Japan Halts HPV Shot for Girls over Safety Issues
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Japanese health officials have recorded nearly 2,000 adverse reactions—hundreds of them serious—in girls who got a dangerous U.S. government-backed cervical cancer vaccine that’s also been linked to thousands of debilitating side effects in this country.
The alarming reports have led Japan’s government to take action, suspending recommendation for the controversial vaccine which is billed as a miracle shot that can prevent certain strains of cervical cancer caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The U.S. government has taken the opposite approach amid equally alarming cases of serious side effects. Not only does the Obama administration continue recommending the vaccine (Gardasil), it spends large sums of taxpayer dollars promoting it and works hard to keep details involving its dangers secret.
Judicial Watch has reported extensively on this and uncovered droves of government records that show Gardasil has been linked to seizures, blindness, paralysis, speech problems, pancreatitis, short-term memory loss and dozens of deaths. Incredibly, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fast-tracked Gardasil’s approval and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends it for girls starting at age 9. JW has investigated the Gardasil scandal since 2007 and had to sue for the records in the face of Obama administration stonewalling. Read JW’s special report detailing Gardasil’s government approval process, side effects, safety concerns and marketing practices.
In Japan Gardasil’s disturbing side effects have been taken seriously by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (JMHLW), which has issued a warning to local governments that the HPV vaccine should not be recommended amid safety concerns. The information comes from a report issued this month by a Japanese internist and cardiologist, Dr. Sataro Sato, who reveals that the manufacturers’ own documents indicate the HPV vaccine may induce seizures and/or brain damage. Besides Gardasil, Dr. Sato also reviewed another brand called Cervarix.
Taking the U.S. government’s lead, the Japanese government pushed the vaccine countrywide, allocating 15 billion yen ($187.5 million) for “urgent HPV Vaccination programs” for girls ages 11 to 14. Officials visited junior high schools to advocate the effectiveness of the vaccine and persuade girls to get it. Municipal offices sent letters to families of girls in the targeted age group and the government stressed that the expensive vaccine (48,000 yen, $600, for three shots) would be free for only two years.
But health officials were taken aback with the high number of side effects reported to Japan’s Vaccine Adverse Reactions Review Committee. Since the government began offering girls HPV shots, 1,968 adverse events were reported, including 358 that were evaluated as serious by a JMLHW committee, Dr. Sato writes. Parents began calling the country’s health minister and furnishing videos in which girls who had received the HPV vaccine suffered from walking disturbances, body tics and seizures. In other cases many girls injected with the vaccine fell to the floor, injuring their head or face and some fracturing their jaw or teeth.
In mid-June Japan’s Vaccine Adverse Reactions Review Committee suspended recommendation for HPV vaccination, Dr. Sato’s report says. That same day health officials sent formal notifications to local governments saying that HPV vaccination should not be recommended until safety concerns got addressed by the appropriate agencies. American health officials, on the other hand, continue promoting it. In fact, weeks after Japan took action, the Obama administration dedicated $1.2 million to “increase HPV vaccine uptake in low income ethnic minority populations” in Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Armenian and Korean.