Orac had a nice takedown of an idiotic piece on Medscape about the Gardasil vaccine. As he reported, the link to the bad article is now dead, perhaps as a result of blograge. Now, on the front page of Medscape is a poll—a poll regarding physician prescribing habits given the “news” about Gardasil:
Serious neurologic, thromboembolic, and autoimmune complications have been reported in a small number of patients who received Merck’s HPV vaccine, prompting a recent joint advisory by the FDA and CDC. But the agencies emphasize that the vaccine is safe. How will this news change your use of the HPV vaccine?
This poll question, along with being just silly, asks a question that begs the question—it assumes that the statement as written is true. Of course, it is not. Lies abound regarding the vaccine.
Look, it’s reasonable to argue about whether HPV vaccines should be mandated, but arguing about the basic science is silly. Several HPV strains cause cancer. These cancers are serious health problems. The vaccine protects against the strains that cause the vast majority of these cancers. The vaccine is safe, and so far, in the post-marketing period, there have been far fewer reports of side-effects than most other vaccines.
These are the facts. A policy debate standing on these facts is useful. All the rest is superstition.