Northrup is not convinced as to the safety and effectiveness of the HPV vaccines. She said that Gardasil has been seen to cause side effects that are damaging and potentially fatal. She doubts that the benefits are such that it is worth the risks involved.
Northrup said that though pharmaceutical companies say that the vaccines' protection is there for the long term, in reality Cervarix needs a booster shot every seven years, and for Gardasil it is every five years for women and possibly more often for men.
She said that the American death rate from cervical cancer is 3 in 100,000 women. But she said that the serious side effects caused by Gardasil is slightly higher, at 3.4 out of 100,000 immunizations.
Northrup recommends five ways to protect yourself, or your teenage daughter from cervical cancer.
1) Enhance your immune system and make lifestyle changes that will make you healthier overall. Keep vitamin D levels up. Optimal levels of vitamin D cuts the risk for all cancers by 50 percent.
2) Have a Pap smear every three to five years, even if you've had the vaccine. Even after being vaccinated a woman can still get cervical cancer.
3) Use condoms and practice safe sex. Be open with your partner about any health issues.
4) If you have HPV, don't get vaccinated. About 98 percent of infections from HPV are dispatched by a healthy immune system within two years.
5) If you want to have your teen vaccinated, consider doing it when your child is older than the Merck-recommended nine years of age for girls, or eleven years of age for boys.
Are you a parent trying to reach an informed decision on this important issue for the best good of your children? Let the discussions continue.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine. CDC.gov. Retrieved Sept. 24, 2013.
More Parents Say They Won't Vaccinate Daughters Against HPV, Researchers Find. Mayoclinic.org. Retrieved Sept. 23, 2013.
The HPV Vaccine: What You Need to Know Today. Drnorthrup.com. Retrieved Sept. 23, 2013.