How to Nip HPV Vaccine Mandates in the Bud: Lessons from Pennsylvania


MANY OF MY FELLOW sojourners on Facebook have thanked me for fighting back at the – read this slow – proposal to write a proposal for a mandate for HPV vaccination in Allegheny County, PA that the Allegheny County Board of Health (ACBH) was contemplating.  While it’s true I’ve been involved the spotlight really goes to the ladies of the local contingent of the Pennsylvanian Coalition for Informed Consent and the members of the general public who stood up and said #nohpvmandatePA.

I was invited to participate in a meeting w/these truth warriors and defenders of health rights, and I can attest that no board, no committee, no legislative body will ever succeed in mandating HPV in the Pennsylvania as long as they have to deal with this coalition.  They are organized, informed, dedicated, and, most importantly, growing.

My personal experience in this is consistent with my own growing awareness of passive-aggressive, bureaucratic, non-representational means of government that are being experimented with in all levels of regulatory government.  Rather than deal with issues that effect each and every Pennsylvania head-on with legislation that mandates HPV vaccines, the ACBH attempted one of three things (I’m still unsure of which of the three they were contemplating), outside the legislative process:

  • To mandate HPV vaccine in 11- and 12-yr olds prior to entering 7th grade
  • To consider writing a proposal recommending a mandatory HPV vaccination for 11- and 12-yr olds prior to entering 7th grade
  • To gather information on how the public feels about HPV mandates.

A series of public speakers offered their opinion.  NOT A SINGLE MEMBER OF THE LAY PUBLIC STOOD UP FOR MANDATORY VACCINATION.  The only people speaking up for mandatory vaccination were medical doctors.  And Dr. Lee Harrison, chair of the ACBH, who, in comparison to the 3-minutes given each member of the public, had to apologize for how long his presentation was during the Board’s discussion of the issue.

We’ll learn more about Dr. Harrison later, but for now, let me bullet point the issues that the lay public, and the scientist in the room, shared with the Board of Health.

A procedural inquiry was made on the fact that public speakers were only given 3 minutes; it also included an inquiry on whether mandating a vaccine was overreach on the part of the board.  The person providing this procedural inquiry had asked if she could make the inquiry, and then give public comment, and was told yes.  When she began her inquiry, she was interrupted and informed that her procedural inquiry was in fact going to be taken as public comment.  Thus, she forfeited her 3 minutes for her public comment.

The board never answered her questions during the public comment session; however, we learned later (from the Board Member who identified herself as Constitutional Lawyer) that if the ACBH votes on a new policy, that there must be public HEARINGS, at which case any member of the public has as long as they need, and can make presentations, etc…

Other speakers addressed or had previously addressed the following concerns:

  • The Board is an appointed, not an elected body – NO VACCINATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION;
  • 48 states have NO MANDATE for HPV vaccine;
  • Countries like Japan and Denmark have stopped recommending HPV vaccine altogether due to safety concerns;
  • VAERS data shows large numbers of HPV-vaccine induced injuries;
  • Two statements from medical doctors (read by PCIC members) that such a mandate goes against everything that medicine stands for;
  • No science has shown that HPV vaccine prevents cancer;
  •  A mom (wearing a VAXXED shirt) told the story of her vaccine-injured child, and told the Board about the ongoing Congressional inquiry into Dr. William Thompson, who revealed that the CDC altered the results (by omission) of a study to make the public think that vaccines were safer than they are.

My own points were that I’d already provided the Board with studies that show type replacement occurs, and that a Dr. Miriam Cremer claimed in an editorial at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that my reports of type replacement (whereby rare, potentially more lethal HPV types replace those targeted by the vaccine) were “absolutely false”.  Evidence of Dr. Cremer’s conflicts of interest as receiving funds directly from Merck over the years were handed to the ACBH.  I told that board that since we last met, another study had come out showing type replacement, and informed them that I had emailed them the study for their review earlier in the morning.

I urged them (again) to not dismiss parents’ reports of HPV and vaccine-related injuries; I asked them if they know how it sounds to a parent to hear that their observations are not proof of cause:

“It sounds like this: If a parent says, look, I saw my child get hit by truck, and you say to them ‘We know you saw the truck hit your child, and you have the license plate, and make and model of the truck, but correlation does not imply causation'” (Thanks Ali! for sharing this analogy).

I reminded them that according to the American Cancer Society, throat cancers have been DECLINING at a rate of 2-3% percent per year due to larger numbers of people quitting smoking.

A doctor absent from the proceeding whose name had been called clearly waited to be the last speaker – another trick to try to carry the issue.  It didn’t work.

During the Board’s discussion, Dr. Lee Harrison, the Chair, gave a presentation on “HPV and HPV Vaccines”.  He took this opportunity to try to (emphasis TRY TO) ‘clarify’ some ‘misconceptions’ about HPV vaccines. After revealing that he has no conflict of interest with “HPV Vaccines” specifically, he did NOT reveal whether he had any COIs with companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell vaccines.

He then leisurely told the Board and the room that yes, 95% of the cases of HPV virus cleared within the first two years.  But, he said, those are not the patients we care about.

Really?  You’re trying to mandate a vaccine to 100% of students, 95% of whom do not need it.  And you don’t care about those 95%.  Or their risks of adverse events.   Got it.  You said, it, Dr. Harrison, YOU DON’T CARE about them.

He admitted type replacement is real. He said that type replacement is not a valid scientific reason not to vaccinate because they can always add more types to future vaccines if it happens.  He ignored, of course the fact that their “information campaign” says that HPV vaccination will protect you from “HPV infection” and “cervical cancer”, causing young people to engage in riskier sex behaviors, leading to type replacement and increased risk of cervical cancer once they are infected with the rarer types.  He showed that vaccination of those already infected is not efficacious, but failed to realize or show that therefore partial immunization NOW will make FUTURE vaccines ineffective once type replacement occurs.  He did NOT report that CDC’s own data shows NO NET CHANGE in overall HPV infection rates after the vaccines came on the market. He tried to say that type replacement did not appear to occur in HPV because the study (uncited, no references, I presume he means Markowitz et al. (2016) did not find significant changes in the increase of many individual HPV types.  How ridiculous that he did NOT report the full results of that study which showed NO NET CHANGE in OVERALL infection.

There are two ways to have NO NET CHANGE  in OVERALL infection rates in the Markowitz et al. study: (1) low power in the individual univariate tests for individual types, and (2) type replacement.  They are not mutually exclusive.  But Dr. Harrison did not report that finding from the CDC, thus misleading the Board and the public on type replacement.  He also did not cite ANY of the studies which I had sent to the ACBH that show type replacement and find that yes, rarer, more lethal types increase in the population as a result of HPV vaccination.

His presentation was completely one-sided; while he reviewed the side effects of HPV vaccine, and stressed how syncope can be serious (“they fall like rocks”) he did not mention that some kids die after HPV due to car accidents caused by syncope.

He reviewed the clinical research on HPV-4 vs. ‘alum’, and tried to explain that the adjuvant placebo comparison was sufficient.  It clearly was not: aluminum is a serious neurotoxin, and the HPV-4 study result he focused on (alum vs. HPV-4) could not possibly represent a safety test of HPV-4 because that result did not include the effects of aluminum.

He then presented results of HPV-9 vs. HPV-4… which are irrelevant because the question at hand is not to mandate that HPV-4 vaccinated people be upgraded to HPV-9, but rather should HPV-vaccine naive people be given HPV-9.  So no science was presented on vaccinated vs. unvaccinated for safety and efficacy.

Their was public outcry for the lack of fairness that the CDC (I mean, Dr. Harrison) got as much time as he wanted, and the public only had 3 minutes, on a topic that COULD HAVE gone to a vote.

Dr. Lee Harrison?

So who is Dr. Lee Harrison?  Dr. Harrison is a member of CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).  That’s right.  Our COUNTY board has a member of the CDC’s ACIP driving and pushing for an HPV vaccine mandate.

Dr. Harrison incorrectly claimed and thus misinformed the public that Pharma pays for the cost of findings of harm by the Vaccine Claims/Office of Special Masters  .  Each vaccine has a $0.75 to $1.50 tax levied upon the taxpayers for the $3 billion dollars that have been so far paid out for vaccine injury award by the ‘Vaccine Court’.

Dr. Harrison’s incomplete disclosure of non-HPV vaccine conflicts of interest is a matter of deep concern, and they are being looked into.

After the CDC’s (Dr. Harrison’s) presentation to the Board, a motion was made by a board member to consider a second option for a PR campaign to increase HPV vaccine uptake (the specific wording will be provided here soon).  A board member made the comment that he was very touched by the parents’ stories of vaccine injuries, and that he was amazed that, outside of this room, many parents came to him who were pro-vaccine, but against the mandate. Another board member, Dr. Donald Burke, Dean of the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, wondered if the Board could find a way to interface with the concerned public as part of the motion to approve action on a PR campaign.  Dr. Burke’s had to repeat his statement three times for clarification, and I noticed that initially he said “vaccine efficacy and risk” but that changed to “vaccine efficacy and safety“.

The Constitutional Lawyer on the Board inquired of a third option altogether, to hold public hearings to hear the parents out on their concern. That option was not further commented on, as Dr. Harrison pointed to the screen and said (paraphrasing now) that he thought they should focus on the two options on the screen.  He was clearly on  a mission to have one of the two options move forward.

Not that these two ideas were the only floated. Among other comments, the idea came forward that the administrative group that assists the ACBH propose a plan to the Board on how to increase HPV vaccine uptake via an informational program (again, the precise wording here awaits the minutes).

It was clear that the vote for this option was an option to avoid voting on either the other two options.

A board member made another proposal (at the suggestion of a doctor from the audience) that the issuing of a mandate be changed to issuing a recommendation.

At that point, I stood, and offered the following:

“Excuse me board, but you have a procedural inquiry from a lady (turning, motioning to Janet Cook) that was given to you during the public comment session.  She told you it was a procedural inquiry, and you told her it was  public comment.  She forfeited her three minutes of public comment to provide you the procedural inquiry, and I recommend that you see it as such”.

The idea to vote on a recommendation of HPV vaccination did not move further.

The Board did discuss in areas of high HPV vaccine uptake, what seemed to work other than mandate.  The answer was unclear – but we did learn that “high” HPV vaccine uptake was not >60% (females, I presume, males are always lower).

We must be clear on this: the Board did not vote to not mandate  They voted to have their administrative group devise a plan to promote the public’s awareness of the benefits of HPV vaccination – a PR campaign, essentially – which if it comes to a vote can be countered with the fact the Merck does not need help promoting its products.  They already have an ad running under fire for being emotionally manipulative and for making unfounded claims (see the FTC Petition to nail Merck for this infamous ad).

Further discussion of having the administrative group draw up a plan for educating the public included one comment from a board member who stated that plan could also be to mandate.

The Board voted for the plan to have the administrative group propose a plan to the committee, and all but one (the Constitutional Lawyer) voted against.

What’s my take-away?  There are a few:

(A) The ACBH has been coapted by a representative from Pharma – Dr. Lee Harrison – to try to (a) get a mandate through, or (b) use County funds to create and advertise for Pharma products.

(B) By my count, the Board never had the votes for a mandate.

(C) The administrative group’s proposal will be a target of high interest and intense scrutiny.  No County funds should pay for Merck’s advertising campaigns.

(D) We have a lot to do to educate the Board members of what they science REALLY says.  Dr. Lee’s biased and incorrect representation of the science left out key findings from the CDC study that showed no NET CHANGE IN OVERALL INFECTION RATES of HPV infection before and after the product came to market, and he should in my view be reprimanded for cherry-picking not only the studies he brought forward but also in cherry-picking the results to show.  He did not provide references.

(E) This “victory” was a battle victory.  The war is not yet won. Clearly this means that the work of groups like PCIC, those in the VAXXED community, the NVIC, and researchers looking at the totality of the data at IPAK, MUST continue.  The Board COUNTED the emails for, and against, and noted whether the email authors noted their place of residence.  PEOPLE’S VOICES MATTER.  Call, fax, email on your concerns – and find others who will email, too.

(F) In my view, the most effective strategies were massive email campaign to the Board and PEOPLE showing up for the public comment sessions:

#1. Parent’s statements of their child’s vaccine injuries.

#2. Statistics on vaccine injuries.

#3. Moving the discussion toward conflicts of interest.

#4. Statements from doctors on how egregious a mandate for this vaccine would be (see Kristi Weess public comments, below).

#5. The rest of the science (esp. inefficacy due to type replacement and the fact that there is a drug (Ranpirnase) that COMPLETELY clears the virus from infected individuals.  If 95% of people clear it without any treatment, and the rest can be readily treated without surgery, why vaccinate?

Residents of Allegheny County have a lot of people to thank for showing up.  This includes Kristi Wees, Alison Mullins, Alison Fujito, A.R., Janet Cook, Jessica Fitzgerald, Michelle Sprague, and Erin Rogers.  And of course Kelly Sotomayor, who had shared the story of her daughter with A.R. to share w/the Board. There are others whose input has been critical to causes the Board to reconsider mandating this unnecessary vaccine.

Of course I am grateful to the VAXXED team, especially Del Bigtree and Polly Tommey, who interviewed me on this issue during their Pittsburgh stop.  They have a huge ROAD TRIP planned, a BUS TOUR, so watch for that!

Some Public Comments

Here are the  comments by Kristi Wees:

“Hello and thank you to the Board of Health for allowing me to comment today.

My name is Kristi Wees, I am a resident of Allegheny County, and I am here today as an informed citizen and concerned mother. My educational training is in chemistry and I hold a Master’s degree from UCLA and a Bachelor’s degree from Penn State.

Because of our family’s personal experience witnessing our daughter’s health steadily decline after each well baby visit and round of childhood vaccines, we embarked on a journey to find out what was ailing our sweet baby girl. That journey led us to the research that has been conducted by Dr. Derrick Lonsdale, in the specific field of thiamine deficiency.

Derrick Lonsdale M.D., is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP), American College of Nutrition (FACN), the American College for Advancement in Medicine (FACAM). Though he is now retired, Dr. Lonsdale was a practitioner in pediatrics at the Cleveland Clinic for 20 years and was Head of the Section of Biochemical Genetics. Dr. Lonsdale has written over 100 published papers and 3 books.

Dr. Lonsdale has provided me with this letter he wrote for today’s meeting and has given me permission to read it on his behalf.

From Dr. Lonsdale-

“To whom it may concern,

Report by Derrick Lonsdale M.D. FAAP Associate Emeritus, Cleveland clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio.

In 2013 I became aware of five adolescents with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) initiated immediately after the Gardasil vaccine, all of whom had been crippled by the disease for several years. All of them were reported to be superior athletes and students before they received the vaccine. Genomic analysis had shown that all five of these adolescents had minor changes in their DNA that put them at serious risk for thiamine deficiency, precipitated by the stress of the vaccine. The frequency of the genetic risk factors is unknown. By themselves they appear to be relatively harmless. POTS following the HPV vaccination has been reported in the European Journal of Neurology (Blitsheyn S. Postural tachycardia syndrome following human papilloma virus vaccination. Eur J Neurol 2014; 21 (1): 135-9).

Gardasil is a yeast based vaccine using a yeast that contains an enzyme that destroys thiamine. Superior individuals have a superior energy requirement that is governed by the presence of thiamine. If they have a genetic risk, the symptoms of POTS are identical to those of early beriberi, the classic vitamin B1 deficiency disease. The stress of the vaccine, imposed on a genetically determined risk for incurring thiamine deficiency, may be crippling “the brightest and the best”. Considering that there are thousands of adolescents in America, Denmark and Japan with post Gardasil POTS, this incidence needs to be compared with the expected incidence of cancer of the cervix in unvaccinated individuals. Research is urgently needed.”

End of Dr. Lonsdale’s comments

Based on my own experience with my daughter, and with the call for more research into these risk factors by Dr. Lonsdale, I strongly oppose any mandates of the HPV vaccine. There is NO testing being done on the recipients of the vaccine before this vaccine is given. There is no way to know by looking at a person, if they are genetically susceptible to vaccine injury. In my opinion, if you know a vaccine may cause harm to some and you mandate that every person get that vaccine, then you are not upholding a fundamental precept of bioethics taught in medical schools nation-wide, and that is to “first do NO harm”.”

“Hello, my name is Amy Rafferty. I want to mention that I have no vested interest in the HPV vaccine as I do not profit from, nor do I work for someone who profits from, the manufacture, distribution or sale of vaccinations.
I am appalled that the Allegheny County Health Department and Health Board would even consider mandating this controversial vaccine. HPV9 is new to the market and has not established a safety record or success rate in the population yet. I have not heard one doctor quote any research study that proves that this vaccine prevents cancer.
HPV is not a communicable disease and, therefore, will not be spread in a school setting.

So, why make this vaccine mandatory for school attendance? There is obviously not a health emergency in the county either, as throat cancer is on the decline because fewer people are smoking now according to the American Cancer Society. Cervical and uterine cancer combined only make up two tenths of one percent of all deaths in Allegheny County and one percent of all cancer deaths in Allegheny County, according to the Pennsylvania Health Department EDDIE database. This is certainly not an emergency.

Let’s see what other state and federal health Departments think of this vaccine. The country of Japan has stopped recommending the HPV vaccine due to numerous deaths and serious adverse reactions. Japan, Spain, France, Denmark and India join a growing list of countries in which criminal lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of the HPV vaccine claiming fraudulent and misleading safety information.

Right now, there are 48 states that have chosen NOT to include this vaccine in their state’s list of mandated vaccines.

Allegheny County is the ONLY COUNTY in the USA to ever consider mandating the HPV vaccine. That’s a pretty bold attempt and over-reach for an unelected, unaccountable group of officials, wouldn’t you say? Is the county prepared to deal with the large number of preteen deaths and vaccine injuries that have resulted in each of the other states and countries that have mandated this HPV vaccine?

Who is footing the bill for those who cannot afford this vaccine? This vaccine is the most expensive vaccine of all, costing $450-$500 for a complete set. With approximately 25,500 students in 5th and 6th grade in the county, it will cost $12,748,000. Merck will profit greatly from this mandate.

Since vaccination is a medical procedure carrying risk, Parents need to make the decision, with input from their doctor, on whether or not to have their child receive this controversial HPV vaccination.

I’d appreciate it if any doctors or medical personnel speaking today would use research when saying that the HPV vaccine prevents cancer because I have not found any nor have the people on my team.

I would appreciate it if anyone saying there are no serious adverse event or deaths from this vaccine, to look the parents in this room in the eye, whose daughters have been crippled for years since they got this vaccine.

Thank you for your time.”

You can listen to the HPV vaccine mandate public comments here.


Sign the petition to the FTC to nail Merck for false advertising!




  1. Hey Doc! Great job to all!
    I left a comment but I’m not seeing that it posted.
    I wanted to tell you that Indiana actually did attempt to mandate the HPV vaccine a decade ago, prior to FDA approval #Fail
    Indiana is a virtual test ground for overreach at best and medical tyranny at worst.
    Just last session an unprecedented bill was introduced to mandate 8 vaccines for healthcare workers in our state, we were proud mandate slayers. #Fail
    We discovered another bill that escaped our notice, that luckily died in committee. This bill wanted to circumvent the legislative process, which would have been #VaccinationWithoutRepresentation
    by authorizing the health department to insert code/regulations into law for Standing Orders for ‘preventative medicine’ (update your keyword search while scouring bills for treachery), or VACCINES.
    There is no mystery as to why Indiana is a testing ground for overreach and medical tyranny. Eli Lilly (Thimeresol) is nestled comfortably in the heartland right here in the Capitol city, Indianapolis. It was no surprise to find Million$ of Lilly dollars in the pockets of our lawmakers.
    We will continue slaying such bills and proposals in the future, in that you can rest assured. 💜

  2. Rock on! This is incredibly helpful as there will be many more battles to come. Thank you for sharing. Many of us are likely to face similar obstacles and will need to be armed with information like this.

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