Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry
When Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., raised the Gardasil question to Texas Gov. Rick Perry during the GOP presidential debates, the old-stream media immediately attacked her for holding an unseemly position: That the vaccine potentially was dangerous and certainly should not be imposed by the government on young girls.
The Bachmann attack “may be hurting her considerably more than him,” stated the International Business Times, citing her narrative about a mother who complained the treatment had injured her daughter. “Bachmann did not offer any scientific evidence to suggest there is actually a viable link between Gardasil and mental retardation.”
The report said, “Of the 35 million doses of Gardasil distributed in the U.S., only about 0.05 percent of individuals who have been vaccinated have reported some kind of side effect, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mental retardation was not one of them.”
The Washington Post joined the criticism, saying, “Her offense quickly turned to defense when her comments were criticized by an extremely long list of groups and people, including Rush Limbaugh, the Washington Post editorial board, Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control.
“In the wake of Bachmann’s comments,” the report continued, “there doesn’t seem to be a rush of stories questioning the safety of Gardasil. There appears to be only one such story: a WISH-TV Indianapolis report about Zeda Pingel, whose mother claims she’s suffered health problems after being vaccinated.”
The Student Life publication at Washington University accused Bachmann of making verbal gaffes.
“The virus itself is the most common sexually transmitted infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control, some 50 percent of sexually active American adults will contract HPV during their lifetimes. HPV is a very real problem, and this vaccine can help prevent its spread.
“With women comprising half our population, that this claim, which can do nothing but hurt women’s health, was made is concerning,” the group said.
But it sounds so different when you refer to a paltry 0.05 percent of a large number of people rather than explaining just what happened to the 17,500 individuals who have suffered side effects like Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Bell’s Palsy and even death.
The election campaign issue is that Perry issued an executive order requiring young girls in Texas to be given the vaccine. He did allow an opt-out procedure, and his order was countermanded by the state legislature before the inoculations began.
But Bachmann, who has raised her own children as well as acted as a foster parent for dozens more, said the issue is liberty and whether the government should control the lives of its citizens.
In the debate, she said Perry’s act was “a violation of liberty interests.”
“We cannot forget in the midst of this executive order, there was a big drug company that made millions of dollars because of this mandate,” she continued. “Is it about life or about millions of dollars for a drug company?”
Perry said the donation from the vaccine maker, Merck, was only $5,000 and he was insulted if Bachmann was suggesting he could be “bought for $5,000.”
“I’m offended for all the little girls who didn’t have a choice. That’s what I’m offended for,” she responded.
Neither the Bachmann nor the Perry campaigns returned WND requests for comment today.
But critics of Perry point out that the vaccine is supposed to address a disease only transmitted by sexual activity, and the issue isn’t the mundane, clinical argument that Gardasil supporters portray.
“What they are not telling you is that thousands of girls are having adverse reactions to the HPV vaccines, some have even died – at last count, at least 103 lives have been lost. We have got to do something about this. These girls need our help! These girls are having reactions such as; seizures, strokes, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, headaches, stomach pains, vomiting, muscle pain and weakness, joint pain, auto-immune problems, chest pains, hair loss, appetite loss, personality changes, insomnia, hand/leg tremors, arm/leg weakness, shortness of breath, heart problems, paralysis, itching, rashes, swelling, aching muscles, pelvic pain, nerve pain, menstrual cycle changes, fainting, swollen lymph nodes, night sweats, nausea, temporary vision/hearing loss just to name some of them!”
The case of a 19-year-old woman who was given Gardasil and reported, “Headache, nausea, dizziness, chilling, tiredness, shortness of breath, complained of chest pain, severe cramps.” She died of “acute cardiac arrhythmia.”
A 13-year-old girl was vaccinated and, 10 days later, developed fever. According to federal reports she “did not recover and was admitted to the hospital. … She developed dyspnoea and went into a coma … she expired [that day].”
And a 10-year-old developed “progressive loss of strength in lower and upper extremities almost totally … nerve conduction studies [showed Guillain-Barre syndrome].” The case was considered “immediately life-threatening.”
Those reports have been monitored over the years by Judicial Watch, a Washington watchdog corruption fighter, since the drug’s approval by the Food and Drug Administration
“To say Gardasil has a suspect safety record is a big understatement. These reports are troubling and show that the FDA and other public-health authorities may be asleep at the switch,” Tom Fitton, president of the organization, told WND when the death and injury reports were arriving.
It was in 2008 when Judicial Watch obtained documents from the FDA documenting “anaphylactic shock,” “foaming at mouth,” “grand mal convulsion,” “coma” and “now paralyzed” descriptions of the complications from Gardasil. The drug is intended to address the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, believed by researchers to be an indicator for future cases of cervical cancer. The company wanted it to be mandatory for all schoolgirls.
The federal reports document some three dozen deaths in the United States, although an activist organization claims there have been almost 70 deaths, nearly 800 “serious” reactions and thousands of minor reactions.
Merck spokeswoman Jennifer Allen Woodruff told WND that the drug addresses a medical need, that of reducing the rates of HPV.
She said it has been approved widely around the world, with 120 countries having examined and approved its use.
“Nothing is more important to Merck than the safety of our vaccines and those who use them,” she said. “The facts about Gardasil are clear and its efficacy and safety … were established.”
She declined to say that Merck had not lobbied state lawmakers for laws that would force the vaccine on children and families, instead offering that the company focused on lobbying efforts regarding the “potential school requirements” in some states.
She said the company’s goal was simply to provide information to those who made such decisions.
However, the vaccine has had a few bumps. Agence France-Presse reported in 2009 that Spanish authorities withdrew tens of thousands of doses of the vaccine when two teen girls were hospitalized.
In the United Kingdom, an investigation was launched after two young girls died following their injections of the drug.
“The problem is when government officials or legislators order parents and require schools to give vaccines that are unproven.”
LifeNews reported that Perry has acknowledged that the administrative order he issued was a mistake.
“I signed an executive order that allowed for an opt-out, but the fact of the matter is I didn’t do my research well enough to understand that we needed to have a substantial conversation with our citizenry,” he said. “I hate cancer.”
“Mandatory vaccination against HPV is unsupportable. HPV is not communicable in a school setting – it is communicated only by sexual contact. The condition human papilloma virus (HPV) is present in 50 percent of the sexually active population. HPV does NOT automatically develop into cancer in the overwhelming majority of the population. HPV is mostly benign – no treatment needed,” the organization said.
“Furthermore, early detection of pre-cancerous cervical cells is readily accomplished by routine PAP smears – which sexually active women in the US routinely have. And pre-cancerous cervical condition is eminently treatable.
“Therefore, cervical cancer does not pose a major danger for all children – therefore, the risk from the vaccine itself is not justifiable,” the group said.
WND previously reported when even the Centers for Disease Control told Merck to “back off” on its aggressive campaign to require children to be given the vaccine.