Globe and Mail unquestioningly touts HPV vaccine for boys

The Globe and Mail’s health news reporter, Kelly Grant, referred to lots of experts in “Nova Scotia to include boys in HPV vaccination schedule,” her April 10 story on the merits of vaccinating boys as well as girls against the human papillomavirus.

Grant referred to “oncologists and major health organizations – including the Canadian Cancer Society and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.” She quoted Eduardo Franco, chair of the department of oncology at McGill University in Montreal, and David Jensen, a spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Grant even quoted at length a retired politician, a cancer victim who stated: “If I’d had the vaccine, I wouldn’t have had the cancer.”

While Grant’s article did raise doubts about the vaccine’s cost-effectiveness for boys, none of the people she cited raised any doubts about the safety of the vaccine, as if the vaccine’s safety was beyond doubt, and no credible expert existed who thought otherwise.

If Grant wasn’t in PR-mode in writing about the HPV vaccine for boys, she might have tried calling up one of this vaccine’s many critics, such as Dr. Diane Harper, Chair of Family and Geriatric Medicine at University of Louisville, who happens to be one of the world’s few recognized experts in the HPV field. Among her credentials: she was the principal investigator both for Merck, the pharmaceutical company that developed the Gardasil HPV vaccine, and for GlaxoSmithKline, which developed the competing HPV vaccine, Cervarix. Also among her credentials: Dr. Harper has specifically studied the merits of giving boys the HPV vaccine.

In interviewing Dr. Harper, Grant would have learned that there’s scant scientific evidence for giving boys this vaccine. As Dr. Harper told Fox News’s Alisyn Camerota in a 2011 interview, “we don’t know enough about what happens with the vaccine. We know for sure that the antibody titers that provide protection and give the efficacy of the vaccine wane two to three years earlier than they do for girls. In the studies that we did with the Gardasil vaccine in boys, what we found is that 38%, or nearly two-fifths of boys, lost all detectable titers to HPV-18, which is one of the two cancer-causing types in the vaccine.” Not only does the vaccine not protect against most strains of HPV, it can wane in under five years.

Experts at McGill and University of British Columbia could also have provided Grant with a balanced perspective, and perhaps some colorful quotes. When the New York Times interviewed UK National Health Service’s cervical cancer specialist Dr. Angela Raffle about HPV some years back, she replied: “Oh, dear. If we give it to boys, then all pretense of scientific worth and cost analysis goes out the window.”

Our rating

Unlike public relations officers, journalists are trained to report both sides of a story, not to unquestioningly present but one point of view. For failing to act as a journalist, Kelly Grant (@kellygrant1, and her employer, the Globe and Mail (@globeandmail), receive one Band-Aid.



  1. Shoenfeld, arguably the world’s foremost expert on autoimmune disorders, shocked the audience of the III Colombian Symposium on Autoimmunity by stating he would not recommend HPV vaccines for his own daughter.
    According to Dr. Juan Manuel Anaya, director of the Center for Autoimmune Diseases, University of Rosario,
    The development of autoimmune diseases is an issue of paramount importance when it comes to vaccines.
    The trouble is that the risk-benefit ratio of developing autoimmune diseases after vaccination for HPV has not yet been resolved. Independent Medical Professionals Agree with Parents
    Dr. Yehuda
    Remember Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld’s words, ”If the negative effects outweigh the benefits, the vaccine should not be prescribed.”
    Merck’s own prescribing information sheet states for every 100,000 people who use Gardasil 2,500 serious adverse events are to be expected.
    According to the FDA a serious adverse event must fit one of the following criteria: death, life-threatening, hospitalization, disability or permanent damage, congenital abnormality/birth defect, or the requirement to intervene to prevent permanent impairment.
    No Country in the World has a cervical cancer diagnosis rate of 2500 /100,000
    The time has come to halt all HPV vaccination programs until the safety issues have been resolved and efficacy has been scientifically proven.
    For Dr. Shoenfeld, HPV vaccines fall into this category. According to Dr. Shoenfeld, this has been demonstrated in Colombia where hundreds of children are suffering from autoimmune disorders directly caused by the vaccine. Dr. Shoenfeld stated.


    • What is your exact source of 2500/100,000 (2.5%) figure for “SERIOUS adverse events” with HPV vaccinations? I question your statistics concerning “serious adverse events” after reviewing of the Merck info here:

      Click to access gardasil_pi.pdf

      The most common “Adverse reactions” (NOT labeled as “Serious”) observed in 10,000+ HPV vaccine administrations include injection site reactions (common with ALL vaccinations), headache and slight fever. There are additional tables in the pdf showing other compiled adverse reactions like nausea & dizziness (likely a vasovagal reaction common to all injection administrations), diarrhea, vomiting, cough, toothache, upper respiratory infection, malaise, arthralgia (joint pain), insomnia, & nasal congestion. Which of these common maladies that people experience often from many causes do you consider “Serious”?

      Also note that the tables show a column for the incidence rates for all these reactions in the placebo control group – Those who did not receive the HPV vaccine. The observed differences between the truly vaccinated and placebo groups is negligible!


      • From the Merck site you linked:

        “In 7 clinical trials (5 Amorphous Aluminum Hydroxyphosphate Sulfate [AAHS]-controlled, 1 saline placebo-controlled, and 1 uncontrolled), 18,083 individuals were administered GARDASIL or AAHS control or saline placebo on the day of enrollment, and approximately 2 and 6 months thereafter, and safety was evaluated using vaccination report cards (VRC)-aided surveillance for 14 days after each injection of GARDASIL or AAHS control or saline placebo in these individuals. The individuals who were monitored using VRC-aided surveillance included 10,088 individuals 9 through 45 years of age at
        enrollment who received GARDASIL and 7,995 individuals who received AAHS control or saline placebo.”

        Please realize that Amorphous Aluminum Hydroxyphosphate Sulfate (AAHS), is not a placebo – not even close. AAHS is a adjuvant that irritates the immune system and body. It is just as likely to cause reactions as the vaccine itself. The researchers know this and do this for a reason and it’s fraudulent science. Then please note that the tables analyzing the data, comparing the vaccine recipients to the phony placebos, lump the AAHS groups (5) with the saline group (1), and present them all together so that the saline group results get buried.

        Also, 14-15 days is not nearly long enough to observe for reactions. Reactions occurring on day 16 would be outside the design of the study and would not be reported. Also, reactions that are not on the researchers list of what they are looking for would also be ignored.

        You say, “There are additional tables in the pdf showing other compiled adverse reactions like nausea & dizziness (likely a vasovagal reaction common to all injection administrations), diarrhea, vomiting, cough, toothache, upper respiratory infection, malaise, arthralgia (joint pain), insomnia, & nasal congestion. Which of these common maladies that people experience often from many causes do you consider “Serious”?”

        You are assuming that the nausea and dizziness are vasovagal reactions – that is not a fact, but an assumption on your part. You aren’t including the “tonic-clonic” movements associated with this vaccine – seizures – also in the list. I consider ALL of these reactions VERY SERIOUS, especially when the result of a medication given to a healthy young girl or boy who has absolutely no need for the drug and is in no danger if not getting the drug. The risk/benefit analysis does not pan out on the side of giving the HPV vaccine – to anyone.

        How would you like, for no good reason, to lose the ability to sleep (not especially good for one’s health)? How would you like to suffer a toothache, or diarrhea, vomiting, a cough? How would you like to be dizzy so that you can’t drive and go to work or take care of your children and chores?

        Unbelievable how calloused people can be when it comes to vaccines. No suffering is too great as long as the vaccine is taken.


  2. The placebo group did not receive the vaccine, What did they receive?? Not saline. This is the most useless and most dangerous vaccine. Former Merck Dr from France states before parliament, he wants it stopped until more safety tests have been done. MANY OTHER DRS AGREE WITH HIM.


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