Saturday, October 03, 2009

Cervical Cancer Vaccine Scare

As I was checking the links on my links page, to make sure there weren't any dead ones, I came across this story...

It started like this: Last week, on Sept 28, 2009 , Natalie Morton, a British 14-year-old girl died suddenly, just over an hour after having been given Cervarix, a vaccine against HPV (human papilloma virus) produced by GlaxoSmithKline (see video). 9 other girls reported feeling mildly ill. So GSK quickly recalled all the unused doses in the batch, while an autopsy and investigation began.

Obviously some chose to make the immediate link between the vaccine and her death. But then the autopsy showed that Natalie Morton, in fact, had a large malignant tumor in her heart and lungs. (Though this article claims the autopsy is just a cover-up.)

And then there's the question asked by Deborah Kotz (follow-up post) as to whether if a vaccine did indeed cause a single injury or death - does that deem it unsafe (DK's original post)? (Read the comments too, if you want to be really confused.) It makes sense to me that a vaccine would have to do more good than harm - if we consider 1.4 million girls who were vaccinated, how many of them were likely to die or suffer due to cervical cancer (if they had not been vaccinated)? I'm glad that it seems that Natalie's death was not caused by the vaccine - and I hope that somehow people will get the information needed to make the best decision for their daughters - and not be swayed by a single, terrible coincidence that linked the vaccine with death.

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