Sunday, May 27, 2007

New Controversy Over Cervical Cancer Vaccine

UPDATED: 6:03 pm PDT May 24, 2007 - The self-described conservative group called Judicial Watch publicized information today about 18 women who may have miscarried after getting the vaccine.

Critics of the group say the information comes at time when many States are deciding if the vaccine should be mandatory for schoolgirls.

Gardasil is the first Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.

"It’s recommended for all girls between ages 9 and 26," said OBGYN doctor Chrysten Cunningham.

She said evidence shows the vaccine is safe and effective "and because it's not a live virus you're not going to catch warts or cervical cancer from the vaccine."

But, 18 women who got the vaccine while pregnant reported to the FDA complications ranging from miscarriage to fetal abnormalities.

Since its introduction in 2006 Merck, the makers of the vaccine reported 5 million doses of Gardasil have been dispensed.

Of those, 136 women have had serious side effects including life- threatening immune responses. Eighteen have reported pregnancy complications, and 16 of those were miscarriages.

But Merck, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control all said they don't believe the vaccine caused the miscarriages, because loss of pregnancy often occurs naturally in the first trimester of pregnancy.

"Twenty-five percent of women will have a miscarriage during their reproductive life and 20 percent will have two miscarriages," said Dr. Cunningham.

Merck dismissed the pregnancy problems, but in a statement to the press said they do not recommend pregnant women get the vaccine.


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