A friend, a young lady of college age, recently posted a link to this video on her Facebook page. It is the story of Gabrielle Swank, who has become very ill after receiving her third Gardasil vaccination. Aside from the obvious impact such a story would have on anyone; two particular aspects of it struck me very hard:
- Many Of Gabrielle's symptoms are very similar to mine; although hers are more severe and sudden in onset. I checked out some other stories and a similar list of symptoms emerges. Hmmmm.
- My daughter, Grace is nine years old. Very soon, I will face the Gardasil decision on her behalf. (Ugh)
So I decided to investigate Gardasil. Like you do. And to share my findings with you. Because there is a lot here and it is interesting, while at the same time; kind of scary:
The first thing I found out is this: Gardasil is the very first of a new breed of vaccine, which is manufactured by a completely different process than traditional vaccines have been. There are two new vaccines in a similar vein racing through the FDA as we speak: Cervarix, by GSK, another HPV vaccine and a direct competitor of Gardasil, and a new H1N1 "swine flu" vaccine by Novavax.
Hello, Big Red flag!
Traditional vaccines are made using a live virus, which you then put into the embryo of a developing hen's egg. You leave it for three days for the embryo to develop some more, replicating furiously and making new virus as it goes. Then you crack the egg, extract the virus, kill or disable it so it won't cause the actual disease, clean off the bits of dead chick, and voila! One single vaccine dose! So you can't make a vaccine without breaking some eggs. (idle thought: Do vegans get vaccinated? Hmmmm.)
Here is a video explaining the process.
There are several problems with this method: It is slow, labor intensive, expensive and is very dependent on the supply of chickens/eggs. Apparently they prefer to use young hens in their first laying season, then they "sacrifice" them before the next virus season, presumably rearing a batch of their offspring as a replacement. ('nother idle thought: You know, reading all this, I wondered how they would make an avian flu vaccine? What if the flock got infected with the bird flu virus? ...Or would that be a good thing, and save the trouble of introducing the virus to the eggs artificially?).
The Gardisil vaccine is made using a brand new process -long overdue- using something called VLPs, which stands for virus-like particles. I know, right: WTF is a virus-like particle? Well it is a fancy, state-of-the art piece of genetic engineering.
Best as I can understand; it works like this (this is my over-simplified and somewhat over-dramatized version, but it is not entirely inaccurate):
You take a virus, remove it's brains, and then put it in a little bath of yeast and nutrients. The virus will reconstitute itself into something mute that looks and walks and like a virus, but isn't technically a virus anymore. Therefore the name "Virus-Like particle".
I prefer to think of it as a Frankenvirus.
With the brains removed, the Frankenvirus cannot cause that specific illness,
but it can still reproduce (similar to many man I know, no brains, but ready to reproduce with anybody not fast enough to get away)! And so it does just that, merrily making more Frankenviruses without the lab needing to use any hen's eggs at all (and I bet all the vegans reading this are heaving a HUGE sigh of relief and queuing up to get Fraknenvirus injections...).
Because VLPs -or Frankenviruses as I now prefer to call them (it is less cold) LOOK very similar on the outside, the human body reacts to them as it would to a regular virus, generating antibodies and therefore immunity to the original virus. Apparently the process can be further tweaked, adding bells and whistles in the form of protein coatings that may trigger different immune responses in the "host" -which is the drug company's preferred term for "person" in this scenario (it is more cold).
Frankenvaccines are believed to be safer than traditional live or killed vaccines because there is no way they can inadvertently cause the illness for which they were designed. This all sounds very well and good.
But what about causing NEW illnesses? Did anyone think to check that one out? -Before Gardasil went into mass production on our next generation of mothers, I mean?
Yes, there were clinical trials, but this is brand new technology. There have been NO long-term trials -intended to be run "post-marketing" (i.e. we'll inject it into all of your little girls and let's see what happens!). I wonder how many parents were informed that the Gardisil vaccine that was being injected into their daughters was the very first product in a brand new generation of vaccine technology? Because that is information I would want to know, and I think I have a right to know it before I am guilted into making a snap decision in the pediatrician's office
As a former software person, I know that "version 1" of any product is usually loaded with bugs (pun intended). Every person in my business knows that you have to get to at least version 3 before they get most of the glitches out of the software. So generally, we install our new code on our colleague's computers befire our own (Really. it's mean, but we make an excuse and we do it).
The big th
ing about new software code (and presumably new vaccines and Frankenviruses), is that they may work just fine in the lab, but you never know what kind of conditions they may encounter out in the real world. W hen you release them into the world, there can be all sorts of actions, reactions and interactions with other entities and other ...stuff that you could not possibly have predicted under lab conditions.
...not to mention the long-term effects, which have not been studied at all.
Eventually, we iron out all the little glitches and we release a cleaned-up and safe product in version two or three.
Did the FDA, the doctors or ANYONE warn patients or parents that Gardasil is a 'version 1.0' -not just of a vaccine, but of a whole new technology and processing methodology? If anyone has been offered this vaccine, I would appreciate them letting me know if they were told this (thanks).
OK now to completely change the subject back to me for just a second.
I have been told I might have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). This was based on the fact that my system contains an abnormal number of antibodies against a virus. In my case, it is Epstein-Barr, but other cases of CFS have been linked to the HPV viruses. I was very struck by the fact -as I mentioned earlier, that many of the people who got sick after the Gardasil shot had very similar symptoms to mine. Scarily similar.
And this got me thinking -funnily enough (in light of earlier descriptions)- of chickens and eggs: Namely can CFS or a similar illness be caused by an immune response, rather than a viral infection? In other words, could a Frankenvirus, which cannot cause illness in itself, cause a different kind of illness by triggering an unexpected immune response in some individuals?
Good question, no? I wonder if anyone with any actual say in these matters has asked it?
..and I also wonder if IVIG or similar might help some of those girls and women who have had their lives destroyed by Gardasil?
Another big question surrounding Gardasil and other FrankenVaccines, -quite apart from the Frankenviruses therein, are the other additives, called adjuvants, which are chemicals added to the vaccine, supposedly to make the virus more effective. The main one used in Gardasil is approximately 225 mcg of aluminum (as Amorphous Aluminum Hydroxyphosphate Sulfate adjuvant). There have been many questions raised in the medical community, asking if this additive is really necessary? The Frankenvirus has been shown to work perfectly fine without it.
Gardasil is not the only HPV Frankenvaccine out there. Cervarix, which is GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) version, has been approved for use in the UK and parts of Europe. Cervarix only contains two Frankenviruses, (as opposed to Gardasil's four) but GSK have been bragging hugely about their adjuvant, known as AS04, saying it provoked an even better (i.e. stronger) immune response than Merck's boring old aluminum salt.
'scuse me, but is that a good thing? Just how much immune response can a body take before it goes into overdrive or starts to shut down?
The one death which had initially been linked to Cevarix, now turns out not to have been linked at all. The 14yo English girl who died had undiagnosed cancer, which had become quite widespread. OK fair enough, but I still think the shot thing was probably a bit more than a coincidence. What else had changed with her?
I don't want to create mass panic here. I know millions of girls and women have received the Gardasil shot and been fine.
But is their long-term health being monitored? How many have gone on to have babies? How ha v e those babies been? Really. Enquiring minds want to know:
What are the long-term effects of Frankenvaccines?
There have been thousands of serious adverse events reported and several deaths have been attrib uted to Gardasil. I don't think the FDA is looking at this as anything more than just another vaccine. I don't think the FDA has said to itself (as I would if I were in charge) "This is the very first in a brand new generation of vaccine technology and processes. We think we'll follow it up more closely than if it were a traditional vaccine". No. The FDA, the CDC, the AMA and everyone looking at the cost of cervical cancer treatment and are pushing hard for us to have our little girls injected with this stuff -which -let's face it- is to prevent against a sexually transmitted disease (it is NOT a cervical cancer vaccine. It is a HPV vaccine. Yes, HPV can and does cause cervical cancers, but HPV is transmitted sexually. How many NINE YEAR OLD GIRLS -other than the abused- are sexually active?).
Several things need to change : The FDA needs to instigate some kind of process to more actively monitor and follow up on brand new technology such as genetically engineered viruses and proprietary adjuvants. Currently, they only audit every two years. I would be more comfortable with every six months in cases like these. Sorry if that's a lot of extra work on an already-stretched agency, but the public needs to be protected.
But instead, the FDA is pushing through more and more Frankenvaccines. Cevarix is set to be approved any day now and a new H1N1 Frankenvaccine, developed by Novavax in Maryland, is being watched with interest. They were the first to put a swine flu Frankenvirus together after the CDC released the sequence, taking less than a month to do it. This is impressive and could change the whole face of the industry.
But at what potential human cost?
Frankenvaccines have only been in production for three years. They have NOT BEEN FULLY TESTED. The pharmacutical industry is forging ahead nonetheless. I did a little search on VLP patents which are in development or approved:
Over 3,800 of them, including at least one for HIV.
None of this is bad in itself. it would be great to have a safe and effective vaccine against HIV. However, I am reminded of the whole Thimerosal thing in the 90s, where vaccines were tested and approved individually, with no thought given to the overall load of virus and chemicals injected into tiny babies. This meant that many babies were injected with mercury at many times the adult recommended levels, because most of the vaccines contained it and no-one had done the math on the cumulative levels (It sounds unbelievable, but it is true. This is the kind of shit the FDA routinely overlooks).
Who is studying potential Frankenvaccine cumulative load and interactions with other Frankenvaccines, I wonder...?
I remember the 90s and it seems to me the whole Frankenvaccine issue - as it is currently playing out, has a much greater potential for interactions and adverse long-term effects than anyone in the pharmaceutical companies or the agencies that are supposed to regulate them are letting on.
So I won't be giving my kids a Frankenvaccine anytime soon. -especially in light of my own health problems. I already have some of the reported side-effects of Gardasil already, possibly due to my immune response to a different (non franken-) virus.
What if whatever I have is genetic?
Therefore, Grace will be "one less" person getting Gardasil.