New study on HPV shots misses the point

Here's an urgent warning for anyone with a daughter or granddaughter and a vaccine-happy doctor pushing HPV shots: DON'T!

A new study claims the main vaccine used against HPV, Gardasil, is safe despite plenty of evidence to the contrary -- including years of reports of side effects that include everything from serious and permanent nerve disorders right up to death.

But the main thing you need to know about the study isn't the results, which are questionable at best. It's who paid for it: Merck, the makers of Gardasil.

Sounds like they got their money's worth.

Gardasil, as I'm sure you've heard by now, is often called the "cervical cancer vaccine" despite the fact that it doesn't actually protect against cervical cancer.

It only protects against some -- not all -- strains of HPV, the virus that causes the disease.

In the new study, researchers claimed the only risks of the shot were skin infections and fainting. And if that were true, the shot might be worth it even though it offers only limited protection.

But it's not true.

There have been literally thousands of serious adverse side effects linked to the shot and reported to the FDA -- including paralysis, temporary and permanent nerve damage, blindness, seizures, and even dozens of deaths.

Despite all those well-documented risks, there's been pressure on parents from every direction -- pressure from doctors, pressure from school districts, and even pressure from the government, all aimed at getting little girls vaccinated to "protect" them from HPV.

But you don't need a dangerous shot for that. In most cases, you don't need anything at all. Here are the three most important things every parent and grandparent should know about HPV prevention and protection:

  1. You can't get HPV without sexual contact, so it's critical to teach teens the importance of abstinence. Some parents laugh when I tell them this is the best vaccine of all. They tell me it's not realistic. I remind them that there are a number of sexually transmitted diseases that cannot be vaccinated against -- including HIV, gonorrhea, and syphilis, which can be deadly. Their chuckling soon stops.
  2. If you do get HPV -- and many people do, eventually -- your own body will take care of it 90 percent of the time, and this is according to the CDC's own numbers. No vaccine can match that success rate.
  3. A diet rich in cruciferous vegetables and vitamin E can help the body to beat HPV infections and even reduce the risk of the cervical dysplasia that can turn into cancer.

Finally, remember that even cervical cancer itself is detectable, treatable, and beatable. Pap smears may be uncomfortable, but they are safe and non-toxic -- unlike HPV shots.