Katie Couric promotes dangerous fear mongering with show on the HPV vaccine.

Tomorrow on Katie: Tiger blood – the new cure-all?

On July 10, 2012, I received an email from a producer at Katie, Katie Couric’s daytime talk show, about a show the program was planning on vaccines. Here was the pitch:

I am interested in talking to Seth Mnookin about his book ‘The Panic Virus.’ I am researching a story about parents who opt out of immunizations for their children because of their personal beliefs. As Seth knows, parents’ fears have lead to a resurgence of diseases like measles and Pertussis and it poses a real danger to society. The goal of the hour will be to better inform the public that still questions links between vaccination and autism and need to better understand the scientific truth.

Over a period of about a month, the producer and I spoke for a period of several hours before she told me that the show was no longer interested in hearing from me on air. Still, I came away from the interaction somewhat heartened: The producer seemed to have a true grasp of the dangers of declining vaccination rates and she stressed repeatedly that her co-workers, including Couric herself, did not view this as an “on the one hand, on the other hand” issue but one in which facts and evidence clearly lined up on one side — the side that overwhelmingly supports the importance and efficacy of vaccines.

Apparently, that was all a load of crap. Here’s the teaser for tomorrow’s show on the HPV vaccine

The HPV vaccine is considered a life-saving cancer preventer … but is it a potentially deadly dose for girls? Meet a mom who claims her daughter died after getting the HPV vaccine, and hear all sides of the HPV vaccine controversy.

As I assume Couric and her staff know — they are, after all, literate — here are “all sides” of the HPV vaccine issue:

* More than 25,000 new cancers attributable to HPV occur in the United States each year. Almost 12,000 of these cases are cervical cancer in females; another 6,000 are oropharyngeal cancers in men.

* More than 100 million doses of the vaccine have been given since it was approved in 2006.

* A study published in the British Medical Journal in October evaluated 997,000 girls, 296,000 of whom had received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine. More than 150,000 of those girls received all three doses. The results? Absolutely no link to short- or long-term health problems. As Lisen Arnheim-Dahlström, the lead researcher on the study, told Reuters Health, “There were not really any concerns before our study and no new ones after.”

But hey, you know, what’s years of data based on hundreds of thousands of verifiable results when you have a single “mom who claims her daughter died after getting the HPV vaccine,” right Katie?


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223 Responses to Katie Couric promotes dangerous fear mongering with show on the HPV vaccine.

  1. Tom Rhoads says:

    This is so disappointing. I have a pretty low bar for acceptable content for talk shows. I know they are selling product. But I do expect some basic research and a bit of critical thinking, especially when discussing health issues.

  2. Fred Rickson says:

    Any person who believes the HPV vaccine causes death probably also believes the earth is flat and the moon is made of cheese. Such a person really does deserve to be mocked in public.

    • Susie Q says:

      Right Fred, because 148 deaths is just a tiny amount of children…just walk on by, you are of no help!

      • Milwauken says:

        No, because it’s a cruel world and young people die. Cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, viral infections, respiratory failure and the rest are not just diseases of the old and infirm. Do you believe that every death is caused by whatever happened up to nine months before? If HPV killed young people, then we would see a clustering of specific symptoms.

        Which component of the vaccine is supposedly so deadly? The virus? Sorry, there is no virus. The aluminum? Same thing – there is no elemental aluminum in any vaccine. No thimerosal, aborted fetal tissue, or rusty car parts either.

      • Bob says:

        Quoting that 148 deaths figure just shows that you have no idea how VAERS works. If you got the HPV vaccine, and died shortly thereafter, you would get logged into VAERS, even though there’s absolutely ZERO evidence that the vaccine had anything to do with your death.

        You cite 148 deaths in VAERS over seven years, or 20 per year. From 2006-2013, 56MM doses of the HPV vaccine were distributed. The annual death rate from just heart disease among girls 10-14 is 1 per 200k. With about 8MM doses being given per year, you’d expect about 40 girls who had gotten the HPV vaccine to die of heart disease alone in the same year they got the vaccine.

        I suggest you Google Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc.

        • Susie Q says:

          Sorry you feel that way. Basically what you are saying is that with these children that died, because there aren’t hundreds of doctors pronouncing guilt on Merck, does it mean these parents are all delusional? Did you know that through NCVIA that it’s near impossible to get any vaccine manufacturer to claim responsibility? Once plaintiffs are compensated, that’s it. The vaccine company is protected, plaintiff is shut up and end of story. Why would you pay someone off if there were no correlation? Did you even listen to Dr. Harper, you can get HPV when you are very young thru subcutaneous contact, most people get rid of it on their own and as long as girls get their pap smears, they can beat this thing. The vaccine protection only lasts 5 years and would need to be repeated. The vaccine is not the answer, education is.

          • Scott M says:

            So here’s the problem there might be a correlation but is doesn’t always mean causation.

            You’d also find that something like 98% of the girls that died had also eaten fast food in the 72 hours prior to death or that 92% of them had eaten carrots within 48 hours of their death.. The list goes on and on.

            The classic example of this is that through out the 1940’s and early 50’s many people were certain that ice cream caused polio. There would be a spike in cases in June and July as ice cream sales increased and people proposed all sorts of possible links. As it happens it was just an indicator of warmer weather and the polio virus spread more quickly in hot weather.

          • Antaeus Feldspar says:

            Susie Q, the only evidence these parents have that Gardasil was responsible for their children’s health woes is “they had the vaccination, and after they had the vaccination, they got sick.”

            That’s the same level of evidence that was used to convict people of witchcraft. It’s not strong evidence. Unless you want to argue that none of those parents who said “The old woman gave my child a nasty look, and then she fell sick! The old woman must have hexed her!” could be mistaken.

          • What part of the phrase “correlation is not causation” do you not understand. I would respectfully suggest that before you continue down this road, you improve the intellectual rigor of your arguments. Right now you are (metaphorically speaking) showing up to a gunfight with a pea-shooter.

      • Sili says:

        Yes. 148 is indeed a tiny amount.

        Roughly twice as many kids are shot each year according to the CDC (last number I could find was 369 in 2010). Noöne seems to bat an eyelid at that, so I don’t see any reason to get all worked up about a mere 200 deaths. And that is of course even granting the premise that these were indeed caused by vaccines.

    • Heather says:

      Of course I wont read your article, just another story on how everyone is fear mongering, Perhaps we should all see Katie as a true HERO for her efforts to tell both sides. I mean we all know we have a vaccine court that Pharma puts money into each year to cover the casualties, therefore it is possible by all means we have injured children from Gardasil. In fact I know we do, my daughter almost died and became ill THE DAY OF getting Gardasil , but she is not rare, this has happened to 1000s and 1000s of kids. Tell your stories, spread your lies, but keep in mind you are all fools for calling us anti-vax loons, WE GOT our kids the vaccine. We just didn’t expect to be lied to and then offered no help once our kids faced this utter torture they are suppose to call LIFE, .Thank Merck! Thank Forbes FOR NOTHING! Katie you are a brave, kind soul and a hero!!!

      • Bob says:

        “we all know we have a vaccine court that Pharma puts money into each year to cover the casualties”

        Yes, we do, because a tiny share of the people who take some vaccines suffer real damage, just as a tiny percentage of people are strangled to death by their seatbelts.

        To prevail in a NCVIA claim, you need to show not just temporal alignment (i.e. they happened at the same time), you need to show causation. There has been absolutely zero evidence of any serious negative impacts caused by the HPV vaccines. You say your daughter became ill and almost died the day she got Gardasil. What was her illness? How do you believe that Gardasil caused the illness (i.e. what was the mechanism).

      • At the library says:

        “Of course I wont read your article”

        Very sensible of you. If you read the article you might encounter uncomfortable facts. Better to just watch the pretty faces on the tube, and let them tell you what to think.

      • Paul says:

        Of course I won’t read your comment, just another post on how everybody is dying from vaccinations. Perhaps jesus milk tries fifteen kumquats…

      • dingo says:

        In the UK, much was made of a girl who died within hours of vaccination. For 2 days credulous reports of the deadly vaccine swept the media.
        The finding that she had died of a totally unrelated tumor in her chest came 2 days later. hardly anyone reported it; by then the story had lost it’s legs, but by then millions of people had been exposed to the silly notion that the vaccine was a killer.

      • sherparick says:

        Well, it is because you are an anti-vaccine loon. And I don’t know how Katie Couric becomes a hero by running a sensationalist story that means higher ratings for her and probably meant a bigger contract now that she has jumped to Yahoo. Hundreds of thousands are suffering in the U.S. because there is no effective vaccine for Lyme disease yet. Measles, pertussis, chicken pox, and diptheria are making come back as large numbers of parents listen to you and don’t get their kids vaccinated. This does not mean there is not a small risk in vaccination (allergic reactions – which happen within a day or two of the event and for which the liability funds exist to compensate those who suffer from the reaction) but to believe that event A happen after event B, therefore A caused B is to commit several logical fallacies, beginning with assuming “correlation is causation.”

      • Translation: My mind is not so much closed as welded shut.

      • JohnF says:

        “Of course I wont read your article”

        Thanks for agreeing to stay ill-informed!

      • Sunny says:

        As someone whose life has been changed by vaccines, I’m not going to be like the others who have replied with comments as closed minded as the people they’re insulting. I became extremely ill within a day or 2 of getting my Tet/Dipth vaccine when I was 15 (could barely move, threw up everything I was given, the injection site got huge, red and burning hot… the only way to describe it is that it felt like my body was trying to destroy itself), and the effects still haven’t gone away today – I have still been left with debilitating fatigue and so many alleriges that it makes very life hard sometimes. I was perfectly healthy before, so to see my life changed to drastically is very difficult to live with. Believe it or not, vaccines DO sometimes cause bad reactions, just like EVERY medication. Does it mean you shouldn’t get them? Of course not. Most people never have problems from vaccines. But some people do have bad reactions, whether it’s to the minute amount of egg protein (if it is an egg-produced vaccine) or an over-reaction caused by the adjuvants in them (mine was the latter), but either way to say that vaccines have never caused a bad reaction or death is an extremely closed-minded and ridiculous thought, and makes you absolutely no better than those who think that all vaccines carry a high risk.

        • Chris says:

          “. Most people never have problems from vaccines. But some people do have bad reactions, ”

          Which is why those people need protection through community immunity.

          “to say that vaccines have never caused a bad reaction or death is an extremely closed-minded and ridiculous thought, ”

          Who has said that?

  3. My email to Couric’s producer:

    Dear Ms. Cochran,

    I’ve been monitoring and writing about the anti-vaccine movement for six years at my blog, AutismNewsBeat.com. During that time there’s been a sea change in how news and entertainment media have given voice to anti-vaccine advocates. Some years ago, credulous reporters and editors could be counted on to balance scientific fact with unconfirmed anecdote. By 2004, nearly every major news media outlet in the US had fallen for the ruse, reporting, for example, that the MMR vaccine “might cause autism.”

    The idea never made much sense to vaccine researchers, but editors were too busy following the controversy to notice. They did notice Andrew Wakefield, a British gastroenterologist whose 1998 Lancet article jump-started the moribund US anti-vaccine movement. In 2000, 60 Minutes broadcast a parent’s impassioned speech against the MMR vaccine, followed by Wakefield’s opinion that the vaccine was not safe. In 2004, a more serious journalist, Brian Deer, uncovered Wakefield’s real story: crooked trial lawyers in the UK had paid him hundreds of thousands of pounds to fabricate a connection between the MMR and autism. The Lancet has since retracted Wakefield’s article, and England’s medical board revoked his license three years ago. These days, among major media outlets, only Fox News can be counted on to give anti-vaccine propaganda the time of day. Otherwise, the major networks and newspapers long ago learned their lesson – there is no “other side” to the anti-vaccine movement. Vaccines don’t cause autism, and the consequences of not vaccinating are far, far worse than the one in a million chance that a child might die or suffer permanent harm from any vaccine.

    Which brings me to your upcoming report on the HPV vaccine.

    Before Katie Couric airs her interview with the grieving mother, she might want to ask Laura Logan how that whole “let’s just trust our subjects” thing went for her. I’m not saying the mother doesn’t truly believe a vaccine killed her daughter. Our brains are hard-wired to believe a temporal association signals causation. That mental glitch served our species well, 200,000 years ago, when Ugg the Spearmaker ate the purple berries for breakfast then threw up his giant sloth tenders after lunch. Were the purple berries really poisonous? Our hunter gatherer ancestors said yes, even if they weren’t.

    But these days, we can say there is no known biological mechanism whereby the HPV vaccine can cause anything more serious than a fainting spell or a sore arm. The vaccine does not even contain a virus, living, weakened, or dead. We also know that correlation does not equal causation. Of the 100 or so reports of a death following HPV, the association is only temporal. Some of those deaths occurred six months or more after the shot. Heart attacks, stroke, viral infections, diabetes, cancer – it’s a cruel world, and sometimes teenage girls die. Will Couric make these facts clear? Probably not what a grieving mother wants to hear. Are fear, uncertainty, and doubt better for ratings than dry, scientific facts?

    Andrew Wakefield says “yes”. A serious journalist says “no”.

    I’m sure it’s too late to prevent this upcoming train wreck, other than to read a disclaimer from a professional organization or a vaccine advocacy group. Maybe next time you will know not to get too cozy with the anti-vaccine movement. The Lancet editors also learned that lesson too late.


    Ken Reibel

    • Heather says:

      live with the injury before you comment on something you know nothing about, people dont drop to the floor after a vaccine and then become healthy with in minutes, 1000s of kids look down on you lady as they suffer in silence!!!

      • Chris says:

        But previously healthy kids do drop dead. Most often the reason is from an undiagnosed genetic heart disorder.

        I know because my oldest has one, and we were lucky to have it diagnosed. It is a type where it is most often found after “sudden cardiac death.” In fact, his genetic heart condition was found the same week that a middle school child dropped dead from it.

      • Paul says:

        Heather, this “lady” is called KEN! Ken has an autistic son. Maybe you should have read the letter before commenting on it. Anybody replying to an argument that they haven’t read will, quite correctly, come across as a fool…

      • ndavis says:

        ” people dont drop to the floor after a vaccine and then become healthy with in minutes”

        Well, yes they do.

        It happens that the incidence of fainting after injection (with a vaccine or with, say, saline solution) or a blood draw peaks in girls about the age at which Gardasil is administered.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ken, you hit the nail on the head. I also appreciate, as a father of a son with autism, that you did not allow any possible passion to find a cure for autism to blind you from the facts about vaccinations. I’ve visited your website now, too. It serves as a confirmation to your comment above that you truly do your due diligence before adopting a fact or opinion as your own.

      I wanted to highlight a couple parts of your post in particular. You brought up the Andrew Wakefield case (that this article’s author, Seth Mnookin, also wrote about in his book). I want to piggy back on that comment and say that, when the claim that the MMR vaccine caused autism was debunked, the reporting on this truth was quiet. This is probably because it’s not as exciting as Wakefield’s first claim. The same is true when individuals claimed that the Varicella (Chickenpox) vaccine caused autism. When this claim was debunked, people were too focused on the fear now imbued by the idea of the vaccine causing autism that they were too emotionally blinded to change their opinion or hear the scientific studies proving otherwise. The reporting of the correct information in this case was also less flashy than the reporting of the original false claim.

      I also appreciate what you and others have remembered to state, too: While it is never desired for an individual to suffer from medical sciences, there are unfortunate side-effects that can happen to individuals. There is no way for medicines or procedures to either be effective or harmless for ALL individuals. Every person’s body will react differently. Some individuals will never build up antibodies after receiving the vaccine because of specific immune conditions. In this case, your doctor may not recommend receiving a vaccine because you could receive it 10 times in your life without experiencing any harm, however, it would never provide a positive immunity. In that same vein, if your doctor knows that your child has a preexisting medical condition that could be exacerbated or conflict with vaccination (especially in immunocompromised individuals), of course they should not prescribe vaccination. Doctor’s don’t recommend vaccines without knowledge of a medical history. It sounds like some of the deaths that have occurred following (not because of) the HPV vaccination may have occurred from UNknown preexisting conditions. The fault of the unfortunate death/illness does NOT lie with the vaccine then.

      I think vaccines are generally misunderstood. Even phrases like this from your post, Ken, can make parents uneasy: “The vaccine does not even contain a virus, living, weakened, or dead.” There’s another myth about “live” vaccines. This term does not mean that you are vaccinated with the virus itself. It does not mean that healthy individuals could develop the disease itself from receiving the vaccination. It simply means when making the vaccine that the virus has been modified to be harmless or nonvirulent but still contains live/active cells. This compared to an inactive vaccine where the cells are killed in the laboratory when making the vaccine.

      In fact, you noted that the risk of not vaccinating is much higher than the risk of vaccinating. When a parent decides not to immunize their child, they put the child at serious risk of contracting fatal diseases from individuals in their community as well as contracting the disease AND spreading it to their families, schools, and greater community. When we don’t vaccinate our children, as noted, diseases we previously assumed were eradicated can rear their ugly heads again. Hence the rise of Measles cases and legitimate outbreaks in the US in May of this year.

      I respect the right of all individuals to refrain from vaccination, but I highly discourage it. If their child (child 1) attends a school, for example, and their child infects another child (child 2) with a fatal disease and child 2 then dies…does the fault of child 2’s death lie in the hands of the parents who knowingly took the risk of infection and spread of disease when they actively decided not have child 1 vaccinated?

      If parents love their children so much that they wish to protect them like anti-vax parent’s do, then they must research carefully. I think, upon further investigation, however, into the clinical studies before a vaccine is approved by the FDA and CDC and NOT into what your neighbor tells you over coffee, you might find that the SAFEST thing you can do is get your child vaccinated.

      In the spirit of full disclosure, I must say that I my actual job is to make sure student’s enrolling in the university at which I work are properly vaccinated. I’m privy to information regarding the monitoring of infected students and the prevention or the presence of outbreaks of certain diseases on campus. I’ll also say that the city in which I work is a port city that heavily enrolls international students in all of its colleges/universities. Diseases we do not think are a problem in the US may enter the country through these students. We are rigorous in making sure our students, faculty, staff, and community members are protected from a wide range of diseases that are and could be present on campus and in the city.

      Some may say this puts me in a biased position. I agree. I’m biased because of my experience just like every anti-vax parent is biased because of their experience. Here’s how my experience differs: I’ve seen students pulled from class and quarantined during outbreaks, I’ve seen staff administer vaccines to scared students who previously chose not to be vaccinated but then realize that a student who has now been removed from classes was actually infected for weeks but not yet showing symptoms, and I’ve administratively withdrawn students from courses who have not provided proof of immunity. That’s right. You are allowed to claim that you have a religious belief or provide medical documentation that prevents you from receiving vaccines and still enroll in courses. However, in BOTH cases, you WILL be administratively withdrawn and forced to leave campus immediately if there is an outbreak for your safety and the safety of our community. You don’t get a tuition refund, you miss your work…and you risk having been infected.

      Keep in mind, the university at which I work has the most progressive and rigorous vaccination requirements in the country at this time and we STILL see this on campus. The risk is real.

      I just think the risk analysis makes the decision to vaccinate or not a clear one. Surely, the decision for parents will not always be easy to make since we never want our child to be of that very small percentage of individuals who might have an adverse reaction to the vaccine. But the risk of not vaccinating is just so much larger. I know I personally vaccinate myself (because vaccination is a process that continues into adulthood), and it’s because I know that contracting certain communicable diseases could kill me whereas the vaccine is FAR less likely to.

  4. Dorit Reiss says:

    It is extremely disappointing. Sincere as the mother’s pain is, her belief might scare people away from protecting their children – against the evidence. This vaccine uptake is already low, and that is very, very sad. This could make things worse.

    • Heather says:

      glad to hear the uptake is low that equals lives saved!!!

      • David Donne says:

        I think you should check your math. It means the opposite.

      • Dorit Reiss says:

        I don’t count not protecting people against a cancer that kills over 3000 people a year saving lives.
        No deaths have been causally connected to this vaccine as far as I know. Girls died after it, but there is no medical evidence that it was the vaccine, and no evidence the rates are higher than in the general population.

      • Susie Q says:

        Heather it will be years before there is actual evidence that this vaccine is effective or not. There is NO science, yet that proves this vaccine is effective. If you find some, please post and state your sources.

        • sailor says:

          What do you mean “There is NO science the vaccine is effective” ? From where I stand there is a ton of it. for example: http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2013/p0619-hpv-vaccinations.html

        • Eli Rabett says:

          There is, of course, lots of proof. Starting with the Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials that the vaccines passed before being licensed for general use, and the post vaccine record of new infections with the virus, which have been carefully monitored as opposed to the pre vaccine case.

          So A) you are wrong and B) you are dangerous.

          • Anonymous says:

            Well said, Eli. Vaccines aren’t approved for use unless there is data proving their effectiveness. Of course, this data is collected years into use, too, and updates are published by the CDC as necessary. So people should feel confident that after the vaccines hit the market, researchers don’t forget about them. Their efficacy continues to be monitored.

  5. Karen Ernst says:

    Thank you for writing this post. A show featuring you would have been far more enlightening, but judging by Couric’s tweets, she thinks she has a winner with the “debate” she’s sparked on this “controversy.” I cannot express how dismayed I am about an otherwise intelligent woman who once championed colon cancer prevention going on to risk the health of young women and men for ratings. I am assuming the unhappy email I wrote to her producer and my ensuing tweets will also be ignored. Intellectual dishonesty at its worst, and it is unlikely to do anything but tank HPV vaccine uptake even more.

  6. FT says:

    There’s a special place in hell for people who scaremonger on vaccines…

  7. Rene Najera says:

    Not only that, Seth, but the comments section of the teaser for the show is chock-full of anti-vaccine rhetoric. There is even a call for someone’s job, with that person’s name, work addresses and credentialing agencies listed for people to call and complain that she is pro-vaccine. It’s nuts, and none of the really serious, offensive and potentially libelous comments are being moderated. It’s a free for all and quite shameful of a “civilized” society to behave like some are behaving in that forum. If it were your comment section, I’m sure you would have shut it down and told us all to go take a break.

    • Ted Gideonse says:

      I’m so angry at you for stoking my interest. I started reading them and now I’m so depressed about the world, the state of science education, and what passes for journalism, I can’t see straight.

    • Susie Q says:

      I’m not anti-vaccine, I’m pro-research and pro-education… I don’t wish any parents the anguish of having a child debilitated by this vaccine. Research for yourself, a HPV Dr. herself said this vaccine is not necessary. Girls and women simply need to get their annual paps every year to detect as cervical cancer is very slow growing and most people get rid of HPV on their own.

      • Milwauken says:

        That’s like saying “I’m not racist. I watch The Wire.”

      • Bob says:

        So one “HPV Dr.” (unnamed) said the vaccine “wasn’t necessary.” Assuming this Dr. actually exists, did she say that it “shouldn’t be administered,” or “wasn’t necessary, but is helpful.”

        Secondly, even if your anonymous cherry-picked doctor objects to the vaccine’s administration, the American Academy of Pediatrics endorses it, so she’s more than a smidge outnumbered.

        I did my research – you should try the same.

        • Susie Q says:

          She is a very public speaker on the issue, Dr. Diane Harper. Please look her up, she made a good point, these pediatricians are not gynos, they are not doing the pap smears, nor are they preaching them. Did you get a chance to listen to her, makes a lot of sense. The vaccine is a tool, do your homework and if you choose, take the risk. You have to outweigh the risk vs. benefit. Are you willing to take the risk that your daughter be handicapped vs. possible having to go thru a colposcopy and treatment for cervical dysplasia, annual paps, etc.

          • sherparick says:

            Yes, and she is making a lot of money pushing this crap. It is almost as sicking and the climate change deniers when someone pushes out information that they should know, if they have some rational ability to consider the evidence and realize what they are saying will result in not insignificant number of women and men dying painful deaths or at best undergoing painful surgeries and medical treatment for cancers caused by the HPV virus, totally preventable cancers.

            Amanda Marcotte has Dr. Harper’s number: http://blogs.plos.org/thepanicvirus/2013/12/03/katie-couric-promotes-dangerous-fear-mongering-with-show-on-the-hpv-vaccine/#comment-633981
            “…But what’s really troubling is that she aggressively promotes regular Pap smears as the better and safer alternative to vaccines, claiming that with the new Pap test, we can prevent “100 percent” of cervical cancer. Never mind that despite this better test, the gaps in Pap testing mean that 4,000 women die a year of cervical cancer. And never mind that the Cleveland Clinic says there is a 10 to 20 percent false negative rate for the test. Indeed, she speaks so glowingly of Pap tests that the viewer walks away with the impression that the tests do something to prevent precancerous cells from forming. She doesn’t actually mention what happens if the Pap finds the cells (they have to be scraped off, often in a procedure that requires putting a patient under, which has its own risks), which is absolutely more likely to happen if you don’t get vaccinated. “

        • Marie Flowers says:

          The HPV doctor was on the show. Her name was Dr. Diane Harper and appeared in the first interview on “Katie.”


          • dingo says:

            The same doctor who also says this:
            “Cervical cancer of both squamous and adenocarcinoma types is considered virtually 100% attributable to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV-16 and -18 are the predominant types worldwide accounting for over 70% of all cervical cancer.” and
            ” When the two studies are combined and the respective populations are evaluated, vaccine efficacy against HPV-16 and -18-related CIN2+ remains at 100%. As this vaccine is used over time in universal prophylactic HPV-16/18 vaccination of girls and women, reductions in cervical cancers at both the individual and public health levels will be appreciated.”

      • vicki says:

        She is right you don’t need it I got my daughter 2 shots of it in June and July the worst thing I have ever done
        The first shot She had fever,broke out in hives the next day Headaches that come and go sore joints, sore stomach, Dizzy.I didn’t know what was going on with her She got her second shot a month later Now she is having seizures The doctor put her on medicine for that She was in hospital last night she had more seizures she could not talk or walk Today she could walk again She had one more today after coming home from Doctor. She still has everything going on she has not had her period since the shot She will be seeing the seizure specialist tomorrow again. She is only 12 years old This makes me sick seeing all these girls going though this!She will not be getting that last shot I keep checking to make sure she is still breathing unless you go through this please don’t say this shot doesn’t do anything bad Her doctor today told me it was from the shot! I want my healthy girl back!

    • At the library says:

      ” There is even a call for someone’s job, with that person’s name, work addresses and credentialing agencies listed for people to call and complain that she is pro-vaccine.”

      It’s a compliment actually – the antivaxxers can only win if they manage to shut up all the people who care about children’s health and well-being. That’s why antivaxxers come here and post thoughtful comments like “SHUT UP Seth” (see here http://blogs.plos.org/thepanicvirus/2012/05/17/sun-times-endorsement-of-autism-quackfest-remains-online-even-after-editor-claims-it-was-incorrect/). The antivaxxers also seem stunned that pro-health blogs don’t censor their comments – note how many screeds here start with “I know you’ll delete this” – apparently deleting opposing views is so much a standard policy for them that they assume that everyone does it.

  8. Rusty Max says:

    Katie Couric had credibility? It’s a shame, but that is the nature of TV pseudo news.

  9. LIz Ditz says:

    Thank you, Seth.

    Katie Couric has done great things for the awareness, and prevention, of colon cancer, for which I heretofore had admired her. Colon cancer killed my daughter’s father when she was 20.

    Well, when my daughter was 5, I had cervical cancer. Happily, our family was complete, because that was the end of my fertility. Also happily, the procedures I underwent saved my life, so my daughter has one living parent.

    I cannot give words to how disappointed (and that’s an understatement) I am with Couric’s pandering to the anti-vaccine lobby for the sake of ratings to present the HPV vaccine as dangerous.

    What if there were a colon cancer vaccine? Would she throw away her life history and her prior advocacy just for ratings?

    • Heather says:

      highly doubt she is doing it for rating, have you ever thought that perhaps she heard these injured girls and wanted to give them a voice , that she cared enough to tell both sides

      • Bob says:

        At least 90% of the people in the US who die of cancer have been in the presence of someone named Heather in the past year. If we could just kill everyone named Heather, cancer would disappear.

      • Melissa says:

        Problem is Heather, she isnt asking for the Scientists and researchers to come on. She is just doing this for ratings. There are a ton of grieving parents who just want someone, or something to blame.

        This is like someone hitting thier hand with a hammer, then getting the flu shot. He can rightly say that after he got his flu shot his hand was swollen.

      • Dorit Reiss says:

        It’s not that the injured girls cannot express themselves. They can write online and so on. Giving them legitimacy in this way is ignoring the lack of evidence connecting their injury to the vaccine.

        I do appreciate Ms. Couric also including a cancer victim and providing counter from a knowledgeable pediatrician. I wish there was someone at hand able to point out that Dr. Harper was inaccurate in stating the vaccine is only effective for 5 years: while we don’t have data beyond five years, and don’t know what the longterm effectiveness is, there’s no basis for saying it’s only effective for five years.

      • lilady says:

        That’s a case of “false equivalency” on the part of Couric to give the anti-vaccine anti-science groups a platform to argue that HPV vaccine is worthless and is dangerous.

        I viewed the show and sometimes “stuff” happens to young girls.

        Just remember correlation does not mean causation and the plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data.

        • Susie Q says:

          I am pro vaccine but this is NOT an mandated vaccine, it’s an elective vaccine, not even close to polio. There is prevention out there for HPV now, if you don’t need to be vaccinated for something, why would you?

          • Chris says:

            ” There is prevention out there for HPV”

            What would that be? Provide the PubMed indexed article outlying that protection.

            Is it some kind of crystal ball telling me that the man my daughter will marry in the future will not infect her with HPV?

      • Febber says:

        highly doubt she is doing it for ratings, What world do you live in. Couric is a ratings whore.

    • Kathy Seravalli says:

      Give me a break…do you have any idea what is in the HPV vaccine??
      Learn and get informed! The only people benefiting from the HPV vaccine are the “fat cats” at Merck.

      • Melissa says:

        How is that polio working out for you?

      • Antaeus Feldspar says:

        All right, Kathy, post your evidence. Show us scientific studies which prove that the efficacy of the HPV vaccine is zero – because unless the efficacy of the HPV vaccine is zero, then yes, MANY people are benefitting from it, and your claim that only “the fat cats at Merck” are benefitting is an ignorant lie.

        What? You mean you have no studies to indicate that the efficacy of the vaccine is zero? Instead of doing what real scientists do, and examining the facts carefully to arrive at the correct conclusion, you just decided what conclusion felt right to you, based on your prejudices, and simply assumed that the facts must support it? Well, then, where do you get off telling others to “get informed”? You telling people to get informed is like Keith Richards telling people to stay off drugs.

      • Febber says:

        Tell me what is in it. Fat cats at Merck I bet you voted for Obama.

  10. Damien McKenna says:

    You might not have seen this but more than one person has died as a result of the vaccine, perhaps some actual research might be in order? http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/stress-and-health-dr-lind/2013/apr/10/us-court-pays-6-million-gardasil-victims/

    • Dorit Reiss says:

      It would be more accurate to say that more than one person died after the vaccine. I know of no deaths that were casually connected to the vaccine at this point. Unfortunately, healthy teen age girls do die, and with forty million vaccine doses administered, it’s not surprising some of those deaths will happen after the vaccine. As far as I know, there is no credible or scientific evidence connecting any of those deaths to the vaccine – anyone who knows differently is free to provide such evidence.

      You link to an article about compensating. According to the Department of Justice statistics, to date there have been 67 claims compensated by NVICP that relate to these vaccines, and 64 related. 216 claims filed totally. http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/statisticsreports.html#Claims

      Out of 40 million doses of vaccines. Some of the compensations were for things like a girl who fainted and injured her face. As far as I saw, all were consent decrees – nothing had to be proven, the government agreed to pay. The total amounts were fairly low. Evidence of serious dangers from the vaccine it’s not.

      In contrast, HPV infections cause tens of thousands of cancers a year and kill thousands.

  11. Pingback: Morning Media Newsfeed: Newsweek to Print Again | Daily Download Dead | Kennedy Joins FBN - FishbowlNY

  12. sandman says:

    Nothing is more seductive, it seems, than righteous indignation and the anti-vax crowd, despite all evidence to the contrary, cling to their false beliefs with incredible tenacity. It would be almost admirable if it weren’t so misguided and dangerous. Why can’t they find something less harmful to arouse their antiscientific ire, like faked moon landings or flat earths?

  13. a. nonymaus says:

    Given that this is the HPV vaccine, I wonder how much of this is being cynically pushed by social conservatives who think that cancer is the just punishment for women who have sex.

  14. Colin Moreno says:

    Big Pharma compels you to bury all evidence that Big Pharma does not control and advance. Big Pharma (and the FDA that Big Pharma controls) will provide all the good, reliable research and testing you need.

    (Vioxx never happened. Vioxx never happened. Vioxx never happened.)

    The nature of democracy demands that the feeble subjects and their dollars hear only that which Big Pharma puts forth on the television — primarily through advertising.

    And so Big Pharma shall, with nice pictures of happy people, compel the feeble subjects and their dollars to desire that which Big Pharma decides they should consume.

    Side effects may include [don’t listen to this part, just stare look at the pretty people and the glistening stream they’re mountain biking next to… that’s it… good… almost over…]

    Ask you doctor.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m not sure what your yammering is supposed to be implying. Am I to understand that you think vaccines are worse than the diseases?

      • Thomas says:

        No. He said that big pharma controls what the people hear. Therefore big pharma must be forcing Couric to tell lies about the HPV vaccine, presumably because pharma makes more money when people get cancer than when they take cheap preventative treatments like vacces. I thank Colin for his well reasoned support of HPV vaccines.

    • thanks says:

      Thanks for reminding me of the Vioxx case. Next time some conspiracy nut tries to tell me that Big Pharma controls the media and the FDA , I’ll remind him of the Vioxx incident and how reporters like Brian Deer exposed pharma’s crimes and how the FDA punished them.

      • Colin Moreno says:

        And just how did the FDA “punish” them?

        (After, of course, they approved Vioxx.)

        Please. Enlighten us all…

        • Thanks says:

          I thought you knew about the Vioxx case – are you trying to cover up the billion dollar fine imposed by the FDA? I’m sure Merck appreciates your attempt to drop that incident in the memory hole, but it did happen.

          • srp says:

            Many happy Vioxx users were pretty upset about its withdrawal–for them it worked better than alternatives and was not weakening their hearts (or they were willing to accept the small absolute risk increase to avoid the pain or other adverse side effects occasioned by alternative treatments).

          • dingo says:

            I read somewhere that the number of lives saved by Vioxx (which reduced fatal GI bleeds in arthritis sufferers) exceeded the number of deaths from heart attacks caused by the drug. But that’s just how the cookie crumbles.

    • Bob says:

      “Ask you doctor.”

      I did. He heartily endorses the full CDC vaccine schedule, plus the HPV vaccine once our daughter is old enough.

      The American Academy of Pediatrics fully agrees.


    • Dorit Reiss says:

      Luckily, the evidence about vaccine safety and effectiveness does not come only from pharmaceutical companies. For example, the safety study Mr. Mnookin mentions was done by university researchers in Denmark and Sweden. The vaccine is also monitored by a variety of governments.

      And none of these sources found evidence of safety concerns.

    • Febber says:

      I don’t care what these anti-vaxxers say and who they convince not to vaccinate. My children and grandchildren are vaccinated and they lived just like the scientific evidence said they would. I will not have to worry about whooping cough, HPV, polio, etc. You will. If these diseases are the burden you wish to put on your children because you are either to stupid or stubborn to understand the science behind it, so by it. SCREW YOU.

  15. Colin Moreno says:

    Ask your doctor.

  16. I’m a PR person that has either experienced or read about deceptive approaches by producers of TV talk shows. It seems like they will say anything to get you “aboard,” and then think nothing of selling you out later, or changing the understanding of what the segment will be about. This is a reminder that we all need to stay vigilant, even when the approach seems friendly.

  17. Pingback: Katie Couric And Cervical Cancer Prevention With The HPV Vaccines, Gardasil … | Today Health Channel

  18. Ottoschnaut says:

    The HPV series has never prevented a single human cancer, ever.

    The fear mongering here is from the indiscriminate vaccinationists who raise the alarm about cervical cancers and imply that the HPV series is a solution to prevent cancers.

    The HPV series is another example of vaccine officials “disease mongering” and acting as “vaccine salespeople,” as described in British Medical Journal


    “Closer examination of influenza vaccine policies shows that although proponents employ the rhetoric of science, the studies underlying the policy are often of low quality, and do not substantiate officials’ claims.

    I guess the BMJ has been infiltrated with “anti vaxxers?” Or does BMJ represent the mainstream of conservative, evidence based medical opinion?

    • Colin Moreno says:


      Thank you.

    • Milwauken says:

      Is that the same BMJ that called Mr. Andrew Wakefield a fraud?

    • Bob says:

      “The HPV series has never prevented a single human cancer, ever.”

      Your assertion is based on what, exactly? Certainly, we can’t say “Sally X would have gotten cervical cancer without the HPV vaccine.” By that token, we can’t say “Sally X would have gotten polio without the polio vaccine.” What we CAN say is that “out of a population of millions of Sally X’s, a much higher # would have gotten cervical cancer without the vaccine.”

    • SoA says:


      That article was written by Peter Doshi, a known anti-vaxxer. You can’t really take anything that quack does seriously. And that article has already had to make two corrections to the data and sources they cited.

    • darjeeling says:

      The cited BMJ article has absolutely nothing to do with HPV or HPV vaccines. It makes no reference to HPV whatsoever. It would have been equally relevant, but much more entertaining, to cite an article about the mating habits of badgers or a semiotic analysis of the final episode of Breaking Bad.

      No, it is an article about influenza vaccines, which are totally unrelated to the HPV vaccines. Influenza strains mutate rapidly and vary seasonally and flu vaccines must be prepared in well in advance based on best guesses regarding the most prevalent circulating viruses at the time of production. Because flu vaccines are seasonal, they cannot be tested in the kind of long-term trials required for the HPV (and other) vaccines.

      In contrast, HPV is stable over time, and consequently there is excellent published evidence from long-term studies documenting the health impact of circulating viruses, and high-quality clinical trial results demonstrating the protective effects of HPV vaccines (and, I might add, their side effect profiles).

      So nice try.

      Rather than play sleight of hand, let’s look instead at what you claim:

      “The HPV series has never prevented a single human cancer, ever.”  What is your source for this claim?  There are numerous published large, high-quality clinical trials showing the precise opposite.

      “The fear mongering here is from the indiscriminate vaccinationists who raise the alarm about cervical cancers and imply that the HPV series is a solution to prevent cancers.”   We shouldn’t be alarmed that tens of thousands of women and men are dying from cancer needlessly? Maybe you feel we should ignore their deaths because the virus is transmitted via sexual activity?  

      Your lack of compassion matches your inability to acknowledge and process the evidence.

    • Dorit Reiss says:

      It’s true we don’t have data on the effect of the vaccines on cancer rates yet but we have evidence it’s effective in preventing HPV infections and pre cancerous growths. No cancer causing HPV, no pre cancer growth, no cancer.

    • SaintMisbehavin says:

      You’re probably even correct! HPV vaccines have likely not prevented many, if any, cases of cancer.


      See, there is an average interval of 20 years between HPV infection and cancer developing.

      So your argument is like saying, “Well, this apple tree is only seven years old and hasn’t produced a single apple. It was a waste of time to plant it.”

      HPV incidence – specificially in the four strains targeted by Gardasil – are down 56% in young girls since the introduction of the vaccine.


      So maybe it hasn’t prevented a single cancer yet. But it will prevent thousands over the next few decades.

    • lilady says:

      Are you actually linking to an article written by Peter Doshi?

      Doshi is a crank and an AIDS denialist.

      Furthermore, the article you linked to is about the seasonal influenza vaccine. You do know, don’t you, that the seasonal influenza vaccine changes every year, depending on the prevailing circulating influenza viruses…i.e. antigenic shift and antigenic drift, which is not the case of the HPV types contained in HPV vaccines.

      Immunology 101, virology 101 and epidemiology 101…learn some.

  19. Pingback: Katie Couric promotes dangerous fear mongering with show on the HPV vaccine. | Sage of Autism

  20. Lydia says:

    I have never been anti-vaccine. In fact, I REQUESTED that my daughter receive the Gardasil vaccine. Within a day of receiving her one and only dose, my formerly very healthy daughter became extremely ill–migraines, POTS, syncope, seizures (up to 12 per day). We have seen countless specialists and she has been ill for over 4 years. The insert from Merck lists the side effects–my daughter has experienced nearly all of them! It says to contact a physician should your child experience any of these side effects–I have done just that and, although, many of the doctors admit that the vaccine has done this damage, they don’t know how to help my daughter. I have even been in contact with Dr. Diane Harper, one of the research doctors of this vaccine, and she doesn’t know how to reverse the damage…

    • lilady says:

      I sincerely hope that you have reported these symptoms to the VAERS, which you claim appeared one day after your daughter was given Gardasil vaccine.

      Also have all those doctors who have told you that her symptoms are caused by Gardasil vaccine made reports?

      Have you made a claim for vaccine injuries in the Vaccine Court?

    • Marie Flowers says:

      I would recommend that you subscribe to the Blaylock Wellness Report, written by a neurosurgeon who has information on how toxins affect the brain and other areas of the body.

      You may also want to work with an Integrative health doctor.



      You may have to search to find the best Integrative health doctor, but they will use natural approaches to attempt to heal what the damage has caused. Integrative doctor integrate supplements, diet, etc into their practice and don’t just rely completely on drugs.

      • Marie Flowers says:


        Russell Blaylock is a board certified neurosurgeon who has helped me a lot with his nutritional advice after I was poisoned from mercury exposure.

        Do not allow detractors to put him down. He is now retired and spends his time doing nutritional research from medical journals. He breaks down the information in his newsletters and books so the general public can understand it.

        Most doctors still in practice do not have time to do this research.

        Marie Gray Flowers

        • Chris says:

          A wee bit of advice when looking at a doctor’s website:

          Make sure they are still working. Blaylock has been retired for years.

          Make sure they are qualified in the area they are “researching.” Blaylock was a neurosurgeon and does not have any working experience in infection, immunology, nutrition, etc.

          Make sure they do not sell supplements online. Beware of doctors who want to sell you stuff.

        • Marie Flowers says:

          Dr. Russell Blaylock has published articles in the peer reviewed JANA, Journal on Nutraceuticals and Nutrition.

          He has written articles for “Surgery Neurology International” and provided treatment plans for brains with inflammation.

          he has been a visiting professor at two institutions after his retirement, In other publications, he wrote articles about aluminum and its contributing factors to neurdegenerative disorders in an article entitled, “Aluminum Induced Immunoexcitotoxicity in Neurodevelopmental and
          Neurodegenerative Disorders.”

          There are many more articles.

          Get on his site and read for yourself.

          Do your own reading and don’t just believe people who trash him.

  21. SoA says:

    Is this going to turn into the comment section like the one on Katie Couric’s site? God help us all.

  22. Kevin Dalley says:

    The good news is that the preview page includes part of an interview with a pediatrician who recommends HPV vaccine.

    However, the first preview video on the site has the scaremongering.
    But to balance this story, the preview included an ad for a drug for overactive bladder. Big pharma ads, while programs stokes suspicions against big pharma.

  23. Ginger says:

    And as to NCVIAS claims, we do have some actual data. The FOIA documents from the DDHS reveal that the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has awarded $5,877,710 to 49 victims for various injuries resulting from the HPV vaccine.
    According to the press release: “On March 12, 2013, The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of HHS, provided documents revealing the following information:

    • Only 49 of the 200 claims filed have been compensated for injury or death caused from the (HPV) vaccine. Of the 49 compensated claims, 47 were for injury caused from the (HPV) vaccine. The additional 2 claims were for death caused due to the vaccine.
    • 92 (nearly half) of the total 200 claims filed are still pending. Of those pending claims, 87 of the claims against the (HPV) vaccine were filed for injury. The remaining 5 claims were filed for death.
    • 59 claims have been dismissed outright by VICP. The alleged victims were not compensated for their claims against the HPV vaccine. Of the claims dismissed, 57 were for injuries, 2 were for deaths allegedly caused by the HPV vaccine.
    • The amount awarded to the 49 claims compensated totaled 5,877,710.87 dollars. This amounts to approximately $120,000 per claim.

    • Seth Mnookin says:

      You’re either deliberately misrepresenting the data or don’t have a clue as to how the vaccine court works. The vaccine court is not a regular court of law. The main difference is that there is no need to show that the claimed injuries had anything to do with the vaccine in question — only that they occurred. The reason for this is that when the court was initially set up, everyone — the government, the medical establishment, vaccine manufacturers, patient advocates — agreed that the court should overwhelmingly err on the side of compensating people who had not been harmed.

      Anti-vaccine advocates rely on the public not knowing anything about the vaccine court when they go around claiming that “a court agreed that x vaccine caused y injury” or that “the government has paid x dollars to people who have been injured by y vaccine.” It’s a lame attempt to confuse people/hope they bother to find out the reality of the situation.

      • Dorit Reiss says:

        Mr. Mnookin, one correction. For table injuries, you don’t need to show causation. For other claims, you do need to show it. You need to meet the preponderance of evidence standard, that more likely than not the vaccine caused the harm (over 50% likelihood).
        There are no table injuries for HPV vaccines: http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/vaccinetable.html. So plaintiff would have to show causation if they went to court.

        But if there’s a consent decree, nothing has to be proven.

      • Ginger says:

        My information came directly from the press release with no interpretation on my part at all. And I’m a Supreme Court Justice in a northeastern state, so I do in fact know the difference between the forums. To be clear, I don’t have a position on these vaccines, because I don’t think we have sufficient evidence at this point. My point relates only to the amount of data available, not to any resultant conclusions.
        See: http://www.thelibertybeacon.com/2013/11/02/feds-sued-for-secrets-on-hpv-vaccine-deaths/

        • Dorit Reiss says:

          I disagree with your latter point. We have large scale studies looking at hundreds of thousands of women. We have a vaccine with over 40 million doses administered in the U.S.. 200 claims were filed from that. 62 compensated, 62 denied (that’s from HRSA statistics, which are public. You really don’t need a FOIA request for that). http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/statisticsreports.html#Stats. As far as I know, all compensated were concession decrees.
          That’s hardly evidence of a dangerous vaccine. Especially with the large scale studies.

          In contrast, HPV infections cause tens of thousands of cancer a year and kill over 3000 women.
          This is not a close call. Sorry.

        • lilady says:

          Sorry Judge Ginger, that website where you got all your information is not reliable, nor are the sources “Judicial Watch” (affiliated with SaneVax) and Joe Mercola.

          How about links to scientific papers about the safety of Gardasil vaccine, such as these:

          Klein NP, Hansen J, Chao C et al. Safety of quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine administered routinely to femalesExternal Web Site Icon. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2012;166:1140-1148.

          Chao C, Klein NP, Velicer CM et al. Surveillance of autoimmune conditions following routine use of quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccineExternal Web Site Icon. J Intern Med 2012;271:193-203.

          Gee J, Naleway A, Shui I, Baggs J, Yinc R, Lic R, Kulldorff, M, Lewis E, Fireman B, Daley, MF, Klein NP, Weintraub ES. Monitoring the safety of quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine: Findings from the Vaccine Safety DatalinkExternal Web Site Icon, Vaccine 2011 Oct 26;Vol 29, Issue 46: 8279-8284.

          Slade BA, Leidel L, Vellozzi C, Woo EJ, Hua J, Sutherland A, Izurieta HS, Ball R, Miller N, Braun MM, Markowitz LE, Iskander J. Postlicensure safety surveillance for quadrivalent human papillomavirus recombinant vaccine.External Web Site Icon JAMA 2009 Aug 10;302(7):750-7.

    • Chris says:

      How do the numbers that were compensated compare to the number of HPV doses given? And how does it compare the over three thousand deaths from cervical cancer in just one year? How much did the care of the over ten thousand cases of cervical cancer in one year cost?

      Why should we not prevent HPV infections?

      • Ginger says:

        I found a medical website claiming that there are over 100 different forms of HPV and this vaccine is only effective on two of them. So it may not be preventing as many cases of cervical cases as you think.

        • Dorit Reiss says:

          I’d urge you to read the CDC’s Pink Book on HPV. It’s true that there are many types of HPV; but two of the strains in the vaccine – 16 and 18 – are responsible for 70% of cervical cancers and others.

          A lot of thought had been put into this vaccine’s development, and it was carefully tested. Please don’t dismiss all that because distressed parens believe – without evidence, sometimes against the evidence – that bad things that happened after it happened because of it.

          • Ginger says:

            Thank you for the information At this point I haven’t dismissed any evidence, empirical or theoretical. I appreciate your (rational) contribution to the discussion.

        • Chris says:

          Actually it is effective for four of them, the ones that cause most of the cancers, over 70%. Just because it does not prevent all does not make it bad. Just think if 70% of the ten thousand cases could be prevented, reducing the cases that need treatment to about three thousand and the deaths to less than a thousand per year.

          Some of the other HPV are those that cause skin warts, like the ones you can find on your kids’ feet or hands. While they can be annoying, I don’t see why they are so dire they need to be prevented.

          Some information also here:

        • dingo says:

          Ginger, might I remind you what Dr Diane Harper says about the subject?

          “Cervical cancer of both squamous and adenocarcinoma types is considered virtually 100% attributable to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV-16 and -18 are the predominant types worldwide accounting for over 70% of all cervical cancer.”

          That’s THE Diane Harper, you know.
          Hope you don’t make the same mistake again, and glad to have educated you.

          • Ginger says:

            I came on here looking for information so I could continue to educate myself on this issue. I do believe in looking at both sides and sometimes the internet makes this difficult, because there is so much misinformation out there and it can be hard for a layperson to immediately tell the difference. But if I can’t come to (what I thought was) a trustworthy forum in my quest to educate myself without hostility and insults, what is the point?
            So thank you to all who gave me credible sources. And to those for whom a civilized discussion seems hampered by your bizarre anger and intense vitriol, you win. I’ll never be on here again. But know that you had a chance to help me educate myself and instead your childish name-calling caused you to lose someone who could have possibly turned into a formidable ally.
            Best of luck to all of you, especially those of you whose rage renders you rather hysterical. That must be a very unfortunate way to go through life.

          • lilady says:

            @ Judge Ginger: You came on to this site with preconceived opinions derived from crank internet sources.

            You were provided with reliable studies about the efficacy and safety of HPV vaccines, by Seth Mnookin and other posters here who have done the research.

            The content of your posts are a study in concern trolling and tone trolling, because you are dissatisfied with the information provided to you.

            If you want to leave the discussion clutching your pearls and heading to the fainting couch, be my guest.

            Ta ta Judge Ginger.

          • Chris says:

            So, what was wrong with the sites I gave and the Diane Harper quote given to you by Dingo?

            Did you not like the information? Did you not know that common warts are also a type of HPV?

    • Dorit Reiss says:

      As far as I know, all the amounts were awarded via concession decrees. In no case has the court found for a plaintiff. If there are any cases of finding, please linked to them. I looked at several of the consent decree. Some were probably caused by the vaccine, like the girl who fainted and fell and hurt her face. Others read like it was not worth fighting – the amounts are pretty small. And the government denied connection to vaccine in most.

      • Ginger says:

        Usually not admitting causation is part of any settlement contract, especially when dealing with the gov’t. But I’m new to these conversations, as I am not in any way anti-vaccine and have never seriously questioned their necessity prior to this HPV issue. Although I admit that I don’t ever get a flu shot.

        • Colin says:

          Ginger, I am skeptical of your claim to be “not in any way anti-vaccine,” given your obvious hostility to the HPV vaccine. You seem to rely on largely irrelevant data to support your skepticism, which suggests that it stems from something other than the facts. For example, pointing out that the vaccine prevents “only” two strains is obviously misleading when those strains account for the majority of relevant cancers. Similarly, your recitation of the vaccine court’s statistics are largely meaningless; it doesn’t matter how many dollars the court awarded on HPV-related claims unless you consider those numbers in the context of the nature of the court and the number of vaccinations. In context, those numbers only show how safe the vaccine is in practice.

          If you do believe yourself to be open-minded, please consider whether your opinions as expressed here actually support that belief. The safety record of the HPV vaccine is not a legitimate controversy. The controversy that exists survives due to the irresponsibility of media figures like Couric and ill-informed commenters.

          • Ginger says:

            I came on here looking for information so I could continue to educate myself on this issue. I do believe in looking at both sides and sometimes the internet makes this difficult, because there is so much misinformation out there and it can be hard for a layperson to immediately tell the difference. But if I can’t come to (what I thought was) a trustworthy forum in my quest to educate myself without hostility and insults, what is the point?
            So thank you to all who gave me credible sources. And to those for whom a civilized discussion seems hampered by your bizarre anger and intense vitriol, you win. I’ll never be on here again. But know that you had a chance to help me educate myself and instead your childish name-calling caused you to lose someone who could have possibly turned into a formidable ally.
            Best of luck to all of you, especially those of you whose rage renders you rather hysterical. That must be a very unfortunate way to go through life.

          • Colin says:


            I’m sorry that you perceived “rage” in my comment. If I chide you, it is because you interjected misleading comments that you admit were not founded on any real understanding of the issue.

            As a layperson, you should be looking to experts to educate you on this subject rather than other laypeople. You should not be looking to internet comments as a source of information on this topic. What you will find here are a few well-meaning experts, such as Professor Reiss, competing with a sea of ill-informed and irrationally fearful people more interested in being heard than being right. As a layperson, you are not well equipped to filter the signal from the noise.

            If you would like to use such resources to their maximum effect, ask questions rather than making misleading and irrelevant statements. Your contributions to these comments include almost no questions, but many comments that impaired your credibility (such as your claim that you won’t get a flu shot, and your factually inaccurate claims about Pandermix).

            As you ask questions, pay attention to the credentials and logic of the people who answer them, rather than assessing their responses on the basis of tone. Neither demand nor expect deference—this is a blog, not a courtroom. Be somewhat knowledgeable of the opinions of experts, whether or not you agree with them, and be skeptical of those who discount the expert consensus without rational basis. And never claim to be impartial when your own comments clearly belie that position.

            As for your comment that your critics “had a chance to help me educate myself and instead your childish name-calling caused you to lose someone who could have possibly turned into a formidable ally,” I can only observe that the internet is not a walled garden. If you want to participate in a serious conversation, then initiate a serious conversation. Take real steps to educate yourself, ask meaningful questions, and make substantive comments rather than making hit-and-run attacks with misinformation and irrelevant data. In other words, if you mean to be formidable, then be formidable. No one is going to groom you for the role.

  24. Mike R. says:

    Since when are there “both sides” to preventing cancer? Are we worried about the cancerous cells rights movement?

    The HPV vaccine is effective and safe. No compelling evidence says otherwise, the “mommy instinct” of a Katie Couric guest notwithstanding.

    • Ginger says:

      Mike, there are many people with questions about this vaccine that aren’t “mommies”. There were some actual scientists on the program. Please don’t dismiss the concerns by applying your gender values to them.

      • Chris says:

        ” There were some actual scientists on the program.”

        Who else other than Diane Harper? Being a scientist does not automatically mean they understand the issues, especially if they are speaking outside their area of expertise.

    • Jed Stamas says:

      Please read what I posted today.

  25. Kathy Seravalli says:

    After many years of research, I KNOW that vaccines contribute to the Autism Epidemic that our nation faces today!
    Congratulations to Katie Couric for having the courage for the HPV isssue to be addressed on National TV. Dr. Harper stated that the vaccine is only good for about 5 years. So, I am asking you to justify aluminum and polysorbate 80, among other poisons, allowed to be injected into young girls.
    Oh…..didn’t know this garbage was in the vaccines?? That would figure since most of the Pediatricians don’t have a clue either. Of course, the Pediatrician on the show today is going to promote the vaccine, her bank account depends on it!
    How much is “Big Pharma” greasing your paws to promote this crap? Disgusting!

    • Antaeus Feldspar says:

      Sure, Kathy, you “know” that vaccines cause autism. Just as there are people who “know” that they were abducted and anally probed by aliens. Just as there are people who “know” that the moon landing was faked on a soundstage in the Arizona desert.

      The question is not whether you have convinced yourself. The question is whether you have evidence that would convince someone else – someone coming to the matter without your own blatant prejudice.

      • Ginger says:

        Antaeus, I don’t think that it is necessary to be quite so inflammatory when addressing this woman’s concerns. I understand your position and that you think you are absolutely 100% correct. But these women are most likely caring, loving mothers who are trying to assess both sides before making their decision. And derision doesn’t convince anyone.

        • Bob says:

          “But these women are most likely caring, loving mothers who are trying to assess both sides before making their decision.”

          Saying there are “both sides” here is like trying to assess “both sides” of whether putting your child’s hands in boiling water is a good idea. Yes, it could in theory nip an otherwise fatal infection in the bud.

          • Ginger says:

            I believe your analogy to be fallacious but will leave it at that. Good night.

          • dingo says:

            Ginger, people who deliberately scaremonger by making up junk about “poisons and garbage in vaccines” and talk of “BigPharma greasing paws to promote crap” are hardly what you think are “caring, loving mothers trying to assess both sides”.
            You are hilarious.

        • Antaeus Feldspar says:

          Interesting standards there, Ginger.

          Kathy asserts (without evidence) that vaccines are causing “an autism epidemic” and you don’t have a problem with it.

          Kathy asserts (without evidence) that aluminum and polysorbate 80 in the miniscule amounts they are present in vaccines are “poisons” “injected into young girls”, and “garbage”, and you don’t have a problem with it.

          Finally, she directly accuses of criminal activity both the pediatrician on Katie Couric’s show, and unspecified people here, claiming that these people could not be adhering to the mainstream medical position on vaccines because that’s the way the scientific evidence points, they must be doing it because “Big Pharma” is “greasing [their] paws”. And again, you don’t have a single problem with that.

          Please spell out in detail under what single standard my mild words to Kathy are “inflammatory”, but “garbage”, “poison” and accusing people of accepting bribes are perfectly legitimate, non-inflammatory contributions to the conversation. I’d very much like you to explain your reasoning, Judge.

          Or, of course, you could stop tone-trolling altogether, which would be an even more valuable contribution to the conversation.

          • Ginger says:

            I came on here looking for information so I could continue to educate myself on this issue. I do believe in looking at both sides and sometimes the internet makes this difficult, because there is so much misinformation out there and it can be for a layperson to tell the difference. But if I can’t come to (what I thought was) a trustworthy forum in my quest to educate myself without hostility and insults, what is the point?
            So thank you to all who gave me credible sources. And to those for whom a civilized discussion seems hampered by your bizarre anger and intense vitriol, you win. I’ll never be on here again. But know that you had a chance to help me educate myself and instead your childish name-calling caused you to lose someone who could have possibly turned into a formidable ally.
            Best of luck to all of you, especially those of you whose rage renders you rather hysterical.

          • Chris says:

            I believe the problem was you lecturing Antaeus Feldspar about his response, but you were not bothered with Ms. Seravalli’s defamatory language.

            How “How much is “Big Pharma” greasing your paws to promote this crap? ” not inflammatory? What are your standards for polite conversation?

        • Eli Rabett says:

          Who are endangering others. The mom card does not get them out of jail on that.

    • Ginger says:

      Kathy, the adjuvants you mentioned are a concern of mine as well. I guess I just bring more than a healthy dose of skepticism to actions by these drug companies. I have seen actuarial tables generated by corporations that are full cost-benefit analyses of the lawsuits they can expect based on very specific numbers of injuries and deaths. They don’t pick those numbers at random, they know exactly what they are risking v. the reward. GSK distributed 11.2 million doses of Pandermix to the UK alone before admitting that narcolepsy was a known side effect. 11.2 million vaccines equal a lot of money. Somewhere GSK had a table showing it was more profitable to go forward (and then just pay out lawsuits) than to not distribute it at all. Bottom line for them is money. Always money.

      • dingo says:

        Except the narcolepsy problem (minor as it was, and one which was not “known” at the time) only reared its head about a year after people stopped vaccinating against swine flu altogether.
        Your “tale” fails at the first truth hurdle.
        But please don’t disappoint us – keep on lying. It’s amusing to see the depths you will stoop to.

        • Ginger says:

          I came on here for information so I could continue to educate myself on this issue. I do believe in looking at both sides and sometimes the internet makes this difficult, because there is so much misinformation out there. But if I can’t come to (what I thought was) a trustworthy forum in my quest to educate myself without hostility and insults, what is the point? So thank you to all who gave me credible sources. And to those for whom a civilized discussion seems hampered by your bizarre anger and intense vitriol, you win. I’ll never be on here again. But know that you had a chance to help me educate myself and instead your childish name-calling caused you to lose someone who could have possibly turned into a formidable ally.
          Best of luck to all of you, especially those of you whose rage renders you rather hysterical.

    • Chris says:

      “After many years of research, I KNOW that vaccines contribute to the Autism Epidemic that our nation faces today!”

      Can you please list the papers that specifically associate the HPV vaccine to autism? It seems a bit odd considering it is not given at least age ten, which is much later than when autism is typically diagnosed.

      Please make sure the papers are indexed on PubMed (just so we can find them independently) and done by a reputable qualified researcher. Thank you.

    • lilady says:

      Aha, resorting to the *Pharma Shill* gambit…because you lack any verifiable studies that prove your statement that vaccines, the ingredients in vaccines, the spacing and timing of vaccines cause autism.

      Fortunately, we have vaccine safety studies from around the world that prove that vaccines are NOT implicated in the onset of ASDS…or any other developmental disability:


    • SaintMisbehavin says:

      As a diagnosed autistic person, all I can say is; I *wish* vaccines caused it. I’d have more people to hang out with.

    • Patrick says:

      As a former chemist working in drug development, we used polysorbate 80 with some frequency. It is important with complex drugs to keep them stable so they have a true effect in the body (it is especially true with ‘natural’ products because their structure makes them less easy to deliver from plants to mammals). In addition, the concentrations at which they are used are so low that any negative effects are washed away. Remember the old saying that the ‘dose makes the poison’ is very applicable to almost everything we give ourselves, including all those natural supplements in the organics aisle at your supermarket.

    • StuartG says:

      And our greatest exposure to that “garbage” “poison” known as polysorbate 80 is… ice cream!

      Oh, sorry. Didn’t you know that, Kathy?

  26. Pingback: Katie Couric Promotes Anticancer Vaccine Alarmism – Forbes | Headline News Extra

  27. lilady says:

    How about we all wait for Seth Mnookin and other science bloggers to view “the evidence presented” after viewing the entire TV show?

    The U.K. editor at Age of Autism and his latest hit piece against Dorit Reiss, is not a science blogger. John D. Stone and his libelous cyber stalking of Professor Reiss at her place of employment is not a science blogger. He is fixated on Professor Reiss, because she is educated, is a law school professor, has knowledge about the HPV vaccines and the cancers the vaccines prevent and is a child advocate…everything that Mr. Stone isn’t.

  28. Pingback: Katie Couric Promotes Anticancer Vaccine Alarmism – Forbes | #1 News Online

  29. RP says:

    There is more ‘fear mongering’ coming from the pro-vaccine side. According to many of the posts here, it seems that any parent who claims vaccine harm is just plain wrong. Vaccine injury is just plain fact. Visit wonder.cdc.gov to see the rate of harm for the HPV vaccine. Peruse the site for the rate of harm for other vaccines. You may be surprised. Vaccine supporters seem to say it’s a small amount of harm so these casualties are ‘worth it’. I say I’ll run my own cost-benefit analysis. And funny, once a person ‘gets it’ regarding vaccines and what a line we’ve been fed from Big Pharma, they never change back.
    MY BODY, MY CHOICE. Deal with it.

  30. RP says:

    Katie Couric is a hero.

  31. Pingback: Katie Couric puts the anti-vaccination movement into the mainstream – Los Angeles Times – Daily News Headlines

  32. Quokka says:

    RP – you may want to check your facts about people never changing their minds and having their children vaccinated.

    Here is one family who nearly lost their child and changed their minds very quickly. There remaining children were vaccinated against tetanus within the next 24 hours.


  33. Quokka says:

    Should say “The” remaining children not “there”

    Dyslexia is so annoying!

  34. Pingback: From Debate to Doorstep: How Should Society Handle Vaccination? | Hamsterdam Economics

  35. Pingback: Katie Couric’s irresponsibly misleading “Conversation” | Violent metaphors

  36. Pingback: Katie Couric puts the anti-vaccination movement into the mainstream | Today Health Channel

  37. Pingback: Katie Couric puts the anti-vaccination movement into the mainstream – Los Angeles Times | Baby Stuff Market

  38. Pingback: Oh Katie Couric, let us count the ways you screwed up HPV vaccine coverage « Red Wine & Apple Sauce

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  40. John says:

    It’s amazing how far we have developed as a society and yet still manage to maintain such a vast amount of ignorance.

    Yes, stop the vaccines. Lets see the return of small pox, measels, mumps…

    Parents you have an opportunity to innoculate your children against several types of cancer with the HPV vaccine. Let them miss out and when they get cervical or oropharyngeal cancer explain to them that you could have prevented their need for chemotherapy and radiation therapy, but you chose not to.

  41. Dorit Reiss says:

    Here, from Shot of Preventions, come the voices of the victim Ms. Couric neglected, those harmed by cervical cancer: http://shotofprevention.com/2013/12/05/victims-katie-couric-neglected-to-mention-in-her-discussion-of-hpv/

  42. Pingback: Guest Post: Preventing HPV and Treating Science Illiteracy | Must Love Science

  43. Pingback: Impact of Katie Couric’s misinformation on HPV vaccine in one image | Dr. Jen Gunter

  44. Pingback: Vaccination Court and Autism - Page 3

  45. Pingback: When “the other perspective” is crowded with morons, there’s no reason to offer them a platform - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money

  46. Pingback: Why We Fight Anti-Vaccinationism | Mike the Mad Biologist

  47. lilady says:

    Ooops. The first link I provided regarding Jasmine Renate’s Coroner’s Inquest and Shaw’s testimony is a pdf document from the Immunization Advisory Center, University of Auckland New Zealand.

    That pdf document can be located through an internet search:

    Commentary on coronial inquiry expert witness testimony

  48. Pingback: More on Katie Couric, who doubles down even as critical coverage grows « Red Wine & Apple Sauce

  49. RP says:

    The anti-choice crew can cite and scream all you like. But the fact is more and more people are opting out and the vast majority of the country can easily do so. At first, this movement to refuse was led by the affluent and educated, but now it cuts across many demographics. Why? Because the truth will always find it’s home and there’s nothing like your kids to motivate that search. You can’t stop the wave!

    • Chris says:

      “Because the truth will always find it’s home and there’s nothing like your kids to motivate that search.”

      Please, do give us the truth. Provide the PubMed indexed study by a qualified reputable researcher that the HPV vaccine causes more harm than the infections. That means causing at least ten thousand injuries to match the number cervical cancers diagnosed each year, and causing three thousand deaths.

      Also, please tell where HPV vaccines are “mandated.” I believe every parent has a choice to have their middle/high school aged kids get the HPV series.

  50. Pingback: RiskScience RISK BITES: Why vaccinate against HPV? - RiskScience

  51. RP says:

    Thanks for the exposure. You seem to connect the fact that I am not a lawyer to the notion that I have no idea about vaccines and the diseases they prevent. That makes no sense.
    Amazing that I would spend my energy on changing laws for my entire state- what a silly waste of time. Incredible also that I would want to bother protecting parent’s legal rights. Golly, I should just stay home and take care of the kids!
    Over half the population of the country has the ability to opt-out for reasons of philosophy (that means it’s easy). I guess all those lawmakers are just misguided dopes who don’t really understand the issue? Do all you anti-choicers think this freedom over one’s body is a bad idea? Any comments on CHOICE, site-citers? C’mon, I want some good responses, this is way too much fun.

    • Chris says:

      Does the state of New York require an HPV vaccine to attend high school? Really?

      Also, if you are upset that a school will not let a child attend who has not been vaccinated for pertussis, diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, polio and chicken pox… start your own school. Call it the Sanctuary from Public Health Policies School.

    • Chris says:

      Please show us where on the following document where the HPV vaccine is mentioned:

      Thank you.

  52. lilady says:

    (This should be good)

    What laws did you change in New York State?

    Were you able to get a “religious beliefs” exemption in New York State for your child(ren)?

  53. RP says:

    I have passed no laws. I have, however, stopped a number of bad mandates- mandatory Gardasil, STD shots for minors with no parental consent or knowledge, meninngococcal menningitis for 7th graders and college students, and a plethora bill back in o8. Is that ‘good’?
    You seem to know me, lilady. Coffee sometime? Or maybe I’m too germ-ridden? I’ve only had three vaccines in my life. Gosh, what a hazard.
    I never got my exemption. But once I said “no”, I never vaccinated again.
    Back to the question of choice, folks- so us Moms and Dads aren’t smart enough to make decisions that are in the best interest of our kids? Do you seriously believe that the mandates they put forth have everything to do with keeping us safe and nothing to do with money and politics? Why don’t you ask Jailbird Joe Brun0- the Senator in power when the pertussis was pushed on 6th graders- Joe was just being ‘nice’ to Wyeth.
    No one is reading this nonsense, so here I sign off. Have fun with your anger towards me- but you can’t stop this wave.

    • Chris says:

      RP: “I have passed no laws. I have, however, stopped a number of bad mandates- mandatory Gardasil, STD shots for minors with no parental consent or knowledge”

      Please tell us what New York law makes Gardasil mandatory.

      By the way, once teenagers get to a certain age, they can get the vaccines they want without parental permission. Especially if they are in college.

      I just want to know where they are mandatory, since I do not see it anywhere on http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2370.pdf . Where does it say that a child must have that vaccine to attend high school?

      And this article is not about the other diseases. But if you wish you can provide the PubMed indexed study by a reputable qualified researcher that those vaccines cause more harm than the diseases. Otherwise, please keep this discussion only Gardasil. Thank you.

    • Dorit Reiss says:

      I’m a little surprised that someone would be proud if they had, indeed, prevented vaccines against a disease as dangerous as meningococcal from children.

      As to parental choice – obviously, some parents make the wrong decision, and decide to deny their children the protection of vaccines in spite of the fact that the risks of not vaccinating, for children with no medical contraindications, are higher than the risks of vaccinating. You do not have to be stupid to make that mistake. It’s still an error.

  54. lilady says:

    RP: I only asked you “what laws you changed”, based on your statement…

    “Amazing that I would spend my energy on changing laws for my entire state- what a silly waste of time. Incredible also that I would want to bother protecting parent’s legal rights. Golly, I should just stay home and take care of the kids!”

    So, you are home schooling your children, because you “never vaccinated again” after your lame attempts to get a religious belief exemption.

    So…why are you selling your advice on your website if you failed to get a religious belief exemption?

    Somehow, I (strongly) doubt that you had any impact on the passage of NYS laws and NYS Health Department regulations.

    • Chris says:

      Off topic, but on the subject of NY public health issues. I am presently reading the autobiography of S. Josephine Baker. She was a medical doctor who worked for NY City’s public health department, and put in some policies that vastly improved children’s health early in the twentieth century. She was also part of the team that rounded up Typhoid Mary (which included Dr. Baker sitting on her!).

      I am just at the part where she has been hired by the Dept. of Health.

      It is called Fighting for Life, and republished by the New York Review of Books.

  55. Pingback: Katie Couric And Cervical Cancer Prevention With The HPV Vaccines, Gardasil And Cervarix | Families Fighting Cancer

  56. medicalevaluation says:

    HPV has not been proven to be a cause of cervical cancer; but only may co-exist with cervical cancer. Research as shown that HPV has been know to clear on its own even the high risk strains. Also, there is not enough long term data to show if the HPV vaccine is effective.

  57. NorthportMom says:

    This is not quite on topic, but thought I’d comment as a mother of a 24-year-old who was vaccinated and whose friends were vaccinated. Several of this group of young women have had abnormal pap smears and been identified as positive for HPV in the last year. They were immunized by their pediatricians and are being treated by their gynecologists. First, I wonder if the CDC is getting information about the extent to which the vaccine is not covering the possible appearance of replacement strains. Furthermore, I wonder whether the vaccine is as effective as promised against the strains it is supposed to cover. Is anyone doing post-vaccine monitoring, and how do we “consumers” get the information in a form we can use. Shame on Couric, by the way. Mothers in our village are so confused they don’t know who to get advice from. Many of them make the wrong choice and choose not to immunize their kids against deadly diseases that could kill a baby who is too young to be immunized. Our children had every vaccine, and no autism. I can generalize about that, and I do when I talk to young moms.

    • lilady says:

      Hi Northport Mom: The vaccine prevents the two strains that have been identified as causing 70 % of strains that cause cervical cancer; it does not eliminate (cure) young women who were infected prior to receiving the vaccine.

      As HPV vaccines are more widely accepted and administered, we will see “replacement” strains being reported, because HPV vaccines are protective against the two most prevalent strains.

      The safety of all vaccines that are licensed in the United States is constantly monitored by the CDC and its affiliates, including the Vaccine Safety Datalink. All those reports generated by the VSD are available on line:


      I hope that my post has answered some of your questions.

  58. HealthWise says:

    Never got vaccine, don’t need it. Yes, there are documented side effects and this article is written lazily. Of course Katie didn’t interview Dr. Diane Harper– Gardasil’s lead researcher, who diligently warns girls about side effects. 4,000 people died of cervical cancer last year. It is a RARE cancer, why so commercial? $$, thats why.

  59. Pingback: Harpocrates Speaks: Katie Couric Chooses Ratings Over Ethics

  60. Pingback: A License to Be Curious: an Interview with Seth Mnookin › Communication Breakdown

  61. Dee says:

    My daughter was perfectly healthy until she had the hpv vaccine. Two years later and she’s still suffering. Her symptoms appeared within two days of having the vaccine, open sores on her forehead and scalp, swollen glands, nose bleeds, dizziness, weight loss, hair loss, stomach aches, she started to have allergic reactions to foods and face products she’d been fine with before. Fatigue which has effected everything. The doctor thinks it is chronic fatigue syndrome just waiting for a diagnosis and she’s lucky if she has two weeks without picking up another virus. She picks everything up now.

    This was definitely caused by the hpv vaccine, it’s easy to say, oh it’s probably a coincidence but when it’s your child that’s suffering its a whole different story!

    • lilady says:

      So, your daughter’s physician’s tentative diagnosis is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but you, assume her symptoms are caused by hpv vaccine?

      Have you filed a report with the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)?

      Have you instituted a claim on behalf of your daughter with the United States Court of Federal Claims (Vaccine Court)?

      The plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data.

      • Dee says:


        Yes to your questions but I don’t assume the hpv vaccine caused her symptoms, I know. I watched it happen but I’m not interested in arguing that’s not why I posted. I just wanted people to know some children do react badly to vaccines. I know its a small percentage but it happens.

        All I know is the vaccine has changed my daughters life and it’s absolutely heartbreaking to watch.

        • lilady says:

          Make a claim on behalf of your daughter for her supposed vaccine injury. File the claim in the United States Court of Federal Claims (Vaccine Court).

  62. Jed Stamas says:

    Hi Seth, this is your brother-in-law, Jed. Interesting article, and well written. But the truth about vaccines is much more complicated than you make it out to be. There is another side to the issue. Not all vaccines present the same risks or benefits. Each vaccine must be evaluated independently. If one lumps them all into the same category, one is just as guilty of ignorance as those who oppose all vaccines.

    Last week, a medical doctor specializing in vaccines told me that the risk of death from the HPV vaccine is 1 in 25,000. The risk of having surgery as a result of HPV (with or without death) is 1 in 125,000. That means that one is 5 times more likely to die from the HPV vaccine than to be protected by it. Yet, this vaccine is being pushed on girls, and now boys, like it’s a good thing. Why?

    When I had this conversation, outside of a major hospital in Boston, I was advocating for a public health policy change regarding HIV in Africa. (Specifically, that the male circumcision programs are increasing the HIV rates, and killing babies.) I was not thinking about HPV at all. I met this doctor at random and he told me that he was an HPV vaccine researcher. He quoted these statistics and at first I did not believe him at all. It was strange; it seemed as though he did not want to divulge the information. But I pushed him. After clarifying the figures, I told him that if the ratios were reversed (that is, you are 5 times more likely to be protected than to die from the vaccine), then the vaccine might be an ethical public health policy. But given the statistics the researcher cited, there is absolutely no way that promoting the HPV vaccine could be an ethical or sensible public health policy. If more than five times as many people die from an iatrogenic cause, then the medical intervention itself is a much greater public health problem than HPV.

    My hypothesis is that the HPV vaccine is promoted out of the fear of STDs, which is related to a fear of one’s own sexuality. There exists a perception that dying as a result of an STD is “worse” than dying from an iatrogenic cause. When medicine kills you, somehow, that’s ok because doctors really care about people, and they have good intentions. Many doctors do care and have good intentions. But there are also some public health policy doctors making extremely unethical decisions, and then pushing those decisions on other doctors. This amounts to systematic fraud and malpractice in public health policy.

    I posted this information on facebook, and some of my friends called me a conspiracy theorist. Maybe this doctor himself was part of the conspiracy. Maybe he’s upset about the decisions that others are making, but going along with them anyway. In his defense, he is doing good by trying to make a less dangerous vaccine. But the “medical establishment” takes things out of research and development prematurely, then makes public policy decisions that promote the interventions as “magical cures.” It’s actually a type of pseudoscience — parading as actual science — that feeds itself through greed, money, and power.

    It’s fine to be skeptical, I was extremely skeptical myself when he talked to me. I hope he is wrong and the situation is not as bad as it seems to be. The problem is researchers’ own biases in favor of the interventions they advocate. They want to see themselves, and their work, succeed. This isn’t a bad thing, but there needs to be oversight. Unfortunately, the institutional review boards and politicians are not doing their jobs, and “selling out” to “special interests.”

    In conclusion, the vaccine issue is more complex than you make it out to be. If it is portrayed as a “political battle,” with only two sides, we all lose.

    • Seth Mnookin says:

      Jed —

      One more comment. If you really are posting this information — unsourced, inaccurate information that does, as your friends already seem to be telling you, qualify as an outlandish conspiracy theory — onto Facebook, that’s incredibly reckless. I hope you think twice about posting things that are not only wrong but send out a very dangerous message. These are true stories — not second-hand rumors — of women who suffered from cervical cancer. That’s a lot of needless suffering.

      And — and I really will stop after this — you should also think through the reasons you’re giving for why this conspiracy would exist. You write that the HPV vaccine is promoted out of the fear of our sexuality. A vaccine that prevents one of the most common types of STDs is not an abnegation of sexuality — it’s an acknowledgement of it. I’m not sure how you’d equate a healthy fear of contracting fatal, sexually transmitted diseases with an unhealthy fear of our sexuality.


  63. Seth Mnookin says:

    Jed —

    I have no idea where you are getting your information, but it is very, very wrong. There were 23 million doses of HPV administered in the US between 2006 (when it was licensed) and 2009 (when a big safety report was done). Out of those 23 million cases, there were 32 reports of death. (That is .0001%.) Crucially, not a single one of those cases was found to actually be attributable to the HPV vaccine. In every single one of those 32 cases in which there was an autopsy, death certificate, or ME report, the cause was found to be something obvious — heart failure, diabetes, illegal drugs, viral infection, etc. You can read the peer-reviewed study, conducted using enormous amounts of data, in the above link for the details.)

    The second part of what this supposed doctor told you also makes no sense. The risk in contracting HPV isn’t complications or death from an operation; it’s cancer. Every single year, thousands and thousands of women die from cervical cancer caused by HPV. These are wholly preventable deaths.

    It sounds like you’re getting information from someone who is irresponsible. I’d ask him/her where s/he is getting that information. It’s easy for someone to say, “Pssst, I’m a vaccine expert and guess what — vaccines are super dangerous and scary.” When people who say that are asked to provide actual data, however, the inaccuracy of those claims is inevitably revealed.

    There’s no doubt that the vaccine issue is complex; I’ve never argued any differently. But it’s not complex because of shadowy conspiracies or societal fears of sexuality. You end by writing that we shouldn’t portray this as a “political battle.” That’s not what I’m doing — I’m dealing with it as a scientific issue. You’re the one painting this in (completely inappropriate) political terms — i.e., politicians “selling out” to “special interests.”

    If the doctor who spoke to you is so confident about his claims, why doesn’t he post directly on the blog — and in doing so, cite his sources?



  64. Cooter says:

    Hi Seth, this is your third cousin twice removed, Cooter. The truth about vaccines is Josie Mae’s baby got the croup real bad about three months after her dip-tap shot, and that’s all I need to know!

  65. Pingback: Risk Science Center Why vaccinate against HPV? - Risk Science Center

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