If you live in Pittsburgh, I’m sure you’ve heard the terrible news that Marty Griffin has developed throat cancer and is undergoing seven weeks of grueling chemotherapy treatment. Marty is a well-known media (radio) personality. Many of you may also have heard Marty on the air recently imploring parents to have their 14-year old daughters and sons vaccinated with Gardasil-9, Merck’s HPV vaccine (see CBS News). I am writing this open greetings and well-wishes to Marty because I am deeply concerned he has been misled into a campaign that I am fairly sure he would not want to be part of if he knew the reality of the state of HPV vaccine science, and that his medical condition is being used by vested parties as fodder for a campaign to renew a push for mandatory HPV vaccination.
I am so terribly sorry to learn about your cancer, and it must be frightening especially after the recent loss of your co-worker. Cancer’s a bitch. Lost my mom to breast cancer when I was 5 years old; lost two cousins to breast cancer when they were each 25. Many people don’t know this, but I’ve acted as patient advocate over the years for a dozen or so cancer patients of many different types, interpreting the sci-lingo for them. I was reluctant to write this to you as you endure with your chemo treatments, but I feel compelled to reach out in good faith because I suspect you would want to know.
I’ve been told that you are working overtime to get a message out that you feel is very important – specifically that parents should opt for their teens to accept Gardisil-9, the HPV vaccine. I’ve also been told that bad news about the vaccine is not something you particularly want to hear about or discuss, but there are a few major points worth looking into.
Safety of the HPV Vaccine is “Unknown”, not “Known”
First, there is no such thing as a drug, or medical procedure, or medical device that is 100% safe. That means that some people will have serious adverse events to vaccines. We are told the rate of serious adverse events from vaccines in general is rare, and we are told the same about the HPV vaccine. I’m sorry to inform you, Marty, that we do not have any realistic or reliable estimate of the number of serious adverse events from vaccines, for the following reasons:
(1) Medical doctors are supposed to report serious adverse events to a database called VAERS – by law – but there is no penalty for them for failing to report a vaccine serious adverse event.
(2) VAERS is unreliable in part due to underreporting. A Harvard-Pilgrim report of an automated VAERS system reported that only 1% of vaccine adverse events are captured because their system caught 100-fold more. When CDC was informed of this fact, they stopped returning the developers’ phone calls – after paying them over $1.2 million to develop the automated system.
(3) Information in VAERS can be reported by anyone, and thus causality cannot be established. In fact, all VAERS users must acknowledge that causality of these events (attribution to the vaccine) cannot be known or assumed. If VAERS is supposed to track serious adverse events, but we cannot infer causality of the reported events to vaccines, then how are vaccine adverse events reported?
The VAERS system and others like it (e.g., the VSD, or the international VIGIBASE) are supposed to serve as part of post-market surveillance of vaccine safety specifically because vaccine safety clinical studies do not last long enough to provide information on long-term safety. Supporter of this process will point to one vaccine that showed increased serious problems – a Rotavirus vaccine – that was detected as evidence that post-market studies work. Ok, great. So why when kids develop intussusception now from another Rotavirus vaccines the parents are told “it wasn’t the vaccine”?
Also, when independent researchers access VAERS, and report upticks in vaccine injury associated with the addition of new vaccines to the schedule, their results are pooh-poohed or ignored. I’ve personally analyzed ALL of the data in VAERS and found massive signatures of increased morbidity and mortality in this unpublished manuscript – which no public health journal will publish – and yet CDC has had apparently no reaction to these obvious signatures:
How good can VAERS be if the huge signals I detected are sitting there, undetected?
The HPV Vaccine Safety Science is Junk Science
The concern of HPV vaccine science is real. In the initial study of HPV-4, in which 4 vaccine types were studied, the two comparison groups were the HPV-4 vaccinated group, and a control group that did not receive the vaccine, but rather that received a placebo. In most such studies, a valid placebo would be an inert substance, like saline. However, in the Merck-funded studies, the control group received amorphous aluminum hydroxysulfate, which is the adjuvant used in vaccine. In technical terms, AAHS is not a valid placebo, because (1) the design only tests the safety of the HPV antigens, and (2) no patient is offered “HPV vaccine or AAHS today?”. The outcome? Equal amounts of morbidity (illness) and mortality (death) due to the vaccine and its adjuvant.
When Merck added five more HPV types to create Gardasil-9, they had the chance to use saline placebos vs. the vaccine. Instead, they chose to compare the safety of Gardasil-9 to Gardasil-4, which had shown equal rates of morbidity to AAHS. In the submission to the FDA, Merck did a few unusual things. There was not just one study, there were many. Merck also conducted some studies of saline placebo, some with AAHS, and instead of presenting the data of Saline vs. Gardasil-9, they combine the Saline and AAHS “placebo” groups into one group.
The second odd thing that Merck did was to label new complaints about medical conditions from the vaccine (or the other comparator groups) to New Medical Conditions, determined (no one knows how) that they were not due to the vaccine, and submitted the data to the FDA without a full analysis of the New Medical Conditions (you can read about this in Slate Magazine).
Now we have girls and boys who have been reported to have died from the HPV vaccine – their numbers are mounting – and yet Merck, FDA, and CDC are silent. One such young lady was Christina Tarsell, whose estate had to fight for years against an onslaught of robust and institutionalized vaccine injury denialism in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program fighting against the defendant – the US Department of Health and Human Services – to finally win a ruling that yes, the HPV vaccine killed her. I could list more names than I care to; I know their cases, I listen to the parents, and siblings of these Lost Ones.
Remember that VAERS only capture maybe 1% of serious adverse events. Other sources say perhaps only 10% are captured. Death is one of the adverse events from the HPV vaccine, Marty, and in fact over 430 deaths have been reported to VAERS following administration of the HPV vaccine. If you ask CDC how many of these are due to the vaccine, they will say zero. But if you ask Emily Tarsell, she will tell you that her daughter’s death was initially dismissed even though she proved to the letter of the law, by preponderance of the evidence, her daughter’s death was caused by Gardasil – – which was conceded on appeal. Yet given that only 1% of vaccine injuries are reported to VAERS, it is reasonable therefore to estimate that maybe as many as 4,300-43,000 deaths have occurred that have not been reported.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has paid out over $3.8 billion to individuals who have been seriously injured by vaccines, and to families of lost ones – and in every single case, the NVICP insists that the families and their lawyers start from scratch and prove that the vaccine could have reasonably caused the injury. There is no precedent-setting other than the HRSA table of vaccine injuries that are acknowledged by the NVICP – and that Table is very hard to add new injuries to – no matter how many new rulings are made about a particular type of adverse event. (Yes, the HRSA is part of the HHS, so technically, the defendant tells the public which vaccine injuries are real. The other injuries plaintiffs have to fight for justice, no matter how many previous cases have been awarded for the same injury. It’s sick.)
Guillain Barre Syndrome, a debilitating condition that leads to paralysis and sometimes to death, has just been added to the Table. The first reports of GBS after vaccination were in 1976, after the first national swine flu vaccination campaign. You should know that taxes on the vaccines pay for the damages; no one can sue vaccine makers for flaws in their vaccines since Congress gave away our rights to do so in 1986.
HPV Vaccine Could Lead to MORE HPV Infections – with More Aggressive HPV Types
Marty, HPV vaccine is not an anti-cancer vaccine. It’s an anti-STD vaccine. And there are now many studies that show that the vaccine, which targets the most common types of HPV, has led to the undesirable situation in which rarer, potentially more aggressive types of HPV to increase in the population. MD’s tell teens they are “protected from HPV infection” – and yet that is just not true. If they have unprotected sex with someone who has one of these rarer, potentially more lethal types of HPV, odds are they will be infected. But they are vaccinated against HPV, so they might skip their Pap smears. Yep. Even after HPV vaccination girls still need Pap smears. Some of these HPV types are known to cause cancer. So what are we doing with this particular vaccine? Are we increasing the risk of the spread of rarer, potentially more lethal HPVs? There are over 200 other types.
I can provide references to every claim I’ve made in this letter. I communicated my concerns to CDC that their own study did, after all, show type replacement – they stopped writing back. A recent Cochrane review on HPV vaccine safety was skewered by Cochrane members for leaving out many studies. Cochrane’ reaction was to oust one of them – a founding member – Dr. Peter Gøtzsche – who had established the principles of objectivity upon which Cochrane reviews are based. In response, various other members resigned in protest.
That review, by the way, was led by Dr. Lauri Markowitz of the CDC, the person at the CDC whom I had alerted about the evidence of type replacement in the data in her study (with colleagues). Studies from all over the globe have reported type replacement. Dr. Markowitz took her name off the author list, meaning she helped ghost-write the article – a very unethical practice of the type that just led a jury to award Dewayne Johnson $128 million dollars for his cancer case due to exposure to glyphosate in Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide.
Marty, the long-term health consequences of removing the most prevalent types of HPV via vaccination are not known. I’m an evolutionary biologist, and used to hold a Faculty position in the Dept. of Pathology and Dept. of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh. I worked in the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute under Dr. Ronald Herberman, whose research agenda was focused on cancer immunology – including true cancer vaccines. A cancer vaccine involves harvesting proteins from a tumor and developing immune system responses to the tumor itself (see, for example, Melanoma Vaccine Clinical Trials at the Hillman Cancer Center)
HPV is an STD. HPV vaccine is NOT a cancer vaccine. In the short run, it reduces the incidence of CIN+1 and CIN+2 lesions associated with the vaccine-targeted HPV types, but given the fact that it also changes peoples’ perceptions of risk, and type replacement, it could ironically lead to a net increase in the types of cancer associated with HPV.
Until FDA insists on new randomized clinical trials with saline, and until we can be assured that participation in such a vaccination program will not have the undesired opposite effect on HPV infection rates, we should not promote the vaccine, nor its mandate. By the way, none of the patients given the HPV vaccine in the post-marketing safety studies have been consented to know that they were even part of a clinical study.
Of course we want an HPV vaccine that actually does reduce the rates of cancer. But in their zeal, doctors are sending the wrong messages to vaccinees. The risk factors of HPV-related cancers include
(1) Initiation of sexual intercourse at an early age
(2) Having multiple sexual partners
(3) Teen pregnancy
(4) Having other STDs
(6) Drug use
Of course, I want to thank you for your past efforts to help people quit smoking, like you did in your past efforts to help society. The good news is that ACS says throat cancers are down in frequency due to smoking cessation programs.
Doctors need to tell teens and their parents that the vaccine does not protect against “HPV”, and that they are still at risk. The rates of STDs have exploded in the US; we are now leaders among Western nations in STD rates.
I’m going to send a couple of books to be sent to you. The first is “HPV Vaccine On Trial ” (Skyhorse) by Mary Holland, Kim Mack Rosenberg, and Eileen Iorio. The second is the book “Vaccine Court” by Wayne Rhode.
Marty, in closing, I know this crap is the last thing you want to hear. Especially not right now. Guess what: I didn’t want to know this either. Because I was once just like you – wanting everyone to get their vaccines. It took other truth-tellers to open my eyes. Anyone who tries to tell you what you want to hear and that the things I’ve pointed out to you are not true is lying. And I know that’s going to hurt.
So, please put the issue to rest, Marty, for now, and focus on getting well. As try as you might, pushing the HPV vaccine under these circumstances is a dubious waste of your precious efforts. Stay strong, we’re ALL pulling for you.
James Lyons-Weiler, PhD
Allison Park, PA
PS: For more info and references, please see