Gardasil: Miracle or Deadly Vaccine?

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I normally don’t speak for a larger population because we are all unique individuals; however, I think in this case I can speak for all women. Dread is the only emotion that is drudged up when you get the friendly reminder card in the mail that it’s time for your annual appointment. Stripping down and wearing a stiff hospital gown with your feet up in cold metal stirrups while a doctor sticks a cold, duck-lip looking contraption up your nether regions for a Papanicolaou (pap) test. I don’t think there is a single woman on earth who enjoys this necessary torture, but it is the primary way to detect diseases and/or conditions including cervical cancer.

That is until 2008, when Merck released a vaccine that is advertised to protect against the strands of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) that cause cervical cancer and genital warts. The shot is being administered to young girls and boys (who can carry the disease, but do not suffer from any health conditions because of it). The shot is administered to girls ages 11-26 years-old and boys age 9-26 years old, but do the pros outweigh the cons? I’ve heard of doctors tell parents, I wouldn’t give this shot to my own child, how can I recommend it to my patients. And I’ve heard doctors say, it’s the greatest vaccine we have that actually protects against cancer.

Let’s look at whether or not prevention outweighs the serious side effects and risks.


Carolyn Vachani, RN, MSN, AOCN writes that, The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STI) in the world. It is estimated that 5.5 million people worldwide are infected annually. Sexually active individuals have an 80 to 85% chance of being infected at some time in their life.” It’s not just a sexually transmitted infection; the virus invades the epithelial cells (type of skin cell) on other parts of the body including the oral mucosa, esophagus, larynx, trachea, and conjunctiva of the eye. Further more Vachani writes, “Researchers have identified 100 different strains of HPV, 40 of which can infect the anal and genital areas.”

On Merck’s Gardasil website it boasts, “GARDASIL is the only human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine that helps protect against 4 types of HPV.” So, what about the other 96 strands, 36 of which infect the anal and genital areas?

Like HIV, there is no cure for HPV; but unlike HIV, the body can fight HPV and win 80% of the time. For the 20% whose body cannot fight off HPV there is a risk that cervical cancer can develop. If it is a strand that causes genital warts there are various methods to treat and get rid of the warts until the body is able to fight off the infection on its own.

Cervical Cancer

In spite of the high odds the body can fight off an HPV infection, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide. Forty years ago, cervical cancer was the leading cause of death of women in the US, but thanks to the availability of the pap test that has decreased 75% over the past 50 years. With annual pap tests, precancerous cells can be detected and removed from the cervix rather simply. According to the CDC, in 2008:

  • 12,410      women in the United States were diagnosed with cervical cancer.
  • 4,008      women in the United States died from cervical cancer.

Those numbers are low compared to developing countries. Out of the approximately 500,000 new cases of cervical cancer annually, 83% are in developing countries. The annual death rate of cervical cancer worldwide is approximately 273,000, of which developing countries account for 75% of the deaths.

There are no symptoms of cervical cancer and no way to detect it except a pap test, which isn’t available in most developing countries explaining the higher mortality rates. A vaccine that protects against the most common strands of the virus is better than nothing, right? Well, let’s take a closer look and see what the controversy is all about.


FDA approved Gardasil on June 8, 2006. As Chandler Marrs reported in Why Few Women Trust the FDA, the FDA doesn’t always have the best record in women’s health, making it difficult to believe everything they pass is safe or effective. The vaccine is a series of three shots taken over the course of a year. On the FDA website it states, “Given the large number of doses distributed, it is expected that, by chance alone, serious adverse events and some deaths will be reported in this large population during the time period following vaccinations.”

How many deaths and serious side effects are acceptable for the FDA? Apparently quite few; Natural Society reports, “Between May 2009 and September 2010 alone, Gardasil was linked to 3,589 harmful reactions and 16 deaths. Of the 3,589 adverse reactions, many were debilitating. Permanent disability was the result of 213 cases; 25 resulted in the diagnosis of Guillain-Barre Syndrome; and there were 789 other “serious” reports according to FDA documents.”

What does the FDA have to say? “Concerns have been raised about reports of deaths occurring in individuals after receiving Gardasil. As of December 31, 2008, 32 deaths had been reported to VAERS [Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System]. There was not a common pattern to the deaths that would suggest they were caused by the vaccine.”

On the website, where you can get legal advice on class action law suits against the makers of Gardasil if you or your child has suffered from side effects, they state, “As of Feb. 14, 2011, the CDC has reported that there have been 51 reports of deaths among females who received the HPV vaccine. A total of 32 of these death reports have been confirmed, meaning that a doctor has reviewed the report and any associated records. There have been two reports of deaths among males who were injected with Gardasil.”

That is just in America where cervical cancer can be detected early with annual pap tests. The vaccine against HPV is given worldwide to girls and boys to prevent spreading of HPV. It is now marketed as prevention against anal cancer even though only 10% of women with HPV will develop cancer and  cancer associated with HPV is only responsible for 1% of all cancer deaths.

Judicial Watch

In 2011, Judicial Watch, a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation that promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law stepped in. They reported that they, “received new documents from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), detailing reports of adverse reactions to the vaccination for human papillomavirus (HPV), Gardasil. The adverse reaction reports detail 26 new deaths reported between September 1, 2010 and September 15, 2011 as well as incidents of seizures, paralysis, blindness, pancreatitis, speech problems, short term memory loss and Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The documents come from the FDA’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).”

The report also states, “Not only will Gardasil not cure pre-existing HPV, it can also make symptoms worse. Women who already have the virus without knowing it could suffer massive outbreaks of genital warts or abnormal precancerous lesions, both of which require extensive treatment.” The vaccine is suggested for women who test positive for HPV in order to prevent them from contracting the other strands. (The 25 page report can be viewed here.)


Merck’s website advertises “You/your son or daughter could be one less person affected by HPV disease.” It is important to research all the possible side effects and the rate of occurrence, as well as your/your daughter’s ability to have annual pap tests before making this decision. We are all exposed to numerous strands of the HPV virus. Of the 100 strands, 40 are contacted through sex or genital skin contact. Of those 40, Gardasil only protects against the 4 most common strands because adding more strands to the vaccine caused even more severe side effects. In 80% of the cases of genital HPV, the body fights off the infection. With pap tests, doctors can detect cervical cancer before it becomes deadly (as long as women are getting them done annually). As much as we all hate that annual appointment, it may be a better solution to stick our legs in the stirrups for an exam rather than risk the side effects of the Gardasil vaccine. You decide.

Next week, I will look at how Gardasil was approved by the FDA, how states are mandating it for school children, and how states are passing legislation to make it legal for health professionals to administer the shot to minors without parental consent.

Additional Resources

IARC Monographs on Human Papillomavirus Virus and Studies of Cancer in Humans

Is Gardasil mandated in your state? Read more here
How does a Pap Smear Test prevent cervical cancer? Read more here.

Participate in Research

Hormones MatterTM is conducting research on the side effects and adverse events associated with Gardasil and its counterpart Cervarix. If you or your daughter has had either HPV vaccine, please take this important survey. The Gardasil Cervarix HPV Vaccine Survey. 

Lisbeth Prifogle is a freelance writer, Marine officer, and globetrotter currently in San Diego, CA. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles and a BA from DePauw University. Lisbeth spent six months in Iraq and is working on a memoir about her experiences. She keeps a blog titled The Next Bold Move and her work can be found in the 11th issue of Poem Memoir Story, The Splinter Generation, and In the Know Travel. Lisbeth has had problems balancing hormones since she was a teenager and is constantly researching and exploring natural remedies including diet, exercise, and alternative medicines.


  1. First off I want to Thank each & everyone of you for sharing your story about the Gardasil Vaccine. I have two daughter, ages 15 & 13, and a son that is soon to be 11. I have been thinking about this vaccine ever since it has come out, but always had a bad feeling about it. I often wondered if I was just being too over protected, or just not educated enough about the vaccine, and many times considered having my children get the shot. As always I would back out & not make the appointments because of that bad feeling I had about the Gardasil. I’m so sorry for the families going through this & my prayers are with you all. I hope that there is some kind of treatment that can give your children their life back & live peaceful pain free healthy lives. I’m so thankful for your stories, because now I know my “bad feeling” was right on.

  2. My heart aches for each of those who have suffered from the terrible effects of these vaccines. Combine them with the millions of others who have had tragic effects from other vaccines, and you truly have a horror beyond imagination. I suffered from many of the same side effects after a series of rabies shots, along with a tetanus shot. I thought for some time that I would either become completely incapacitated or die. I just want to offer hope, because I was able to eliminate most of my toxic issues upon detoxing from metals. While I did use some supplements, I mostly relied upon fasting, daily exercise, colonics and IFR sauna along with trying to maintain a mostly organic diet. I highly recommend trying natural substances to eliminate the metals – mercury and aluminum – which I believe cause much of the damage. Unfortunately, the other toxic substances like DNA may require a lot more time, but I do believe the body has an enormous ability to heal and repair, as long as we remove and avoid toxins as much as possible. I am praying for the recovery of those who suffer, as well as for an awakening of the populace to how dangerous all vaccines are.

  3. The sad reality is that a class-action lawsuit may not do much to ease the suffering of these children, but they help provide care for those who will need ongoing help after their parents are no longer able to care for them. I know that’s a thought that parents who are struggling with the here-and-now may not want to consider (as if they don’t have enough pain already), but from the descriptions I am reading I think it’s something that has to be considered.

    I am so sorry for all of those afflicted, and their families. I also am deeply grateful to them, as my children will not receive the vaccine due to these families’ willingness to share their stories.

  4. I went and took my daughter to get the gardasil shots at age 14. Almost immediately she was sick everyday and tired and in pain constantly. I didnt tie all her illnesses to the gardasil until one day a warning about it flashed on my computer screen. She is eighteen now and is full of cysts and has endometriosis. They at first diagnosed her with mono but then it was like she had it for a year. Then they said it was her thyroid but nothing helped. So after they found that she had a ton of cysts and endometriosis we were in shock but thought we at least new why she had been sick all these years. After getting the warning about Gardasil as a mother I am so angry at myself for having her get the vaccine because she has suffered for so long and suffers every single day because of it.

  5. Why do we allow human men to make a deadly vaccine and then paralyze our children with NO accountability other than suing them. There must be punishments and fines for these people and trust funds set for the victims alongside with more research on how to reverse the deadly vaccine. All batches of this vaccine should be destroyed immediately.

    • Thank you for reading and I agree this vaccine should be destroyed, but unfortunately our politicians care more about those lining their pockets and funding their campaigns than they do the American people’s health. I’m not sure if there is any way victims are compensated or if they can even link the side effects directly to the vaccine? Will have to do some more research on what to do if you are affected! Thanks!

  6. Gardasil should be called a cancer vaccine because it probably causes cancer. The manufacturer Merck has not tested it for carcinogenicity. Why? Do they not want the truth to be revealed?

    The vaccine may also cause cancer by replacement. The virus strains which are removed will be always be replaced by new ones. It is unknown whether the new ones will be carcinogenic.

    Yet another way in which Gardasil may cause cancer is due to the presence of recombinant (gene manipulated) HPV DNA. This recent and unexpected discovery was made by competent unbiased research workers.

    The manufacturer did not do this study. On the contrary, they lied and informed the authorities in connection with the patent application that the vaccine did not contain viral DNA. This was also stated in the package insert information and it was recently deleted when the discovery of the presence of recombinant DNA was made!

    There is no incentive for manufacturers to search for ingredients which may be detrimental to health.

    Cancer cases may occur long after Gardasil has been administrated and long after Merck has hauled in gigantic profits for this scandalous vaccine; long after all the vaccine promoters who have had their pockets lined, including people in the media, health authorities, doctors, research workers, statisticians and politicians have slid into comfortable retirement.

    Gardasil should be called a cancer vaccine because it probably causes cancer.

  7. It was just Last Easter I sat in the ER with my 17 year old daughter. She was in severe pain, vomiting, had a severe rash on her face and upper body. I thought it was an allergic reaction to something, But then the doctor came in with the tests results……
    “Your daughter has Lymphoma” that is what I was told. I sat there in shock thinking “what?? she has cancer???” The tests showed she had an enlarged spleen & Liver. and lymph nodes everywhere enlarged, in her stomach around her heart. All her blood counts where way off, her white cell count was through the roof, uric acid, LDH all elevated.

    For the first time in my life I felt petrified beyond words, Sarah looked at me and said “Mom, what is lymphoma??” the hardest word I ever had to say to her was “Cancer”. From that moment on I knew we would never be the same, what I didn’t know was that we would change in good ways too.
    After 10 days in Children s hospital having numerous tests done, they sent us to Roswell & that was the most petrifying experience, you cant believe your there, you cant wrap your head around it. , It is Perifial l T Cell Lymphoma they said after 7 days in we went home with a Nurse coming to our home, Sarah had a pick-line in her chest, I had to learn how to do an IV on her 2 times a day, 2 hrs at a time, she couldn’t get out of bed, she was breaking out in rashes, vomiting all hours of the day and night, she lost 35 lbs, she was very weak and I was scared to death. Roswell called to tell me that in fact it was NOT cancer and they had no idea what was wrong with her, I told them it was metal poisoning from the Gardasil vaccine, needless to say they thought I was insane and told me that a vaccine would not do this. The metal tests came back that she was toxic with aluminum. She could not go back to school or work, she was tutored so she could graduate and she did!!! Sarah has had numerous tests, biopsies, spinal taps, cat-scans you name it, she has seen every specialist their is too see all with NO answers,no diagnosis and made to feel like we were insane.
    Before leaving Roswell I found a Facebook group that helped me to understand what really happened to Sarah and it was because of the Gardasil vaccine. For months she was vomiting, losing weight, had migraines, hives, rashes, extreme swelling of her eyes, lips and nose. I often thought to myself “this is worse than cancer” I had never in my life seen anyone so sick, as we learned more about Gardasil it became very scary. why? because we learned that doctors don’t know what to do, how to fix it, what the vaccine did to her body, if it would get any better. We faced doctors pretty much on a daily basis, more tests, more blood work. but NO answers.
    What most people don’t know is…. I was not just scared I was enraged, petrified and knew I had to learn and fight like I never did before, I knew I was fighting to save her life. I read, researched and spoke with other families going though this. The search for answers was a never ending battle. You don’t sleep, you don’t think about anything else at all, EVER! You only think one thing “:How do I save her Life” You run into her room constantly to see if she is breathing, you wait for an arm or leg to move so you can breathe again, all the while knowing how many have lost their lives in the middle of the night, blood clots, heart failure I was learning are possible now, possible for a 17 yr old because she got a vaccine that was suppose to protect her and it very well may have ruined her life.
    She has now tests showing inflammation in her body that is severe, thyroid problems, extreme fatigue, started having partial seizures, at times her legs are paralyzed , she is on a gluten , sugar and dairy free diet and takes over 20 vitamins and supplements a day. She goes to a chiropractor and is always in pain. She has gone through terrible detoxing, can not go to college like her friends, does not work and the financial strain has been terrible on the whole family. Its been over a year and her Metals are still high, she has adrenal fatigue and we fear she may not have children some day. Gardasil has forever changed all our lives and should not be given to ANY child until the find out why this is happening.

    • Thank you for sharing and I am so sorry for this. It’s so horrible and I can’t imagine feeling so helpless as a parent. Everyone’s posts has inspired me to dig deeper to see what we can do to stop it. So tragic.

  8. I had heard a little bit about this nearly a year ago. It is so sad and disappointing. Before it was released, I had been looking forward to this as something that could help protect people, and it has turned out to be anything but.

    I’m very thankful that all this is coming to light before my daughter was old enough to be effected.

    Great article. Thank you for putting the information out there!

  9. My daughter has been struggling since early 2009. after receiving all three shots. She had side effects after the first vaccine, but I didn’t make the connection. She was experiencing severe headaches, muscle and joint pain, along with fatigue. After her third shot, she started having seizures, loss of vision, twitching in her neck, arms, legs~ it has been quite the journey since then. A TON of medical bills, a lot of disappointment in Traditional DRS, but we continue to push.
    Three years later, fatigue and inflammation seem to keep hanging on, along with brain fog and problem focusing. She’s a trooper and pushes through to live life as normal as she can. She is seeing a Naturopathic DR now.
    My concern, besides the obvious, is the VERY side effects these girls are experiencing are listed on the Mayo Clinic Web site, yet, when you take them to the DR, ER, Neurologists, they treat you like there is NO way a vaccine can do this. You would think they would be required to give you the paper that Mayo has~ I know that would have helped my daughter, because I would NOT have gotten her shots 2 & 3. I had no idea.
    I enjoyed your article. Awareness is the key.

  10. Thanks for great article! My daughter has been sick for 3 years and 3 months since she had 2 Gardasil shots. She suffers on dialy basis from severe headaches, horrible fatigue, abdominal pain, joint and muscle pain, nerve pain in hands and feet, low blood pressie and dizziness. She had chest pain and severe memory problems. We almost lost her a year ago because her body couldn’t get rid of toxins and organs were shutting down! No life for a 15 year young girl …

    • Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry! That truly breaks my heart. I had to take it in the military and I’m fairly sure that it caused the strand of HPV that I already tested positive for, but had no problems with for over 4 years, to develop quite quickly to precancerous. I had to go through a couple out-patient procedures and I’m looking into other side effects as well, but nothing like that. Have you considered looking into classaction law suits? I’m going to do some more research on that and maybe write a follow-up on what someone who has negative reactions can do. I know it won’t solve the problem, but might help with medical bills due to it. Have you considered alternative medicines like acupuncture? it might help with the toxins. I’m going to do some follow up articles on how it was passed and I’ll look to see if there is anything that can help. I’m really sorry, that is just so sad. I know I get mad at myself when I think about how I didn’t put up a fight against it (by then I had had so many mandatory vaccines – what was another one?). I’m learning to forgive mysef, but it’s hard. Thank you for your comment and I hope your daughter recovers!!!

      • A class action lawsuit may very well solve the problem, if the company that created the drug had to pay a large enough sum of money. It would deter the company from pushing a drug on the public like that again.

        • A class action lawsuit really won’t do much for the people suffering :o( My daughter suffered TBI brain damage and an uncontrollable seizures 5 years ago after getting gardasil. 5 years of nightmares and pure hell. Everyday we fight for her life. She was a happy well adjusted and shy honor roll student in 2007 now she can no longer attend school and she has horrible problems with memory. Her mental capacity is that of an 8 yr olds and she has to wear diapers 24-7 due to the seizures :o(

          • These stories are heartbreaking and terrible. My nephew had seizures (not related to gardasil at all) so I can sympathize with how horrible they can be. I think a class action law suit would be beneficial to those families who on top of these horrific side effects are facing financial trouble because of the costs of care. It could be a starting point to ending it at the least. I’m doing more research on it to see what we can do! You are all in my thoughts as I dig deeper into this vaccine.

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