Your condemnation of the HPV vaccine Gardasil in two recent editorials may have been well-intentioned, but perhaps not so well-researched in that you’ve given a lot of credence to both a group known as the American College of Pediatricians (the ACP), which has an ideological bias to widespread use of the vaccine, as well as two researchers who are very well-known in the medical community as having a long-standing anti-vaccination bias and, more importantly, very poor scientific methodology in their research that they have had published in the past.
The end result is that you have relayed a message from these two sources that falsely sheds a very negative light on the vaccine, which is completely undeserved and has been refuted by many respected researchers and medical associations.
The ACP is NOT the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is a large, well-known association and respected for their research-based activities. The ACP is a very small splinter group that separated from the AAP because of a disagreement of the more permissive societal values of the larger association.
The ACP core values read like a textbook of socially conservative, religious right viewpoints: Abstinence until marriage. Opposed to homosexual parenting. Endorses disciplinary spanking by parents. Of course this group would try to find reason to call the HPV vaccine into doubt, as they still believe that use of this vaccine can lead to increased teenage promiscuity (this has been thoroughly debunked by good studies).
The ACP review of six case reports finding premature ovarian failure (POF) in women that had been immunized with Gardasil did not show causal relation between vaccine and POF and, indeed, was so tenuous that the ACP itself was not discouraging use of the vaccine at this time, because of its proven benefit of prevention of HPV infection and secondary cancer.
Which leads me to ask why the readership of this community paper should be faced with the rather bold, fear-mongering headline of “Want grandchildren? Say no to this vaccine”.
New science can only challenge the status quo of older studies when the newer research is of sound method, has been peer-reviewed and is done without bias.
The bottom line is that everyone should know that this vaccine is both safe and effective, and has been proven in numerous studies, and endorsed by the vast majority of medical practitioners and associations looking to the best interests of their patients.
J. Hildes MD