Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Pseudoscience Quackery

HPV vaccination works. Period.

Antivaxers really, really don’t like HPV vaccines. Too bad that a new meta-analysis shows that they’re really effective.

Of all the vaccines out there, the one that antivaxers tend to go the absolute most batshit nuts about is the vaccine against the human papilloma virus (HPV), of which there are two, Gardasil and Cervarix. There have been films portraying the vaccine as killing teenaged girls. Antivaxers spread stories of young women who died suddenly and try to blame Gardasil, whether Gardasil had anything to do with these tragic deaths or not. Now that more boys are getting the vaccine, they’re now doing the same thing using the deaths of teenaged boys. They also publish dubious studies claiming that the HPV vaccine causes premature ovarian insufficiently/failure and infertility.

Why the hate? I’ve speculated about this from time to time, and it always comes down to one answer: Sex. It’s the same reason why vaccinating neonates against hepatitis B also gets antivaccine activists so riled up. These vaccines tend to be demonized because of moralistic associations with sexual activity, given that HPV is most commonly spread by sexual activity and hepatitis is similarly often spread through bodily fluids exchanged during sex. This leads to what I’ve referred to as “slut-shaming” the HPV vaccine, given that it is recommended to be given before girls become sexually active by inferring (and sometimes more than inferring) that the HPV vaccine will encourage promiscuity by removing one of the consequences. As I’ve said before, that is one of the stupidest arguments against the HPV in existence. (Seriously, does anyone think teens worry about maybe getting cancer 20-30 years down the road when their hormones are raging right now?) As far as the hepatitis B vaccine, the rants usually come in the form of complaints questioning why it is given right after birth when a major mode of hepatitis B transmission is through sex, even though there are good reasons to administer the first dose of the hepatitis B when babies are neonates.

Of course, it’s not just about sex. It’s about the HPV vaccine being a cancer vaccine. We know the strains of HPV vaccinated against cause cervical cancer decades after infection and that two serotypes of HPV are responsible for 70% of cervical cancer cases, and approximately 90% of all cervical cancer cases are probably caused by HPV. It is therefore very reasonable to infer that preventing HPV infection by vaccinating girls before they become sexually active will prevent cervical cancer. Of course, because it takes decades after HPV infection for cancer to appear and widespread vaccination with HPV only started a little more than a decade ago. Of course, it’s useful to note that there are more than 150 strains or subtypes of HPV that can infect humans but that only 40 of these strains have been linked to one or more different cancers. Of those 40 strains, most are fairly rare. Even so, in poor countries, cervical cancer is a leading cause of female mortality, killing about 300,000 women a year.

Still, antivaxers can’t be pleased that yesterday there were news stories like this one in the New York Times:

Vaccines against the human papillomavirus have sharply reduced infections, genital and anal warts, and precancerous lesions in young women and girls in more than a dozen wealthy countries, a major new study has found — powerful evidence that these vaccines will ultimately cause major drops in cervical cancer. The vaccines are so effective that when given to enough young girls, they also give partial protection to both unvaccinated girls and boys, simply because fewer people in sexual networks are carrying the virus, commonly called HPV. The research, published on Thursday in The Lancet, analyzed dozens of studies that, when combined, included 66 million females and males below the age of 30 living in 14 wealthy countries where HPV vaccines were introduced as early as 2007.


Of course, it’s not all about sex. HPV vaccines are relatively new and there hasn’t been time to verify that the efficacy of these vaccines in decreasing surrogate outcomes (HPV infection) translates to less HPV-induced cancer, Well, antivaxers, read’em and weep. Actually, read it and weep. The aforementioned study the The Lancet is some serious evidence that HPV vaccination is going to be a major tool to reduce mortality from HPV-induced cancers. The title of the article is Population-level impact and herd effects following the introduction of human papillomavirus vaccination programmes: updated systematic review and meta-analysis. It is a paper by Mélanie Drolet et al and the HPV Vaccination Impact Study Group, which consists of researchers in Canada, the United States, Australia and Europe . It is, as its title suggests, an updated review and meta-analysis of article examining the efficacy of HPV vaccination. The original review and meta-analysis was published in 2015, and it showed substantial decreases in HPV 16 and 18 infections and anogenital wart diagnoses among girls and young women targeted for vaccination and in countries with high vaccination coverage (more than 50%) evidence of vaccine cross-protection and herd effects, with significant reductions in HPV 31, 33, and 45 infections among girls targeted for vaccination and anogenital wart diagnoses among unvaccinated boys and older women.

The authors wanted to update it for the following reasons:

We wanted to update our systematic review and meta-analysis for three main reasons. First, the number of countries and studies reporting observational data of the population-level impact of HPV vaccination has increased dramatically since our first review, which will improve both the power and generalisability of the results. Second, the number of years after vaccination has increased, which allows analysis of changes in CIN2+ since the introduction of HPV vaccination. Finally, the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization revised its position in 2016 to recommend HPV vaccination of multiple age cohorts of girls (9–14 years old) when the vaccine is introduced in a country, rather than vaccination of a single age cohort. Before this recommendation, some high-income countries had implemented vaccination of multiple age cohorts, mainly through catch-up campaigns. A better understanding of the population-level impact of will help inform decisions of policy makers regarding the recent WHO recommendations. Thus, the aims of this systematic review and meta-analysis are to: (1) update and summarise the most recent evidence about the population-level impact of girls-only HPV vaccination on HPV infections and anogenital wart diagnoses among girls, boys, women, and men; (2) summarise new evidence about the population-level impact of girls-only HPV vaccination on CIN2+ occurrence among screened girls and women; and (3) compare the population-level impact of HPV vaccination on anogenital wart diagnoses and CIN2+ occurrence between countries that have implemented either a single or a multiple age-cohort vaccination strategy.

Here’s what the authors did:

To update our first systematic review (of studies published between Jan 1, 2007, and Feb 28, 2014), we searched MEDLINE and Embase for studies published between Feb 1, 2014, and Oct 11, 2018, with the same combination of MeSH terms, title, or abstract words: (“papillomavirus vaccine”, “papillomavirus vaccination”, “HPV vaccine”, or “HPV vaccination”) and (“program evaluation”, “population surveillance”, “sentinel surveillance”, “incidence”, or prevalence”), and (“papillomavirus infection”, “condylomata acuminata”, “anogenital warts”, “cervical intraepithelial neoplasia”, “cervical dysplasia”, “uterine cervical neoplasm”, or “HPV related diseases”) (appendix p 6). ÉB or NP and MD independently identified eligible articles on title and abstract first, and then on the full text. Disagreement between reviewers was solved by discussion between those authors. Finally, we searched the reference lists of selected articles.

The authors identified 1,702 potentially eligible articles, and included 65 articles from 40 studies, 23 for HPV infection, 29 for anogenital warts, and 13 for CIN2+ (cervical neoplasia grade 2+). All studies were of sufficiently high methodological quality to be included in the meta-analysis; no studies were found with risk of serious bias. In countries where the vaccine has been distributed for more than five years, the two strains of HPV causing 70% of cancers (HPV 16 and 18) decreased by 83% among teenage girls and 66% among women between 20 and 24 years old. Even better, anal and genital warts decreased by 67% among teenage girls, by 54% among women from age 20 to 24, and by 31% among women from 25 to 29. Warts also decreased by half among teenaged boys and by a third in young men up to age 24.

In other words, HPV vaccination works. This analysis provides compelling evidence for the efficacy of HPV vaccination on every outcome examined and for nearly all age groups. It also confirms herd effects. What do I mean by that? Simple. There was significant evidence of a decrease in anogenital warts among boys and men in countries with girls-only HPV vaccination. Basically, because the pool of girls with HPV infection is decreased by vaccination programs targeting HPV, fewer boys are infected.

The authors also note:

Importantly, we also present the first pooled estimates of the population-level impact of HPV vaccination on CIN2+, which is the most proximal outcome to cervical cancer and is recognised as a valid proxy for vaccine efficacy against cervical cancer by regulatory agencies worldwide. The results provide strong evidence of HPV vaccination working to prevent cervical cancer in real-world settings, as both the cause (high-risk HPV infection) and proximal disease endpoint (CIN2+) are significantly declining. The results can also inform potential changes to cervical screening programmes. Substantial declines in high-risk HPV types and CIN2+ might allow for screening to start at an older age and for longer screening intervals. However, when considering any changes in screening recommendations, careful attention will have to be given to unvaccinated cohorts of women. The decreasing HPV prevalence observed in several settings also support a switch from cytology alone to primary HPV testing followed by cytology triage in younger and older cohorts, to benefit from the higher sensitivity of HPV testing to detect pre-cancerous lesions and higher specificity of cytology, without substantially increasing the number of false positive results.

In other words, there has been an effect on the the prevalence of the lesion farthest along the pathway to cervical cancer. HPV vaccination works. All evidence to this point strongly supports the conclusion that it prevents HPV-caused cancers, the most prominent of which is cervical cancer. Antivaxers can claim otherwise, but science does not support them. HPV vaccination works.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

108 replies on “HPV vaccination works. Period.”

I’m a little disappointed with one aspect: if I’ve understood the study, it didn’t look at the effects that vaccinating boys against HPV had. I’m quite certain an even bigger effect would have been discovered if this had been included.

That would be correct. Australia was the first country to put the vaccine for boys on the schedule and that only happened from 2013. There are only about 20 countries giving the vaccine routinely to boys and the UK only started this year. So there has likely been too few years elapsed to see large effects.

For what purpose and whose agenda?
It isn’t science that blinds – but masking in forms of science.
Corruption is systemic and pervasive and hence a ‘culture’ of lies to run the cover story.
The hate is the cover story masking in self-righteousness – not in those who reject it.

Corporate-politics works the post-truth agenda of marketisation and weaponisation of science as technologism.
Once framed by fear, the target can be harvested as an asset or used as a proxy. PR works the presentation.

The devices of manipulation of weaponised language works a protection racket.
Doublethink masks over contradiction as a narrative control.
Everyone knows the ‘Ministry of Health’ is the Ministry of Sickness – but few want to know what they know and so they use zealotry to deny their doubts.

No need to identify as ‘anti vax’ – simply call for a just and true transparency and accountability.
‘Too big to fail’ means ‘PRIVATE KEEP OUT!’ along with redistribution of loss of health and wealth to serve the dominant private agenda.

When ‘science is settled’ because you say so!’ is the intent to rule out science – along with freedom to challenge and uncover the already true. Fake science TELLS what to think. This undermines whatever truths may be selected or woven into support for the edict. R Kennedy Jr offers a sane voice in an extremely polarised issue.

But there is no room for truth in a lie – and so truth must be conformed to the demands or conditions of the lie.
To the investment in the lie – truth is heresy.
There is a choice here – and if fear would coerce then choose not to listen there or give blind allegiance.
Fear (of pain of loss) works to divide and rule out. Everyone protects their investments as they see it, but not everyone knows what they do.

The headline of this article either tells the reader what they need to believe, or tells them what to believe and so alerts the reader to the ruse. How to spot fake news? It works to frame the narrative in terms that work a hidden agenda.

@brainmatterz I made the mistake of click through to his blog. I have to say it raised more questions than it answered. Lots and lots of extremely disturbed-sounding rants, Liberal Mis-Capitilization And BLOCK CAPS. Conspiracy this, “mind” that, tenuous quote usage, and he’s a big fan of that scummer Malcolm Kendrick. I think.

Honestly it’s hard to wring enough coherence from the word salad to accurately determine what he’s supporting. Definitely anti-vax though.

It got scrambled, like an anagram. binra…brain. As in binramatterz. Maybe intentional, maybe not.

If vaccines were really what they are presented and promoted to be then everyone would want them. Nothing to lose and everything to gain. They do not. That some do not accept the presentations as wholly true indicates a critical awareness across a wide spectrum of issues. It isn’t just Pro and Anti. Do you want vaccines to be properly tested for purity and efficacy? Should those in positions of trust or power be held accountable for their actions when standards fall or when they persist despite becoming aware of severe adverse reactions?

Trying to find out can cost you your job. You know where coercive power lies by what is not permitted to be openly discussed.

Seeking magical answer gives power away such that without it we are powerless and thus enter a captive dependency (or a captured revenue stream).

Believing in magic interprets adverse results as caused by ‘something else’ – because the magic is ‘too big to fail’ in terms of the fear of pain of loss associated with its failure.

If enough people get stuck in the same place they accept it as reality.

In some cultures evil spirits are believed to make people sick.
Pasteur et al swapped out evil for ‘germs’ and a magical sense of control over germs. This biocidal ‘war’ is running out of magical answer.

Though some have known that the terrain is the main factor in disease – and this terrain is not only outside us as our cellular response to its environmental chemistry – but is from our belief – our model – our self definition. Fear, scarcity and impoverishment have a biological expression – even when the fear is imagined or unfounded.

It is unwise to abandon what is believed or perceived to work (for us) until something else is ready to take its place.
I align in freedom of choice in education and decision. I am not against your freedom to choose to vaccinate – but I am not in support of corporate pharmaceutical cartels protected from transparency and accountability as a result of using disproportionate wealth to exact a corrupting influence.
If they work then what’s the fear in performing double blind trials? I am also not in support of medical experimentation on living human beings without their fully informed consent.

Truth need not fear and can meet any challenge, but untruth cannot defend a lack of substance when brought to light. So it uses any and every trick and tactic to deny and disrupt communication. Its easier to deceive people than show them they are deceived. (M Twain)

I have no interest or desire to force anything on anyone nor do I accept what others may seek to force on me.
Lots of people inject and imbibe lots of things for lots of reasons. I cannot make their choices for them.
But I can make choices that invite others to align in shared purpose rather than give up choice to a private agenda that promises differently than it delivers.

I’ll go away now – unless a genuine communication invites a like response.

Binra doesn’t seem inherently antivaxxer (though there is some resonance). It’s more like defiance towards institutionalized science, technology, and a stance on medical ethics. Not even conspiracist (even though it crosses the line a few times). Vaccines are just an item that focalises that kind of discourse. I’m sure binra might develop the same kind of argument on many other medical topics than vaccines, so it’s not inherently antivaxx. It’s a broader concern than antivaxx mentality and dumb MMR cause autism inferences.

At least from the discourse I infer solely from the two comments.

From binra/Brian’s website, I’d refine the diagnostics into “magical thinking manifesting as crank magnetism”. So not even antivaxx by my standards.

That’s cute.

But that kind of argument will never cut it in the real world.

If they work then what’s the fear in performing double blind trials?

Think about this statement. Think really hard. Maybe you will figure out why such a trial would be unethical.

When we had our boys get this vaccination I was amazed at the critical comments we received from some family members. Some was based on their religious views, the rest was general anti-vacc lingo targeted to the HPV vaccine in particular.

None of the comments made any more sense than binra’s: the surprise to us was the objections from people who had never made any disparaging comments about vaccinations in general and who had made sure their children were up to date on those vaccinations.

Have you ever treated a patient with cervical cancer (I have)? Have you ever had a loved one die of cervical cancer or an HPV-related head and neck cancer? I suggest that your comments are offensive to anyone who has and that you would change your tune if that happened to you.

I devoted a good chunk of my training and career to cervical cancer screening. I find your comments to be both offensive and not based in reality.

So, aside from Big Pharma shills, government consipiracy, look up sheeple, and science is just being used by “them” to implement their shadow rule, you got nothing.

Once framed by fear, the target can be harvested as an asset or used as a proxy.

You’re demonstrating a remarkable degree of self-perception there, binra.

R Kennedy Jr offers a sane voice in an extremely polarised issue.

Well, by comparison, I suppose so. You seem to have forgotten to include anything about HPV, though.

It’s such a garble of buzz words, I originally read it as “R Kelly offers a sane voice” which was, um, an interesting image.

Well the words are English, not sure the sentence structure is, that’s some baffling BS right there.

At first, I thought that binra was something in HIndi ( and I’m usually really quick with anagrams).
He’s a musician and photographer- a few of the song titles also appear to be influenced by Indian language. He writes about a course in miracles .
I know.
Stick with the arts, Mr. You can’t be as bad.

@rs From his blog it appears that his real name is Brian. Not sure how he got to binra.

So much obfuscation. So little content. Maybe it was written while on LSD?

“then everyone would want them”
Oh, binra, that’s just not true. There is nothing in the world that everyone wants. (Not even food.) Heck, there are people who choose to drink arsenic, knowing and believing that it is a poison, but do not expect to die.

So that argument is just a non-starter.

But those who do so are in a sect that believes they are protected from the poison – yes? And they routinely do not die – yes?

It is true that many effectively self-harm in many different ways – and so my ‘argument’ is to that what is evidently true finds free and natural acceptance in those who have free and natural awareness – but what is not true has to be imposed and enforced ‘for their own good’.

Religious institutions are infamous for such behaviour even to burning people alive to save their souls, but the same patterns are observable in Science. IE: ‘The science is settled’ (sic). If you don’t see why that statement is a contradiction you are taking a narrative interpretation as if it is science.

I didn’t come to ‘argue’ but to meet your critical appraisal I correct my statement to ‘most everyone would want them’.

Why should you mind if others see and choose differently than you?

Heck there are people who knowingly inject aluminium (&etc) into their own or their loved one’s bloodstream knowing it is a poison but expecting it to save them from sickness and untimely death.

“Why should you mind if others see and choose differently than you?”
Because infectious diseases are infectious and your decisions impact other people without their consent.
You don’t ever want to get another tetanus shot? Great, go for it. Tetanus isn’t passed from person to person, or even from person to vector to person.

But when you choose to be susceptible to contagious diseases not only are you putting yourself at risk, but you are putting other, vulnerable, people at risk. It’s the same reason driving drunk is immoral.

It appears binra doesn’t understand what ‘the science is settled’ actually means. Another mathematics denier.

@ binra

there are people who knowingly inject aluminium (&etc) into their own or their loved one’s bloodstream knowing it is a poison

Yawn. Contrary to popular belief, vaccines in general and aluminium in particular are not injected directly into the bloodstream.
It’s actually written right on the bottle on the picture used by Orac for this post.
As it is done, the aluminium is slowly released from the site of injection and adequately processed by your body.

“Corruption is systemic and pervasive and hence a ‘culture’ of lies to run the cover story.”

I must say I’m not a big fan of non-disclosure of conflicts of interests when it comes to the HPV discussion in France:–bSjWvB71bjrn_xzzrKJq/view

Tabulated financial figures of undisclosed conflicts of interests of some people promoting HPV in France can be found page 26. More detailed undisclosed conflicts of interest, person by person, may be found page 18. General analysis of conflicts of interest may be found page 15.

Of course, it’s in French…

I have to disagree that the one reason for anti-vaxxers hating HPV vaccines is sex. It is certainly a reason the reason for the religious right. In my opinion, the primary (but certainly not only) reason for anti-vaxxers hating HPV vaccines is simply an extension of their hate of vaccines. Prior to HPV vaccines, the focus has been on paediatric vaccines and all the diseases/disorders anti-vaxxers claim they cause. The introduction of HPV vaccines to children 11 years and up was an inconsistency in their claims so they just made up the phony adverse events in keeping with their hatred of vaccines and excuse for neglecting to protect their teenagers from HPV infections.

In my opinion, the primary (but certainly not only) reason for anti-vaxxers hating HPV vaccines is simply an extension of their hate of vaccines.

I’m still sticking with a fear of young women no longer perpetuating the Movement as being a component. If they, as adolescents, can freely choose to protect themselves (AoA has been irate about states that allow this), it undercuts the basic, aging fear campaign.

“It also confirms herd effects.”

Thanks for emphasizing the herd effect. It was first noticed within a few years of licensure in Australia when there was a substantial decrease in genital warts in boys despite initially being a girls-only vaccination program. We now know that that is not an anomaly.

For most vaccination programs there are three determinants of success: i) the efficacy of the vaccine, ii) the proportion of the population vaccinated (aka vaccine coverage rates), and iii) legislative/political support.

Dr Drolet was interviewed by BBC and made the astute observation that there is now unequivocal evidence that the vaccine is highly effective and that when coverage rates are high there are community benefits. She mentioned that what remains is whether there is political will to support a major global reduction in cervical cancer via vaccines.

Who wouldn’t be happy to hear we have an increasingly proven way to prevent cancer?

That would be people who’d rather see innocent victims die than admit that medical science is right and they’re wrong. We used to call them sociopaths, but the preferred term today is “vaccine skeptic.” (Irony!)

Mary Holland and her fellow anti-HPV vaccine warriors will be quite unhappy with the new study.

In other news, Ohio legislators are debating a bill to prevent employers from disciplining employees who go unvaccinated. Something to consider if you’re in the hospital and vaccine refusers working as caregivers pass on influenza.

Oh, and RFK Jr. showed up to claim there are “72 vaccines”, none tested against placebo.

The guy can’t stop lying.

In a case somebody doubts that Robert Kennedy Jr is lying:

Frequency of Adverse Reactions to Influenza Vaccine in the Elderly
A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial
Karen L. Margolis, MD; Kristin L. Nichol, MD, MPH; Gregory A. Poland, MD; et al Robert E. Pluhar, PharmD
Author Affiliations
JAMA. 1990;264(9):1139-1141. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450090075029

It is saline placebo, and relevant to Ohio bill

It looks like it may be a wicked flu season coming our way. Australia has 43K confirmed cases so far compared with 59K for all of 2018. And 43 deaths. Flu shot, here I come, come October!

I had mine in May. We have had 18,000 cases in the state and 44 deaths this year. I have been in the US and could well have contaminated you with my “shedding vaccine”.

The current down under flu is bad. The season started early as well.

The pressure to vaccinate hospital employees is coming from Medicare. I don’t see how a local law would change anything.

It will set up a showdown between Medicare and the states, then, if Medicare tries to withhold dollars from states that prohibit hospitals from requiring employees be vaccinated.

Having a measles outbreak in your backyard will most definitely bring up vaccination rates (against measles at least). The frustration about HPV is lack of a sense of an “outbreak” for HPV infection. Parents who refuse HPV vaccine tell me either (1) they have read stuff on the internet about how dangerous the vaccine is; (2) their child is still “too young” for the vaccine; (3) they’re not worried about their child getting HPV.

Some of those who cite (2) eventually do vaccinated their child for HPV, but (1) and (3) won’t. It’s a shame, too, because as the studies on HPV vaccination are bolstered year after year, I’d like to think it would convince more of these parents refusing this vaccine to stop refusing it. I do hope some teens on turning 18 will get the vaccine on their own.

“their child is still “too young” for the vaccine”

I think I grew up in a fairly standard US urban area, and the kids were playing sex games early in life, even pre-pubescence. Yes, even the kids whose parents were sure that their kids Weren’t That Type – or perhaps, especially those kids. I’m not even sure that the parents of the gal I knew who went to Catholic school and had a sneaky abortion while still in grade school knew that their kid wasn’t a virgin.

Vaccinate your kids and give them realistic and age-appropriate sex ed.

Those decreases found in the studies are spectacular!

I’m going to make a prediction:
years ago, one of the most flourishing areas of alt med was hiv/aids denialism: ARVs / meds were especially a target for hatred. BUT most sane people who were hiv+ took them and over years, the illness became controlled but not eradicated. We no longer talk about how aids kills cruelly and how susceptible populations are in danger. Hiv/ aids denialism is not a frequent topic for sceptics these days .In fact many aids denialists switched over to vaccine denialism, speaking at AutismOne.

As HPV infection and resultant cancers decrease, it will be harder for anti-vaxxers to use the vaccine as a weapon of fear.They’ll have to find other “monsters under the bed” ** to frighten themselves and others with.

** as Rene says

And that’s never good press for a movement.
And those who didn’t die ( because they never had the virus and simply lied to people who did ) mostly shut up about it – although Null has recently posted material about his “cures” by megadose vitamins and diet.(
Some have switched to anti-vax ( Ruggiero, Montagnier, Farber)

There was a very confident group of HIV denialists who had enough spare time to issue a periodical, titled “Continuum”, which they used to publicize various alternative theories. The publication ceased after all of the denialist authors died of AIDS.
Give the choice of death or admitting error, a non-trivial number of people will choose the former.

My only concern around HPV is its not freely available to boys in most places, here is BC they now give it to grade 6 boys, but my boys were in grade 8 and 10 when the change came and missed out. No backdating, and the cost to vaccinate them for all three shots was over $1200 a piece making it unavailable to a lot of us who see the value of protecting our kids against HPV cancers in later life.

It’s available for young males here in New Zealand and my 21-year-old son had his series of Gardasil jabs last year. Interestingly, my daughter, who is nearly 18 and had hers at least six years ago, was afflicted with some sort of post-viral fatigue syndrome earlier this year for two or three months, and she got thoroughly fed up with people telling her that it must be Gardasil-related. Teenage girls have always been vulnerable to this sort of thing and it has nothing to do with vaccines. She’s an excellence-level student in biology and health science so she should know!

Good for her!

My 17 year old nephew (here in the US) got his Gardasil shot as soon as he was old enough. It didn’t take any prompting at all, least of all from me. His pediatrician explained the risk of genital warts, Koda looked up pictures on the internet and that was all he took.

His response was something along the lines of, “I don’t want THAT growing on my [insert teenage word for penis unsuitable for polite company].”

I thought his response quite reasonable, all things considered.

I’m amazed to see all these promos for Pharma vaccines to prevent HPV infection.

We should follow the advice of the most intriguing candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, Marianne Williamson and “pour God’s love on our immune systems. Truth protects.”

Yes, she was speaking in reference to “swine flu”, but the same principle applies to all infectious disease.

Williamson has also written that being obese reflects a deficiency of “spiritual intelligence”, which is more food for thought.*

*in moderation, of course.

We should follow the advice of the most intriguing candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, Marianne Williamson and “pour God’s love on our immune systems index fingers….”

FTFY. Never heard of this one before, but the images have not exactly reattached my retinas.

I learned at one of my high school friends was caught in her web for years (and is still kinda sorta on a lot of the stuff Williamson says). We had a long-ish chat about where even non-science people draw hard boundaries on some of the things Williamson says.

I also learned that this friend thinks of me when she thinks of a “good scientist”.

I haven’t quite decided how I feel about that.

You’ve missed your calling, MJD; you need to get into materials science and polymer chemistry.

Make a better septum!
It’s got to be sterilizable, non-reactive, flexible at all storage temperatures, inexpensive and easy to manufacture and mold.

Go! You can do it!

(Also, “may” is the operative word there. Just like “Has been processed in a facility that processes tree nuts.”)

Narad, I wasn’t thinking that kind of septum. I was thinking the stabby kind, since that’s what I’m working on right now. (Apparently this week the part of a polymer chemist will be played by JustaTech!)

(Paolo Macchiarini was the guy who claimed to be able to grow human trachea from stem cells; he lied and a bunch of patients died and it turned out he was a huge faker. Great Vanity Fair article about him a few years ago.)

I wasn’t thinking that kind of septum. I was thinking the stabby kind

I am not familiar with this. In my defense, I’ve been at cumbersome labor for most of the day (and it ain’t ending soon), with a certain lack of “thanks for removing the disgusting mold infestation on my walls,” etc.

Narad: “the stabby kind” is my very lazy way of saying that a septum can mean a barrier that is pierced to allow the removal of liquid in a sanitary or sterile manner.
For example: the cap of a vial of medicine (or a vaccine) that is pierced by a needle to draw up the liquid to be dispensed, would be an example of a septum.
Another example would be a bag of saline: to go from the bag to the patient’s IV, the saline bag is pierced in a very specific spot (the septum or “port”) with a spiked IV line that lets the liquid flow out without coming into contact with the room air (and germs).

I can’t think of anything like it outside a medical context.

Cervarix was withdrawn from the US market in 2016. Gardasil 9 is the only HPV vaccine available in the US.

I don’t think it’s about sex; it actually is about the reactions.

Out of all the bad things that happen to people, only a very small fraction of them are blamed on vaccines. Out of that small fraction; the complaints are astoundingly consistent, are comprised of symptoms that are easily correlated with the immune system & defy both the lack of attention from the media & time itself.

I have no doubt the vaccine is effective against HPV. Consistently, the efficacy argument from ‘the anti vaccine’ is the weakest argument. But the adverse events? My God; when the anecdotal contradicts the epidemiology over & over; for decades & now, half a century & counting: There is something wrong with the epidemiological methods used to assess vaccine safety & risk.

It does not mean that there is something wrong with those reporting the anecdotes. Speaking of, with the HPV; has no one noticed the phenotype? They are … red. Not only redheads but the brunettes are ‘golden’ versus ash, the blondes are strawberry, the Hispanic more like the native american ‘red’ & even the black women have that beautiful dark cherry skin tone.

Surgeons? Anesthesiologists? This would not be the first time this has been noticed in the practice of medicine, would it?

It’s not sex. I am leery of this vaccine & I am the proverbial whore in church. It should bother me more to say that but it doesn’t. The point must be made. It’s not sex; it’s the reactions.

About those reported Adverse Events for HPV Vaccine:
The fact of the mater is, when we look at those stories about Gardasil and the other HPV vaccines causing harm, we run into the same brick wall as for MMR and autism. The stories can’t be verified, or the medical records show that there were signs even before vaccination. Case in point: the Meylor sisters.
Once again, there is no “there”, there.

@ Julian,

Who are the Meylor sisters? And I’m well aware of VAERS limitations. My household represents three VAERS cases & I tried to be meticulous in submitting information. I noticed that others? Not so much.

So I didn’t use VAERS for this observation; they don’t have photographs anyway. I noticed it reading a memorial page specifically for families of the deceased. There are photographs of thousands of victims worldwide, most of them taken pre-vaccine but some were pre-vaccine compared with post-vaccine.


“I noticed it reading a memorial page specifically for families of the deceased. There are photographs of thousands of [deceased HPV vaccine] victims worldwide.”
You seem to have made no effort whatsoever to distinguish between actual “victims” and alleged victims. Can’t you think?

@christine k:

Who are the Meylor sisters?

From my blogpost on them:

Special Master Lisa Hamilton-Fieldman dismissed a suit brought by two sisters, Madelyne and Olivia Meylor, that the Gardasil Vaccine had caused them to suffer premature ovarian failure. The two plan to appeal the verdict. Madelyne suffered irregular periods before she received the vaccine. Olivia received it before her first period, which occurred when she was 15.


I noticed it reading a memorial page specifically for families of the deceased.

As Brian asks, where is your evidence that these people were done in by their vaccinations? Just because somebody says x caused y, or something bad happened because of z, doesn’t make it so. There are people who believe the Earth is flat, and people who believe they were abducted by aliens.

I don’t need evidence of cause of death to notice their appearance. I need eyes to see & faith in mothers. Would you feel better if I said there was an apparent phenotype involving those who’s families allege their death was caused by the HPV vaccine?

Off topic but I’ve noticed a phenotype common to those with juvenile diabetes as well.

Are you suggesting there is a Flat earther & Alien abductee phenotype? Now that would be strange.

@ Chris,

Hi, Chris.

Are you suggesting there is a Flat earther & Alien abductee phenotype? Now that would be strange.

sigh No. I am saying that there are people who, in complete sincerity, hold ludicrous beliefs. The people on that memorial website may believe that HPV vaccination caused their childrens’ deaths, but that doesn’t mean they are correct. And that assumes that the families put their names forward knowingly and willingly. That Just the Vax article? It pointed out that multiple VAERS entries for HPV vaccination were simple copy paste jobs, and word for word identical.
I may be being unnecessarily cynical, but I’ve learnt to be highly suspicious of claims made on the internet without independent verification.

I’m confused. Are you saying that only people with red hair die of the HPV vaccine?
Or that the HPV vaccine causes red hair?

I have red hair now. I did not have red hair when I got the HPV vaccine. What’s more likely, that the HPV vaccine caused the color of my hair to change (not completely impossible) or that I started dying my hair?

You do know that most redheads aren’t natural redheads, right?

@Christine Kincaid “I believe the mothers”. Expect ones whose children have been died because of flu and pertussis. Then they would be pharma shills.

I almost died of pertussis at the age of 9 months. Does this mean I can be a Pharma Shill? And how much does it pay?

When & where I have ever called anybody a ‘Pharma shill’? I totally believe the mothers of influenza victims. The consistency of details by mothers of children who have died from influenza are way too consistent : ‘We took them to the ER/urgent care three days ago but they sent us home’.

You know what that is? THAT is due to the CDCs ‘Be Antibiotics Aware’ campaign.

Those children died because their secondary pneumonia wasn’t treated & they developed sepsis. Didn’t hurt the stats either, to scare people the next season into getting their shots.

They died because of flu, which caused pneumonia. I am certain that CDC’s antibiotics campaign does not prevent care of pneumonia.

Actually, most people are unreliable eyewitnesses: there’s a whole area of psychology devoted to this!
People are shown videos of a car crash then asked leading questions about it: how fast was it going when it hit the other car or smashed into the other car? Descriptions that suggest speed lead to higher estimates of speed even though subjects all see the same video. Lawyers knew about this before studies. Much research on this. See Loftus.

I know I had to pick a guy out of a line-up once & it was very confusing. The detectives intentionally selected similar looking men in age & height & appearance & despite that this was someone who I had seen multiple times but briefly (stalker); I was worried about picking the wrong one.

I didn’t though. I was terrified even though they said none of the men could see me like I could see them but I did pick the actual asshat.

I understand why ya’ll are telling me this; vaccine reactions, with the exception of an anaphylactic reaction; are not immediate & they develop slowly. At least my son’s did. You think there are multitudes of other things that it ‘could be, yet the conditions are very unlike anything that has ever resulted from any of the multitudes of other things.

Am I ‘seeing red’ due to the predominance of reports of adverse events that come from Ireland? I considered that possibility too. Or is the vaccine causing more adverse events in that population due to a genetic predisposition?

You think there are multitudes of other things that it ‘could be, yet the conditions are very unlike anything that has ever resulted from any of the multitudes of other things.

Really? I’d like to point some things out. You yourself state you are on the spectrum. Your husband is significantly older than you. Both are known to increase the likelihood that any children will be autistic. Also, as has been pointed out, people like your son existed decades and even centuries ago. The ones like me were considered eccentric but lived normalised lives. Severely autistic ones were institutionalised. It’s only in the last few decades that de-institutionalisation has occurred.
My question is, why are you so sure it’s the vaccines and not the two factors I mentioned?

@ Julian,

I’m sure my DNA does have something to do with it. Old men have been having children with younger women for eons. I think that with ASD, we were seeing the increased rates due to the socio-economic status of older men leading to the ability to pay for autism resources. I know that in 2007, an HMO declined to cover anything ‘autism related’ for my son; that had to be paid out of pocket.

@ again at Julian Frost … BTW; the first HMO in the US was operational in 1910 & autism ‘the term’ in 1943.

How did insurance companies handle autism-related claims in the 1950?

1970s? Well, they didn’t. Probably because ‘it wasnt’. How did they go from no mention of autism to declining autismin the early 2000s? Probably because all of a sudden …there was autism.

How did insurance companies handle autism-related claims in the 1950-1970s? Well, they didn’t. Probably because ‘it wasnt’.

Oh, but it was. De-institutionalisation began in the 1970’s. What also happened in the 1970’s was the passing of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1975. That led to an increase in awareness.

How did they go from no mention of autism to declining autism in the early 2000s? Probably because all of a sudden …there was autism.

Or maybe…we were properly aware of it?
Here’s an article published about IDEA on its 25th anniversary. I recommend you read the opening paragraph, which is in italics, and then scroll down to the heading Allan’s Story, which contrasts today with the late 1940s.
You must also consider other factors. The diagnostic criteria for autism in the DSM 5 are much broader than earlier DSM releases. Many people who are now diagnosed as autistic would have received a different diagnosis in the past. Since the 1970s, autism awareness has increased decade on decade. Numerous autistic characters are now depicted on television and in films. And finally, a lot of people are only getting diagnosed in adulthood. Singer Susan Boyle, Actor Anthony Hopkins, Director Tim Burton. All were only diagnosed as adults.

Old men have been having children with younger women for eons.


I think that with ASD, we were seeing the increased rates due to the socio-economic status of older men leading to the ability to pay for autism resources.

What? Have you noticed that these numbers vary with the amount of funding that states allocate to ASD resources? How do you imagine that prevalence is determined?

Prevalence for the sake of studies or for the sake of statistics? Studies often require an actual diagnosis to qualify as a participant.

The CDCs determination of autism rates is based on 8 year olds who have been identified educationally, may or may not have been diagnosed & are receiving support services through their school.

The CDCs determination of autism rates is based on 8 year olds who have been identified educationally, may or may not have been diagnosed & are receiving support services through their school.

Um, no. ADDM is an active surveillance system. It also appears that they have a 2018 MMWR on 4-year-olds, but I can’t do this all day, as I have to get organized and start cleaning a friend’s apartment.

@ Julian,

You made a good point about IDEA but I will never accept that the sheer amount of autism has been a constant presence. Since I believe that autism is immune-mediated, I have to consider that vaccines cannot possibly be the ONLY source of atypical immune responses,

It’s just weird that the provaccine would think that vaccines couldn’t possibly BE a source of an atypical immune response, in those genetically predisposed for it.

Isn’t it? Weird, I mean? The literature has practically arrived at a consensus that autism is a product of immune dysfunction.

“Strikingly, a distinct picture of immune dysfunction has emerged and been supported by many independent studies over the past decade.”

“Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) occur in 1.5% of the general population worldwide. Studies suggest that ASD might have more costs than diabetes and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder by 2025. Dysregulation of the cytokine system is well-documented in ASD.

I had a look at those two studies. The second one:
Published in an Elsevier Journal.

[D]ifference in the mean age between patients and controls had a negative interaction with the ES of difference in mean levels of IL-1β. In contrast, there was a positive effect of the moderator of difference in the proportion of male subjects between patients and controls on the ES of difference in mean levels of IL-1β.

Confounders right there. Also, no attempt was made to determine if the ASD caused the elevated cytokines instead of vice versa. Finally, the average size of the study is quite small. 37 ASD subjects and 29 controls. It raises questions about if the researchers cherry picked smaller studies to get a desired result.

The first article looked at autoimmunity, and mentioned nothing about vaccines or vaccination.

To summarise, neither of the two studies you mention looked at vacination as a causative factor.

The literature has practically arrived at a consensus that autism is a product of immune dysfunction.

Congratulations, you can’t read. You’ve got it in the wrong order.

@ Narad,

I like you, Narad. Although for the life of me; I cannot figure out why …

Autism is immune-mediated. If you don’t like how I said it the first time then you should tell me that I write backwards not read. I don’t like how I write either; it’s a rhythm (repetition) that I just can’t seem to change.

Autism is immune-mediated.

Argument by raw assertion doesn’t cut the mustard.

Christine K: If autism is immune modulated then it should be curable with some radiation and bone marrow transplants, right? So why don’t you see if there are any studies, or case reports, or children with leukemia who had symptoms of autism before their bone marrow transplant, but not after.

Or you could look for the same thing with measles, since that also attacks and damaged the immune system.

@Christine Kincaid What is your atypical immune reaction and how it would cause autism ? I remember that you are no responder to vaccination and your son is super responder. Yet you both are autistics.

@ Aarno,

Correct, I am a nonresponder to MV. What was done to me in 1970 is no longer done; today, you are considered immune (compliant) if you have had your vaccines. Back then you were not considered immune if your titers did not show immunity. So I was just re-vaccinated. Repeatedly. I showed a small response & my parents were allowed entry. (Military regs not typical travel req; I was born in Japan during the Vietnam war).

I no longer have immunity & haven’t for decades. It’s hard to find research about this; it seems to turn up a lot about my Rh neg status for some reason. I was born to Rh pos parents who had both Rh pos parents. Yes, I am bio child but it’s thought I am first Rh neg in four generations. Not sure what this has to do with vaccines but it keeps turning up.

Typing “vaccine no responder” to Google Scholar returns 40000 hits. A start, is it not ?

@ Narad,

What would you suggest? I can give you tons of citations. Good, solid, peeer-reviewed research. Fools here who think they are smarter than award winning researchers. What is raw assertion? An argument? Not a fallacy? Ugh. Why is PubMeds server down again.

@ Just a Tech,
You are brilliant! I am not being sarcastic. Yes, Measles … Anyway. I do not believe you that all immune dysfunction is treatable by bone marrow transplants or radiation.

So give us the citations. But please read them before posting the link.

Christine: To be completely clear to you and for posterity, at no point did I say that “all immune dysfunction is treatable by bone marrow transplants or radiation”.

To the best of my knowledge, the only “immune dysfunction[s]” that are treated with radiation (to kill the hematopoetic stem cells) and bone marrow transplant (to replace the now-dead hematopoetic stem cells) are blood cancers.

And those two men who appear to have been cured of their HIV by radiation/bone marrow transplant for leukemia.

What I was saying is that, if your hypothesis is correct that autism is immune-modulated, then conditions that radically change the immune system, like a bone marrow transplant or measles infection, should also have a measurable impact on autism symptoms. And you might want to look for case studies. If the data doesn’t support that, then you need to modify your hypothesis.

And just to be clear, bone marrow transplants are dangerous and never undertaken lightly.

@ Just a Tech,

“conditions that radically change the immune system, like a bone marrow transplant or measles infection, should also have a measurable impact on autism symptoms … ”

Probably not relevant but what you say is so interesting … When my son is fighting real infections. like the two hospitalizations for the peri-rectal abscesses. He acts very un-autistic. Stops flapping, decreased vocalizations & increased vocabulary, better eye-contact, etc … This does not include a fever because he runs at 99.8 ever day.

Except for immediately after the surgery because he does the paradoxical thing with anesthesia. Took 3 guards to transport him back to pediatrics last year …

When his pseudo-viral symptoms appear (post-viral rash; fifth disease red streaks on cheeks, etc …); his behaviors become increasingly autistic.

None of these papers mentioned vaccines. They all report different cytokines, too-
You can go to, to gene scoring and search for IL-6. Mutation of this gene is possible cause of autism. There are many other mutations,however, not related to immune system, with same effect.


I said: ‘Autism is immune-mediated’.

Narad said: ‘Argument by raw assertion doesn’t cut the mustard.’

I said: ‘ I can give you tons of citations.’

You said: ‘So give us the citations.’

Now why would you expect for me to give citations saying that: ‘ Autism is vaccine-mediated’? That’s not what you asked for. Surely you know that before vaccines can be considered associated with Autism, that the immune system must first be confirmed as associated with Autism?

Unless your hypothesis is related to ‘vaccine-ingredients’, Which mine is not. Mine is actually that vaccination is associated with Autism & vaccination could not be associated with autism if the immune system wasn’t.

Did I provide citations strong enough to consider Autism as immune-mediated? Yeah, I sure did.

The next step is also not to hypothesize that autism is vaccine mediated. It’s to ask if vaccines are capable of mediating the immune system. That’s pretty much a ‘yes’ because they can be effective in providing immunity.

So now vaccines can mediate the immune system & the immune system is associated with autism. Yet not everybody who is vaccinated becomes autistic. In fact, most do not. Typically; vaccination mediates the immune system to provide beneficial immunity.

An atypical mediation of the immune system is therefore causing autism. Exposure to a pathogen IS the typical way to provoke a immune response. Vaccination IS an atypical way to provoke a immune response; otherwise we’d get sick from the disease we were vaccinating against.

And this still does not mean a vaccine is provoking the atypical immune response that is causing autism. It just means that my hypothesis that vaccination is associated with Autism is not a raw assertion but a science-based one.

I want you tell what “atypical immune system” exactly is. Specific cytokine profile would be an example.
Vaccines do not modulate immune system, they add a pathogen to the immune memory, which is its normal function. Any number. pathogens do modulate, which happens, for instance when they synthesize soluble receptors of immune system.

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