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Gardasil: Fast-Tracked and Flawed. Helen Lobato.

November 11, 2017

Gardasil: Fast-Tracked and Flawed. Helen Lobato.  Melbourne, Australia: Spinifex Press, 2017.

4 stars

A valuable critique of how Big Pharma has pushed a dangerous vaccination that has gotten governmental support for its widespread use on teenagers without adequate conceptualization, testing, or honest information about its risk.

Spinifex is a wonderful feminist press in Australia with a mission to publish exciting fiction and non-fiction on controversial issues.  Anyone interested in the facts behind women’s contemporary issues will profit from keeping up with their publications.  For them, “publishing remains political.”   Helen Lobato is an Australian critical care nurse and independent activist who has researched and spoken on women’s medical issues. She has a degree in Media Studies and hosts radio programs centering on women’s affairs and health.  She writes about a complex topic with clarity and abundant research.

Lobato sees a cluster of related mistakes that have been made relating to this controversial vaccine said to eradicate cervical cancer. The idea that HVP virus is sexually transmitted has been disproven.  There is no good evidence that the HVP virus is even connected to cervical cancer.  Even the idea that cancer is essentially a virus is now being questioned.  There is no way to prove that the vaccine will prevent cancer which would only occur decades in the future.   In developed nations, pap smears are a reasonable method for identifying and dealing with cervical cancer, a disease that is declining even where vaccination is not offered.  The impact of environmental factors such as poverty and malnutrition as contributing factors needs to be considered when evaluating trial results.

Another set of problems that Lobato identifies is that very real harm that has happened to some of those girls and boys who have been vaccinated.  Positive media excitement over this drug has been widespread, and governments have given it out for free in schools.  Parents and those receiving the drug cannot make “informed consent” when information about the possibility that it is not effective and the risks it poses have been withheld.  The stories of those who has died or become seriously and irreversibly ill are extremely moving.

I am particularly sensitive to the young people who have been hurt by this vaccine. I have a weird medical history of surprising and dangerous reactions to drugs that do not cause such reactions in others.  Unsurprisingly, my immune and neurological systems and my brain have been affected.  I share Lobato’s concern that we must stop letting Big Pharma get away with such irresponsible actions.

This book is not a screed against vaccination.  Instead Lobato provides an important case study in what Big Pharma has done to increase profits while putting others at risk.  Her account is primarily about what happened in Australia.  Because the problem is global, she includes data from many countries.  Merck, on whom she focuses, is an American based company.   I see no reason to doubt her account, but even if you disagree with her, you need to know and address her concerns about this drug and the way in which international power brokers threaten all of us.  It is our responsibility as good citizens to expose and stop international corporations from controlling our lives.

This book should be read by all who care about knowing what the take-over of global power means for those being put at risk—in this case young teenagers.

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