjuvants lead to severe neurodegenerative conditions and the long list of autoimmune illnesses. The aluminum in the Gardasil vaccine is Merck’s proprietary formulation known as Amorphous Aluminum Hydroxyphosphate Sulfate (AAHS). A 2013 study is one of many to demonstrate that aluminum is highly neurotoxic and bioaccumulates over time. (pg. 237).

This section lists in detail the other ingredients found in the Gardasil vaccine. This is one of the few texts where the problems associated with the individual ingredients is explained. It is important to note that the ingredients in Gardasil 9 and Cervarix differ widely. Lastly, this section of the book lays out an explanation for the mechanisms of disease that have been correlated with the HPV vaccine and explains the often overlooked negative consequences of the vaccine.

Part IV highlights several countries around the world where recipients have experienced the negative effects of the HPV vaccines and the vaccination program. The most important is Japan, a country that has questioned the safety and efficacy of vaccines more than any other (pg. 284). Many sad stories are related, demonstrating clearly that the damage being done by HVP vaccines is a global problem.

I recall watching television at night with my husband way back in 2006 and seeing the first Gardasil commercials. Mothers, along with their young daughters, were singing the praises of a vaccine that was going to make their daughters “One Less”. That is, one less girl who would not die from cervical cancer because they received the Gardasil vaccine. My husband and I joked about the ridiculous implications the ads were making. Little did I know at the time, this vaccine would ravage young females – and later, young boys – around the world. The book talks about the “One Less” campaign I recall so well. I’ve long thought about the mothers who bought the hype. Surely they knew that American women were not dying in droves due to cervical cancer before the vaccine was invented, didn’t they? A yearly Pap smear, also called a Pap test, is a screening procedure to monitor cervical health and prevent cancer. I wonder if any of the girls in the TV commercials are now suffering from Gardasil.

The authors’ detail how a market for the vaccine was effectively created based on essentially nothing. The two most essential elements to create a demand for a new product is to promote fear of cancer and advocate for blind trust in doctors. Pair that with a lack of ability ask pertinent questions and you have the perfect storm.

It’s hard to believe that after reading this book that any person would consent to this vaccine. The personal stories are both shocking and tragic; a monetary value can never be placed on the lives that have been ruined and lost. They underscore just how important books such as this one are to our education.

The HPV vaccines have now been on the market for thirteen years. During that time, a triumphant narrative has dominated due to effective PR strategies. But, as The HPV Vaccine On Trial states, the truth will prevail. An urgent call to expose the known truth and further research the mechanisms of injury is strongly suggested. The public must learn the truth about this vaccine. With the recommendations for Gardasil 9 being expanded to include persons up to 45 years of age, this book is recommended to every parent and every adult.

Please, educate before you vaccinate.


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Maria Ryan is a freelance content writer. She has contributed to a number of online publications on topics such as fitness, nutrition, food, lifestyle, and parenting. She is an avid reader and book reviewer and works to promote indie authors and their books. She runs the book review blog:

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