Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

Scrap the Irrelevant HPV Vaccination Programme

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CAP calls for the scrapping of the National HPV Vaccination Programme for 13-year-old Malaysian girls because it is irrelevant and the vaccines have deadly side-effects.
 
The RM150 million project which targets 300,000 schoolgirls uses vaccines which protect against 4 HPV (Human Papillomavirus) types which had correlation with cervical cancer. There are about 200 HPV types in total — 40 of which are oncogenic. The vaccines are irrelevant because they ONLY protect against 2 to 4 out of more than 40 cancer-correlated HPV types. Gardasil protects against 4 HPV types and Cervarix protects against 2 HPV types. They do not protect against more than 36 other cancer-correlated HPV types.

 

 
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On top of this, HPV is not the only factor that causes cancer. For cancer to occur, basically 4 main steps are involved. The 4 steps are a) initiation, b) promotion, c) progression and d) malignancy or metastasis to other parts of the body.  Scientists are still not clear on how and when the HPVs act to create cancer. This may mean that having oncogenic HPV types may not necessarily cause cancer. Cervical cancers can have multiple causes, including food and alcohol intake, smoking and lifestyle factors. There is also a problem in some cancer patients having multiple types of HPVs. Are the vaccines relevant in such instances? What will the Government do if other companies develop new vaccines against other types of HPV in future, eg HPV 31, 33 etc?
 
The targeting of 13-year-old students may be irrelevant too, especially if the students are not sexually active, since HPVs are spread through sex. The vaccines protect only for 4 years.** This means that the vaccines will work when the girls are between 13 to 17 years old.  Are there any studies to show that Malaysian girls are most sexually active at that age group? Again this questions the relevance of the vaccine in targeting 13-year-olds. In any case, CAP has always maintained that the root cause and main contributing factor for contracting HPV — sexual relations with multiple partners — should be tackled by education and instilling religious and moral values.
 
The vaccines may have a reverse effect in giving the vaccinated girls more confidence in promoting promiscuous behaviour since they feel more protected against cervical cancer.
 
The side effects of HPV vaccinations are serious and fatal.  As of July 2013, 27,908 Gardasil adverse-events were filed with the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) in the USA, with more than 126 deaths, more than 10,000 emergency room visits and over 2,500 hospitalisations. Another 12 death reports in VAERS have been associated with Cervarix.***
 
In view of the irrelevance of the HPV vaccine programme and the dangers of the vaccines, CAP calls on the Ministry of Health to:
 
1. Scrap the HPV vaccine programme.
 
2. Use the funds instead to improve on the cervical cancer screening progamme through, for example, Pap Smear Tests which are proven early cancer detection procedures. The programme should include:

• Pap Smear Tests for women in both urban and rural areas.

• Women who are getting married should undergo Pap Smear Tests.

• Mothers should undergo Pap Smear Tests during all pregnancies.

• Girls above 17 should undergo Pap Smear Tests, either before their SPM exams, before entering institutions of higher learning or before joining the workforce.

• Have awareness raising programmes on Cervical Cancer and its prevention.

Press Release - 30 April 2014

 

References:

* “Prevalence of Human Papillomavirus in Abnormal Cervical Smears in Malaysian Patients” by Noor Akmal Sharifah, A Seeni, et al, in Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, Vol 10, 2009

**http://www.healthline.com/health-news/women-one-hpv-vaccine-shot-may-be-effective-for-four-years-110413

***http://www.newsmax.com/US/hpv-vaccines-cdc/2013/08/28/id/522720/