Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Cervarix Vaccine: " Unlikely Cause of Death"
Well, it would appear that GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix vaccine was not the cause of 14 year old Natalie Morton's death, at least that are the reports coming from the mainstream media. It's all very confusing - one minute Coventry health officials are suspending the immunisation programme, the next they are announcing that they are not? Even more strange are the reports that the programme has been halted in other parts of the UK such as Knowsley, Halton and St Helens [Liverpool Daily Post] - Also, the Wales Online website claims that the batch used to immunise Natalie Morton and her school friends had been withdrawn from use in Wales?
A press release from the Medicines Healthcare and products Regulatory Agency [MHRA] states that the HPV Vaccine batch has been recalled while investigation underway. [Link] MHRA Chief Executive, Professor Kent Woods, said the risk/benefit profile for Cervarix remains positive and that the safety and efficacy of the vaccine had been extensively researched in clinical trials before licensing. All this without the results of Natalie Morton's autopsy? All we have, from the mainstream media thus far is that Natalie had an 'underlying health problem' and that the Cervarix was the 'unlikely cause of her death'. Unless of course the MHRA have privy information regarding Natalie's health?
It all seems rather strange to me that a decision of whether or not a vaccine is safe has been made overnight when there is no information on exactly what the 'underlying health problem' was.
Professor Woods has also gone on record claiming, "...many women’s lives will be saved in the future as a direct result of this vaccine." I'd like a peek inside Professor Woods crystal ball or would like to see the data that he has seen that shows that 20 years from now women who had this vaccine have benefited from it. Professor Woods should not make these claims because the long term benefit of Cervarix has not been proven yet - unless there has been some mysterious clinical trial from the late 1980's?
I'm not having a 'pop' at the MHRA CEO, I've met him, he's a fairly decent chap but I do wish he would think before making such rash statements regarding a vaccine that has not had 20 or so years of clinical study.
Then we have a case that has pretty much slipped off the radar regarding Cervarix and another school girl. Paige Brennan was immunised with Cervarix in March. Six months on, the 13-year-old is still unable to talk or walk properly after falling ill with a virus following her jab. But hey, that's okay because "...many women’s lives will be saved in the future as a direct result of this vaccine."
The Mirror writes, Mum Margaret, 40, who visits Paige every day at Birmingham Children's Hospital, is adamant she won't allow younger daughter Chloe to have it when the time comes.
Margaret said: "Since Paige's illness I have researched so many similar cases of girls whose nervous systems have been mysteriously struck down in the same way.
"It's tragic that it takes the death of a teenager to make someone sit up and listen. For all we know we could be harming a whole generation of teenage girls."
The UK government should also take some responsibility here. They, it appears, were given a choice of vaccine, Merck's Gardasil or GSK's Cervarix. They opted for Cervarix. It's a classic case of two products being identical, let's say for example two George Michael CD's in your local record store, one for sale at £12, the other in the 'Bargain Bin' at £8. We'd all jump at the chance of buying the cheaper CD would we not? Vaccines are different and no price should be put on the well-being of our children. Gardasil and Cervarix are the same aren't they, or am I wrong? Does Gardasil have a bonus track on? Damn, I should have looked more carefully at the George Michael discs!
Can we expect an impartiality from the UK government? Well, look at Prime Minister Gordon Brown's National Business Council and you see that one of its advisor's is none other than Andrew Witty, chief executive of drug developer GlaxoSmithKline PLC. Previously Gordon Brown had recruited Jean-Paul Garnier, the then GlaxoSmithKline chief, to serve on the Business Council.
A young girl has died and whether or not Cervarix was the cause of Natalie Morton's death, it should not take this to bring the Cervarix immunisation programme up for debate. We certainly don't need the Chief Executive of the UK Medicines Regulator promoting future sales of the vaccine!
There seems to be a break neck speed race to have children vaccinated with Cervarix, it's almost as if there is a huge crisis of cervical cancer in women. In truth there isn't. In 2005, 911 women died of the disease, yes it's a high figure but when you run it past other figures you will see it pales next to the 12,000 who died from lung cancer or the 11,000 who succumbed to breast cancer. Cervical cancer comes in 19th place on the list of cancers that kill women in modern Britain.
It will be 20 years before we know whether Cervarix is effective in preventing cervical cancer. Unless of course you are privy to take a peek inside the MHRA's crystal ball.
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'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman
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About the Author :
Bob Fiddaman has been writing about the dangers of antidepressants since 2006. In 2011 he was presented with two human rights awards from the Citizens Commission on Human Rights.
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