Antivaccine nonsense Medicine

HPV lies: Another example of how everything old antivax has been reborn as “new” again

By embracing decade-old HPV vaccine fear mongering, COVID-19 “turbo cancer” quack Dr. William Makis demonstrates how everything old is new again among antivaxxers.

In the name of taking one for the team in order to debunk nonsense about Kate Middleton’s announcement that she had been diagnosed with cancer last week, I foolishly signed up for a free seven day trial of COVID-19 vaccine-caused “turbo cancer” quack William Makis‘ Substack, which is why I figured I’d better get one last post out of it before the free trial expires. Thankfully, Makis is very predictable and provided a perfect topic the other day, a Substack post entitled Childhood Vaccines – HPV Vaccine (Gardasil) injuries & deaths of young girls – injury of 12 year old soccer player Holly, High school lacrosse player Amanda Ratner, death of a 14 year old Mexican girl. Yes, as I keep saying about the new anti-COVID-19 vaccine movement that quickly turned into just antivaccine, everything old is new again. So, of course, Makis is now fear mongering about HPV vaccines, a topic that I used to write extensively about. Naturally, the reason is obvious. Makis has fully embraced the narrative that vaccines—in particular, COVID-19 vaccines—kill.

In fact, so much so is the contention that everything old antivax is new antivax again that Makis even resurrects decade-old cases of supposed death and destruction due to HPV vaccines, for example, the story of Holly as of 2016, a story that had begun in 2013:

Our daughter Holly, was an energetic, unstoppable, full-of-life 12-year-old. Very sporty, playing netball, rugby, rounders and football for a local club, the school, and county. She was also part of the Newcastle United development academy. She was so full of energy; we would send her for 15 minutes on the trampoline just to use some energy up. She loved sports, she loved being active and she loved being outdoors. 

Then, between November 2013 and May 2014, she was given the HPV vaccinations. Our life would never be the same again. 

A few days or so following Holly’s final HPV vaccination, we noticed she would vomit for what seemed no reason at all. For example, she was on the football pitch (trials for NUFC), and she vomited while on the pitch, then carried on playing. We put it down to a one off, but as the months rolled on the vomiting got worse and worse and the period of illness became longer.

How many times did I routinely discuss stories like this back in the day, between (mainly) 2010 to the beginning of the pandemic? The difference here is that in this case Holly didn’t die, which was such a common narrative among antivaxxers that in 2018 they even produced a YouTube “documentary” full of misinformation entitled Sacrificial Virgins. The other thing that is very common in these narratives is how the parents portray their child as the peak of health before the vaccines, in this case as a very athletic and active “sporty” girl who loved playing multiple sports. Finally, common with many prior anecdotes about “Gardasil injury” that I’ve discussed, note how none of Holly’s symptoms started until after the last shot in the HPV series. Reading between the lines, as I always do, I note that it would appear that nothing untoward happened after any prior vaccines in the series, because I know that if anything had been noticed then, particularly after the first dose of vaccine, it would have been mentioned prominently in the narrative.

The narrative related by Holly’s parents continued. First, she continued to have severe problems with vomiting, seeing her GP multiple times, being given antinausea drugs and being put on the pill to regulate her menstrual cycles, as Holly and the parents noted that the worst of her episodes “always came around the time of her period,” leading them to become “sure this was hormone related.”


Doctors prescribed anti-nausea drugs, but nothing worked. We tried the contraceptive pill, that didn’t work. In addition, when Holly was well she seemed to be plagued with injury, pulled muscles, sore joints – we put it down to her not being at the peak of fitness anymore. 

Another appointment to the GPs and they decided the best solution would be to stop her periods all together, she was given the depo injection. This was followed by possibly the worst 3 months ever. She was in an “episode” the whole time, constantly vomiting, feeling nauseous and being unable to get out of bed due to extreme fatigue. 

She was in and out of hospital because she was so ill. Following every test imaginable, Drs could find nothing wrong with her. They tried to say she was bulimic. We knew this was not the case, we knew it was hormone related.

Could it have been bulimia? Possibly. One potential explanation is that it was bulimia and that the parents were just in denial. Another is that Holly had been misdiagnosed. There’s no doubt, however, that Holly was suffering and her doctors were unable to figure out what was going on. At this point, though, it wasn’t clear to me whether the parents had come to blame Gardasil yet for their daughter’s continuing health struggles, which were ultimately diagnosed as cyclical vomiting syndrome:

We searched to try and find a Dr who could help. At one point we were seeing around 6 different Drs both private and NHS. Eventually we were pointed in the direction of a Dr who thought she knew what was wrong with Holly. Holly was diagnosed with Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome, which seems reasonable with the following symptoms.


Holly was so poorly that doctors recommended that when she had a period it would be best to be admitted to hospital, sedate her for around 2 days and give her lots of IV anti sickness medication. This worked, Holly went back to school on a part time basis, eventually going back full time. However her energy levels never ever returned, she was still ill and hospitalized for every period she had, she lost her friendships & was not allowed to go skiing with the school as it was classed as too much of a risk for the school. She was unable to do all the sports she did before because of the fatigue, she would sleep whenever she could, her sporting activity was virtually non-existent.

Cyclical vomiting syndrome is rare, but definitely a recognized syndrome. According to the National Organization for Rare Diseases, cyclical vomiting syndrome can affect children or adults and is characterized by unexplained bouts of uncontrollable vomiting that can last from several hours to several days, separated by periods of relative freedom freedom from symptoms. These bouts can incapacitate the affected individual, “who may be unable to walk or talk and/or be bedridden.” The cause(s) is/are unknown, although triggers are known, one of which can be, as discussed in the anecdote, the onset of menses. Diagnosis is established “based upon a thorough clinical evaluation with the identification of characteristic findings” using diagnostic criteria “currently based upon the consensus criteria of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and the Rome IV Committee.” The diagnosis is one of exclusion, and can only be made after other causes of recurrent vomiting have been ruled out. Treatment tends to be prophylactic, avoiding triggers and using medications to try to prevent bouts, and supportive during bouts that can’t be prevented or aborted.

At this point, I became curious and started doing some Googling about Holly, which led to this 2016 story in The Daily Mail—where else?—entitled Teenager is hospitalised and sedated EVERY time she has her period after HPV jab ‘made her vomit up to 10 times a day’. This story revealed that by that time, Holly’s mother Vicky Oakley had come to believe:

Though doctors are yet to officially make the link, Mrs Oakley, of Bedlington in Northumberland, believes the trigger was an HPV vaccine given to her daughter when she was at school.

One wonders why doctors had never “officially made the link,” but it was most likely because there was no link. I also learn from the story that Holly’s symptoms started a month after the last of a series of three “jabs,” which tells me that there were no problems after the first two doses of the vaccine and nothing until a month after the third dose. So to the Oakleys it had to be the vaccine, even after this story:

Within a month, she began to vomit without reason, her mother said.

‘The first time it happened she was in the middle of trying out to join a local football club. She threw up on the pitch and carried on playing,’ said Mrs Oakley, who has recently left her job as a finance director to be her full-time carer.

‘We put it down to a one off, but as the months rolled on the vomiting got worse and worse.’

I can see how, by September 2014 the doctors had come to the conclusion that this was probably cyclical vomiting syndrome. Much of the rest of the story is familiar, too.

In Makis’ article, it’s also noted that doctors also diagnosed Holly with chronic fatigue syndrome and POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). Even so, Holly’s mother remains convinced that it was the vaccines that done it, leading to the the nigh-inevitable:

‘Recently, we’ve been looking into homoeopathic medication. Holly is just beginning a detox, and we’re praying we see some results.’

One can understand why the Oakleys might turn to The One Quackery To Rule Them All.


While I fully believe Holly is fatigued, and it is chronic, I believe that there is something fighting her auto immune system (tests prove this) and this is to do with the vaccine. I feel the same about the Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome. 

So many sporty girls having the same set of similar symptoms following the vaccine cannot be coincidence, no matter what the Drs say. 

We are currently receiving alternative therapy treatment to try and take the HPV vaccine out of Holly’s body. Only time will tell if the effects of the HPV vaccine are reversible. Ironic, Holly wants to be a Dr, yet no Dr will believe what this vaccine has done!

As badly as I feel for Holly, just as I do whenever I encounter anecdotes of children and teens who are suffering, there’s a reason why doctors don’t think that the HPV vaccine caused this, and that’s because it almost certainly didn’t. Even the timing is pretty questionable, one month after the third dose, even though there had been no symptoms after the first two doses. (Again, if there had, I know that they would have been described in the anecdote.)

Of course, the Oakleys, predictably and sadly, had been influenced by antivaxxers:

Mrs Oakley has been finding support from The UK Association of HPV Vaccine Injured Daughters – an online group of other parents who also claim their children have had severe reactions to the jab.

She is sharing her story in the hope that it will raise awareness and push for a better understanding of potential side effects of the vaccine.

Because, sadly, of course the Oakleys fell in with an antivax “support group” spreading antivaccine misinformation and then found The Daily Mail, which has long been all too happy to publish sympathetic stories of “heroic” moms who believe that vaccines injured their children, complete with exploitative photos of the ill child, of which there are several in this Daily Mail story, interspersed with pre-cyclical vomiting syndrome photos of Holly Oakley showing her active and her interest in sports.

There is also a Facebook page that Makis seemingly ignored. Although Holly’s mom is still virulently antivax, at the very least we learn that, as of last year at least, Holly has improved considerably:

It is very good to know that Holly Oakley did eventually recover (mostly), to the point where she is now able to live a fairly normal life, for the most part, and I certainly hope that she manages to graduate from veterinary school and go on to have a fabulous career caring for animals. It is certainly sad that she suffered so long (and continues to suffer, just a lot less) from whatever condition she had developed a decade ago. As I always emphasize whenever I see anecdotes like hers, what patients like Holly have are not fake diseases. They are really suffering. The problem is that the attribution of their symptoms to something that did not cause it inevitably leads to further suffering in pursuing treatments that don’t work and identifying “causes” that are not causes.

Again, everything old is new again.

Makis then goes on to include other anti-HPV misinformation, including a story from CBS News from 2010. You might recall that that was around the heyday of Sheryl Attkisson, who was a correspondent for CBS News for two decades, before leaving in 2014. During her last decade at CBS News, I wrote about her not infrequently because she came to spread antivax misinformation, in particular about Gardasil. The story cited by Makis did not involve Attkisson (although Attkisson had been on the same case two years earlier), but it was a credulous treatment of Gardasil vaccine “injury” in the case of Amanda Ratner, whose case was brought before the Vaccine Court for macrophagic myofasciitis attributed to the HPV vaccine. Sure, the story says that there is “no proven link” but immediately pivots to the parents’ blaming the vaccine. Naturally, Makis takes at face value a 2009 VAERS analysis, misrepresenting it as concluding that HPV vaccines are dangerous, when in reality it concluded:

Most of the AEFI rates were not greater than the background rates compared with other vaccines, but there was disproportional reporting of syncope and venous thromboembolic events. The significance of these findings must be tempered with the limitations (possible underreporting) of a passive reporting system.

In other words, most of the serious adverse event rates were indistinguishable from the base rate, other than syncope (which has long been known to be fairly common among adolescent girls when receiving the vaccine, likely due to the needle) and thromboembolic events, which did not pan out in a much larger later study that controlled for oral contraceptive use and other factors. Much is made of the Vaccine Court paying compensation of $350,000 in a settlement, but as I’ve pointed out before the Vaccine Court is, contrary to antivax claims, weighted towards the complainants and sometimes pays out claims or enters into settlements that are not based in science showing a definite connection between a given vaccine and a given disease.

Makis’ final anecdote appears to be just a cut and paste from a 2015 article by the anti-HPV vaccine group Sane Vax about a girl named Ximena M who died two years after receiving HPV vaccines but whose illness was said to have started after them. The article has such a vague timeline that it is impossible to tell what happened. I could find very little else about this case and really can’t tell anything other than that SaneVax and Mexican and Central American antivax groups think that HPV vaccines killed this 14-year-old girl.

Truly, everything old is new again. Makis even cites the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) to conclude:

How dangerous are HPV Vaccines for children?

Probably the 2nd most dangerous vaccine after COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines

2049 Permanently disabled children in VAERS

152 Deaths in VAERS

Which, again, have been analyzed going back 15 years and found not to be attributable to HPV vaccines. Remember, anyone can report anything to VAERS—and has. Just because there are entries in VAERS does not mean that the adverse events reported were caused by the vaccine. Lots of reports of autism are in VAERS too, and we know that autism is not caused by vaccines.

In any event, it’s useful to look at someone like William Makis for the simple reason that he is yet another example of how anti-COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theories inevitably lead their adherents down a rabbit hole into the more general world of antivaccine conspiracy theories. It is no surprise, then, that Makis has embraced decade-old anti-HPV anecdotes blaming the vaccine for autoimmune diseases and death, even though there is no evidence of causation and existing controlled evidence shows HPV vaccines to be very safe and effective.

Truly, everything old antivax is new again, but in antivaxland it’s the same as it ever was, just more so.

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]

18 replies on “HPV lies: Another example of how everything old antivax has been reborn as “new” again”

Another example of a dubious case was that of Madelyne and Olivia Meylor, two sisters who brought suit in Vaccine Court claiming that Gardasil had caused them to suffer premature ovarian failure. That case was dismissed too.

Makis being Makis. Utterly disgusting that he uses an unfortunate situation to showcase more of his outrageous antivax grifting tendencies. Not suprised, just appalled. Hmmm.

New Zealand researchers led by Beverley Lawton et al., published an article proving conclusively that HPV vaccination reduces very preterm births (often leading to baby demise). ==> “Association of prior HPV vaccination with reduced preterm birth: A population based study”

Finally, we have proof that the HPV vaccine has tremendous impact on preterm births, which it reduces, according to data presented by scientists!

It is based on the whole population of New Zealand, and the data was provided by NZ Ministry of Health. So it is all rock solid, just as science should be.

Great, right?

There was a little problem, however. Internet science sleuths noticed that the data was INVERTED and the risk ratios that were shown as less than one (showing protective effect of the HPV vaccine) are actually the INVERSE of those values, representing increased risk from the HPV vaccine.

The authors blamed an unnamed and likely nonexistent person “a stats phd candidate”.

They say that they lost the data, and their request to the NZ MOH to provide them with the data again, was denied after the inverted finding showed greater risk of “very preterm births”. I wonder why NZ MOH refused to re-provide the data. Don’t they care about New Zealand babies dying due to preterm births? Hmmm

This story is detailed by Retraction Watch “A wholly frustrating and embarrassing process”: Authors retract paper on HPV vaccine and preterm birth

Odd that you point out a case where review of published articles results in discovery of serious problems and the retraction of the article when it involves things you dislike (because you don’t understand the science in the first place) but don’t like it when similar issues are pointed out in the disinformation and flat out lies you push. It’s almost as though you pick and choose which things to support based on whether the fools who pay for your substack would pay for the information.

You are truly a pathetic weasely person Igor

I stand for correcting all errors, proper science, and honesty in research, applied to all sides of scientific endeavor!

While I am not free of bias, truth is my priority and I never amplify things that I know or suspect to be untrue.

More’s the pity. You honestly don’t know that the bullshit you lay down on your Substack and in the comments here is bullshit and untrue.

“ While I am not free of bias, truth is my priority and I never amplify things that I know or suspect to be untrue.”

I think you believe that. The fact that absolutely none of your takes on vaccines, covid, or science in general have had any validity to them, and that you refuse to retract your misleading bullshit when your consistent errors have been pointed out, only confirms that you are more tied to your preconceived views, desire to be seen as a lone voice speaking out against dark forces, and money from your substack, than to any real devotion to fact.

You may have convinced yourself that you are fighting the good fight, but in reality you’re just another conspiracy and misinformation slinging sleaze putting at risk the health of anyone stupid enough to believe your crap.

Yet there’s one using Finish data and one using Danish data that also show a preterm birth reduction in HPV vaccinated women. So, are you going to mention those? Or skip over them and stick with only the data that suits your agenda?

“In any event, it’s useful to look at someone like William Makis”

If you have a strong stomach.

Makis’ anti-HPV vaccine postudring as described here is pretty mild compared to his usual standard of ghouling.

His latest diatribes on X/Twitter include blaming SIDS cases on vaccination, and doing one of his patented Died Suddenly rants on an American oncologist who passed on “at a young age” and was supposedly vaccinated against Covid-19, though it isn’t explained how Makis knows this.

This “young” man was 59 years old and had been snowshoeing in the mountains, so OBVIOUSLY there’s no alternative explanation as to what precipitated his death other than the vaccine.

Makis is truly a loathsome person.

He’s blamed a death from glioblastoma, 11 months after diagnosis, on vaccines.
Note that mutations in glioblastoma occur years before the tumor is detected, and median survival is about a year… so how did Makis establish that the vaccine caused the cancer or what was particularly “turbo” about this supposed “turbo cancer”?
Ah yes, he doesn’t care…

I wonder if he really believes this or if he knows it’s not true and is still willing to say it. He does have some background related to cancer.


There’s a masterclass available online at every anti-vax ‘influencer’ website. False information, misunderstood information, misrepresented information, outright lies, bullying, victim blaming. I’m sure you could sign up, but you’ve already been subject to the whims of a maestro.

I bet you think you’re an independent thinker too. Sigh, such a tragedy.

“ I bet you think …”

More credit than I would give. Naftali has never demonstrated thinking at any level.

Antivaxers and their denialist kin have fallen in love with the term “gaslighting” but are ignorant of what it really means.

No one is “gaslighting” antivaxers by providing unwelcome evidence that derails their foolish beliefs, which are often outlandish enough to suggest that they are already well on the way to insanity without anyone needing to give them a push.*

*In the movie “Gaslight”, Charles Boyer was not trying to correct Ingrid Bergman’s nonsensical medical opinions.

I remember several years back there was a claimed HPV vaccination death, but the autopsy revealed the teenager died from a Benadryl overdose. However, I will still find this poor teen’s death misrepresented by rather vulture-like anti-vax groups.

Ah yes, Makis and his truly pathetic attempts at blaming random things on vaccines without evidence.
Like a death from Glioblastoma 11 months after diagnosis.
Pancreatic cancer.
Sudden cardiac arrest in a teenager with a RyR2 mutation (which was stated in the post he shared) aka CPVT.
Sudden cardiac death in a teenager with known LQTS after consumption of a massive amount of caffeine and alcohol.
Then there are his antics about claiming “claims of congenital heart disease are a coverup for vaccine injury!”
It’s frankly disgusting.
At one point, I probably will have to bite the bullet and go for the free trial, since pathetic Makis needs to put his (supposedly life saving) information behind a paywall, so his critics can’t debunk it easily…
Mit diesem Waschlappen habe ich jedenfalls noch ein Hühnchen zu rupfen .

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