Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vaccine hype

You may have heard about a death that occurred following a 14 year old being vaccinated for HPV. Novella talked on it. What is known now is that initial results suggest a underlying condition is the likely cause of death. It doesn't remove the treatment as a cause, in whole or part, but it points away. The trouble is the reaction of many in the media. A vaccine death! As one commenter I saw noted, you never see the front page stories about the woman who dies of the cervical cancer that could have been prevented. Too true.

Here are the numbers and reality.


Joe Albietz at SBM gives us the recent skinny of Gardasil safety, based upon recently published data. Here are the vital stats from the FDA:

“Every year, about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and almost 4,000 die from this disease in the United States.”

After distributing 23 million doses of Gardasil, there have been 772 serious adverse events reported, included 32 deaths. These are no greater than the background rate of reported events for a population this size.

In other words, safety monitoring of Gardasil has not revealed any pattern of excess deaths or serious outcome associated with the vaccine.

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