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“How can the Prime Minister have missed the fact that at least 73,000 adverse events following the administration of the quadrivalent HPV vaccine, Gardasil, and that so many of these teenagers are still ill, and can’t go to school or play sport?”
Gardasil 9, the latest human papilloma virus vaccine, will be given to all Australian 12- and 13-year-old students beginning in 2018. The announcement that Gardasil 9 would replace the quadrivalent Gardasil was made by the Prime Minister at the North Bondi Surf Club.
That Malcolm Turnbull was involved in the ceremony surprised me, but clearly it illustrates the strong support the government has for the practice of vaccination. The spectacle is worth examining, firstly for the pageant itself and what it signifies along with the likely repercussions of this decision.
On a bright sunny day and surrounded by lifesavers from the local surf club, Malcolm Turnbull began the proceedings: “It is an extraordinary development, Australian medical science – it is, so many of those young boys and girls down there will be proofed throughout their whole lives from this virus that is of course the cause of cervical cancer and other cancers as well.”
Of course the choice of venue was deliberate. The news that a more potent HPV vaccine was now to be given to teenagers was announced at one of Australia’s most iconic beaches. Bronze surfers provided the important backdrop to Malcolm Turnbull as he purposely promoted the new human papilloma virus vaccine, claiming it was a vital new step in saving lives and “an example of the way in which we are keeping Australians safe and healthy, we are saving lives, the young lifesavers behind us, they’re getting ready to save lives on this beach.”
If the repercussions in the wake of HPV vaccines weren’t so tragic it would be comical. How can the Prime Minister have missed the fact that there have been at least 73,000 adverse events following the administration of the quadrivalent HPV vaccine, Gardasil, and that so many of these teenagers are still ill, and can’t go to school or play sport?
How can he talk about the value of ‘saving lives’ when he is endorsing this vaccine that is associated with thousands of adverse events leading to sustained illness in so many young people — people who were encouraged to have a vaccination for a disease they were most unlikely to ever get?
Nevertheless Turnbull’s ‘life saving’ announcement was praised by the media, who quoted the mantra of Suzanne Garland, the lead Australian author of a global trial published in The Lancet and funded by the drug’s manufacturer, Merck, which came to the unsurprising conclusion that the new HPV vaccine Gardasil 9 could prevent 90% of cervical cancers worldwide: “Here we have the additional five types, which means you have 93 per cent protection against cancer, so that’s an extra 23 per cent cover. It’s a real bonus, whereas we previously had protection for cancer-causing types, which were 16 and 18, which made up 70 per cent.”