In Britain 12-Year-Olds Vaccinated Without Parental Consent

Health care professionals in Great Britain are under no obligation to inform parents or get parental consent before giving young girls the Gardasil vaccine, which is supposed to provide protection against some strains of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

According to the CDC, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus in America, and has been linked to cervical and other forms of cancer.

An article in Britain’s Daily Mail claims that the British Department of Health, as part of a nationwide campaign to halt the spread of HPV, has confirmed that parental consent for girls ages 12 -18 receiving the vaccine is “not essential.”

How is this possible that parental consent is not mandatory? A 12-year-old girl told by a doctor or nurse wearing a lab coat that she needs a shot is obviously not in a position to ask the appropriate questions or to make a decision about the vaccine without her parents’ guidance.

Here’s what the CDC and the British Department of Health aren’t telling young girls or their parents:

1) When Judicial Watch, an organization that promotes transparency in government, wanted to find out if the claim by the drug company that manufactures it (Merck & Co.) that Gardasil was side-effect free was true, they were only able to get FDA reports by filing a Freedom of Information Act.

2) Judicial Watch has found out that there were 28 deaths associated with Gardasil in 2008, and 19 in 2007. Some of the deaths in Great Britain have received a lot of publicity. Read how 14-year-old Natalie Morton died in this BBC article after receiving the Cervarix vaccine against HPV.

3) In addition to killing young girls who get the vaccine, U.S. government records show that 6,723 Adverse Reactions were reported in 2008, Including 1,061 Considered “Serious” and 142 Considered “Life Threatening.”

4) Other reported side effects from the Gardasil vaccine include fainting, paralysis, Bells Palsy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and seizures.

5) Gardasil is being recommended for girls as young as nine but it has only been tested on 11 and 12-year-old girls.

6) Merck & Co. has been aggressively lobbying in Washington to make Gardasil a mandatory vaccine for all sixth graders. Selling this vaccine will net the company some $1.4 billion a year, by some estimates.

My oldest daughter is starting sixth grade this fall. She and her friends are not at risk for contracting HPV, since they are not yet sexually active yet the CDC currently recommends three doses of the vaccine for girls between the ages of 11 and 12 and explains that it is most effective if administered before girls become sexually active.

I’d like to find out how many teen girls die from genital warts or cervical cancer. I am wondering if the death rates for these illnesses are high enough to make this vaccine warranted in any way.

Is this a vaccine you plan to give your children? Do you think it is okay for health officials in Great Britain to forego parental consent?

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41 thoughts on “In Britain 12-Year-Olds Vaccinated Without Parental Consent”

  1. This is a tough one for me. My adult daughter got cervical cancer a number of years ago and we still do not know whether it was detected in time. If a vaccine had existed when she was a teenager, I would have been against it, as are you, since she was not sexually active then. Are you advocating for the vaccine to be given at a later age? For more testing? For more research? That being said, I do not think doctors in the UK should be able to administer these shots without parental consent. And, I want to remain informed so I can eventually counsel my son and his wife for their daughter.
    .-= Alexandra´s last blog ..Who Will Be Cape Cod

  2. Hmmm. I do not need to make this decision since I don’t have young girls. I was not aware of the dangers of this vaccine; that would absolutely make me think twice. And no consent from a parent? NOT a wise thing, in my opinion. How can a young girl really feel confident enough to say “NO” when someone in a lab coat tells them they “need” something? Most adults are unable to do that…

    I still don’t understand why such young (and sexually inactive) girls need this vaccine, anyway. I’m all for protecting our children against dangerous viruses, but if they’re not having sex of any sort, then why?
    .-= sheryl´s last blog ..Health Stories You Should Know About =-.

  3. My question is do they vaccinate for other things there without parental consent? And who is deciding if the girl gets it – does the girl ask for it or does the school just decide. I can’t get upset about anything like this until I know the details. I have to tell you – female cancers run in my family so I am not one to shout and yell about the dangers of a vaccine that I think does a lot of good. I am concerned about what you’re sharing here, but want more info.

  4. I’m with Brette – curious to see if other vaccines are administered without parental consent. I had all three vaccines, though, and it was pretty miserable. I didn’t get Bells Palsy or anything, but I was basically unable to work for the rest of the day because my whole body hurt. Pretty lame use of a sick day (and unfortunately my older coworkers were not very sympathetic because they hadn’t had it and didn’t understand what it was).

  5. I would not give this vaccine to a young girl. Thankfully, I have two boys and this will not be an issue for me. But giving the vaccination without parental consent? Inexcusable.
    .-= Kris Bordessa´s last blog ..Local Knowledge =-.

  6. I’m highly in favor of the vaccine.

    The vaccine is more effective the younger the child is at the time of the vaccination. I asked if my daughter should have it at her nine year old checkup and was assured it would be fine to give it to her at 12. I was eager to have her protected from cancer. Any risk of complication from the vaccine seems very minimal, given that we are talking about preventing CANCER.

    For anyone who plans on having more than three sexual partners, the chances of contacting HPV are very high. I have two close friends who have had cervical cancer as a result of HPV, one of whom had to have a radical hysterectomy at 38, the other who has had pregnancy complications due to her now “incompetent” cervix after the surgery to remove the cancer.

    If I can protect my child against cancer, I am certainly willing to run the minimal risk.

  7. HPV is a virus that clears itself in over 95% of cases, and is usually more of a risk in people with poor diets or smokers than in healthy young women. Lack of folic acid is a big risk factor in cervical cancer – it would make more sense to hand out vitamin D and folic acid supplements to girls than to inject them with a toxic cocktail of aluminium, borax, polysorbate 80 (renders lab rats infertile) etc. How many of these girls are going to be infertile? Polysorbate 80 causes incorrect development of the reproductive organs – is this what 12yo girls should be getting? Borax makes a great rat poison, guess girls need that too. And aluminium? We all threw out our aluminium pots and pans years ago, but let’s just inject it straight into our kids!!!

    When the lead researcher says giving Gardasil to young girls is a huge experiment would you want your daughter to be a guinea pig? A friend’s daughter dropped dead several weeks after her shot, no cause of death could be found. In a healthy, non smoking, non drugtaking 18yo! If she’d been a baby they would have called it cot death. Her mother didn’t know the doctor had talked her into it.

    PS – this vaccine INCREASES the chance of cancer if given to someone who has had HPV. As even newborns have been found to have been exposed, are they testing anyone before giving the shot? HPV can be transmitted through everyday contact, not just sex. Merck’s own trials showed a 44% greater chance of lesions if already exposed. Who wants their daughter to be one less? Killed by the vaccine? NOT me!

  8. Information about HPV:

    I would not want any vaccine given to my daughter without my consent. My daughter is only 10, but I don’t think I’ve left her alone with a doctor yet and for good reason. I don’t think we have enough long-term safety data to declare this vaccine safe. On the contrary, the deaths and serious side effects are very alarming. Yet, the risk of cancer is also real and must be weighed against the risks and benefits of giving the vaccine. (There will be approximately 12,200 new cases of cervical cancer and 4,210 deaths in 2010, and cervical cancer is not the only kind that can be caused by HPV.) My understanding is that the gov’t wants to administer the vaccine before girls become sexually active (which, let’s face it, many will do before we think or know that they are), because by their early to mid-20’s, most women have already been exposed to or infected by HPV.

  9. As someone who lives in the UK, I can assure you that NO other vaccine is given without parental consent. I was not aware this one was either and was planning to refuse it for my daughter.

  10. We will not be getting this for our daughter, and it’s terrifying that the UK is now giving it without any consent. Do the so-called professionals making the decision have access to all health records to even know whether someone’s already had an adverse effect, or how many doses someone may have already received? Are parents nothing more than the vessels to conceive and birth children on behalf of the government who are apparently slowly becoming the “real parents” of the children? Parents should never be removed from the parenting equation.

  11. I’m not aware of what the laws are like in Britain regarding birth control, abortions, and counseling availability for minors. However I would say that its not inconsistent to allow for a minor to be allowed this vaccine without parental consent if they are allowed birth control pills, IUDS, and other prescription forms of birth control.

    However the key is that they should have to ask for it. If a minor is sexually active, or considering becoming sexually active, and they seek out medical advice from a doctor, nurse, or similar then hopefully they will get balanced good quality information and be able to make an informed choice.

    That’s a far cry from a doctor or nurse soliciting drug sales from minors.

    That being said I think this vaccine has very little use, I think cervical specific antigen testing or HPV screening though home testing kits (where you are given the collection kit to use at home, the testing is still done through a lab and the results given through someone capable of explaining them) would be a more effective and less risky way to reduce cervical cancer, and would allow cancer screening/prevention to reach more people. Though increased testing isn’t necessarily less risky, its thought that the prostate specific antigen test has probably led to too many treatments of cancers that would never have caused a problem in the patients lifetime. However its easier to revise the standards on how to interpret test results than to take back a vaccine.

  12. ALWAYS, the parents should have to consent before a minor can get any vaccine, including this one. That goes without saying, or I would think it should.

    Otherwise, I’m not sure if I’m going to get it for my daughter or not. I was talking about this with my GYN the other day, actually. I was in for a colposcopy after an abnormal pap, my first ever, and she told me that it was almost guaranteed that the abnormality I had was caused by HPV. It’s such a sure bet that it was, in fact, that the pathology lab doesn’t even bother testing that type of abnormality for HPV because it always comes up positive if they do. So basically, mine could have been far worse, and I’m going to be fine, but I’ve still had a tough couple weeks dealing with all this, and who knows if this is going to be the last of it? Maybe I’ll have to go through it again in a year, two years, five years… Maybe it won’t be low-grade next time, and I’ll have to have further treatment, which could even include surgery.

    I turn 29 next month, and before this, I’ve never in my life even been sick beyond a minor cold! To have something that could develop into cancer someday, that’s scary, and very sobering after most of 3 decades of perfect health (or so I thought).

    I say all this to make the point that I DO NOT want that for my daughter. Before this, I was firmly in the “hell no!” camp when it came to this vaccine. Now, though, the main thing on my mind is that I want her to just be healthy all her life, like I was until a few weeks ago. My doctor said YES get the shot for my daughter, absolutely. I’m not that quick to jump to it, though. I asked her if it would be so wrong to wait until my daughter is 12 or 13, can understand all this if I explain it to her, as well as the potential risks of the vaccine, and then make her own decision on getting it or declining it. My doctor said that sounded like it would work out fine, so at this point, I think that’s what I’ll do.

    I don’t want to make reproductive choices on behalf of my daughter. I was very offended when my mom thought she had the clout to impose her ways on me (when I was leaving for my freshman year of college, and she infomed me that she was “putting me on depo”, to which I replied, “HELL NO!! My body, my choice!”) so I’d never do that, or equivalent, to my daughter, because I have more respect for her as a person, than to think I have the right to make this choice for her. I want to wait until she is old enough to understand and make her own decision. Then *I* will defend her choice to the doctors, should she decide she doesn’t want it. Either way, I support HER choice, and will make sure her priorities are honored by all doctors who tend to her.

  13. The most interesting thing to remember in all this, to me, is that this vaccine will not prevent all cervical cancers. Only those stemming from HPV, theoretically. So one will still need annual Pap smears and all that and can still get cervical cancer. So to me, teaching safe sex practices, regular health care visits, etc is the far safer route in the long run. And this vaccine is now marketed to boys and girls, fyi.

  14. I would probably avoid the vaccine for my daughters if I had any. However, I am in support in support of teenagers receiving sexual health services without parental permission, provided they are given adequate information and counseling. I would rather my child protect herself from any STI or unwanted pregnancy than have her be afraid to talk to me about it. I am a public health practitioner who works with issues around HIV, so I have a different perspective than many of your readers. I am also pro-vaccine in most cases.
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..Why are formula companies sponsoring breastfeeding guides =-.

  15. I second Lani on her post, the fact is this vaccine *may* prevent a very very few types of cervical cancer when there are so many… I am scared to death of all of the chemicals being pumped into our kids bodies. As long as I have the decision, I won’t fill my kids with this trash.

  16. I’m not sure if I understand–in UK they can administer the vaccine without parental consent but are they doing this in a widespread, methodical way–or is it just potentially that they’re thinking about it? Usually I’m in favor of vaccination, but with this one it doesn’t seem like there’s been nearly enough long-term testing.
    .-= Kristen´s last blog ..No Need for Beef Bean Burgers =-.

  17. there should not be an option to be able to jab your children with poison. we should be protected from that, but us as parents are our children’s only protectors so we must be informed and not jump at the doctors order. but with this one, they automatically assume that all young girls are going to be having sex. this is absurd!

  18. Thank you for this Lee!!! you said it perfectly.. I was beginning to wonder if anyone has read the same information about this vaccine that I have and even the one we are commenting on now. scary stuff, sad for the children that have no say in the matter.

  19. Kimberly, do any of the following qualify for “minimal” when it comes to your child? or anyone’s for that matter?

    “MINOR” side affects- pain, swelling, itching, bruising, and redness at injection site; headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and fainting. And if that isn’t enough- they don’t stop there. MAJOR side affects:Bells Palsy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Seizures, Convulsions, Paralysis, Coma, DEATH!

    never, ever would I allow this poison near my daughter and I hope you won’t either.

  20. This vaccine theoretically protects against 4 HPV strains out of over 100. And not necessarily 4 strains that are a threat in any given country. The 4 strains used are apparently ones that are endemic in Costa Rica (the so-called cervical cancer capital of the world), not the US or UK. Pap smears will always be necessary, no matter how many Gardasil shots are given.

    There is also a growing incidence of invasive cervical cancer in teens and young women who have had the full course of Gardasil in previous years. This is practically unheard of – medicos in recent years have been adopting a very conservative approach to precancerous lesions in women in their early 20s as they usually disappear of their own accord. But now some Gardasil victims are getting full blown cancer requiring surgery. One less? Yep, one less young woman who is going to be able to have a family of her own one day. Normally cervical cancer appears in older women that have had their families and neglected pap smears, but Gardasil is changing that scenario very quickly.

  21. No medical procedure should be performed on a minor without parental consent unless in an emergency. Period. No exceptions.

  22. YES! Exactly. If the parent is still legally responsible for the welfare of the child, why should anyone trump that relationship? It completely undermines the parent/child relationship.

  23. It simply amazes me how many people are willing to subject their children to absurd chemical cocktails with all side effects noted, in the name of nothing other than health! Im not just referring to HPV.

    Nice how the manufacturers promise you protection from 1 cancer yet the package inserts admit they dont know if it will cause yet ANOTHER form of cancer! Read the inserts people. This is a mad mad world. Big brother & his pal big pharma just wont be happy until theyve stuck a needle in everyone of us. There are options & alternatives available, injecting the body with blatant toxins is not the cure-all for every malady that comes down the pike.

    As for the health care “professionals” doing this? Shame on them!! Rest asurred someone is making a nice penny somewhere taking advantage of these kids.

  24. I disagree. I think it’s extremely important that teen girls (12 and over, because, realistically, this is when *some* girls begin to be sexually active) have control over their own reproductive care. It would be a huge hit to women’s rights, in my opinion, if teen girls weren’t given access to birth control and abortion without parental consent. Hopefully girls will talk to their parents about these issues, but, we need to be very protective of those who have good reason *not* to talk to their parents about these things. The HPV vaccine is part of gynecological care. If you want to talk to your daughter about it, and tell her your concerns about side effects and even deaths, that’s up to you — but the decision as to whether or not to have the vaccine *must* be hers. I also think it would be negligent for a provider not to let a girl know that the vaccine exists. Many girls would not know about it, or not in time, if a provider didn’t tell them.

  25. I’ve lived in UK for 10 years and we have not vaccinated our 5 children, but they dont go to school either… i understand some vaccines are administered through schools so maybe our daughter would be “eligable” if she were attending school. My friend’s son was given the swine flu vaccine without her consent and he attends Harrow (private) school in London. Even though she is pro vaccination she was furious about not being asked first.

  26. Judicial Watch is an extreme right wing organization with a very definite political agenda. I don’t consider it a reiiable source for information on this or any other subject – unless you want Newt Gingrich’s views on something, which I don’t.

    Merck has never claimed Gardasil is without side effects. It couldn’t legally do so and the side effects can easily be found on the Merck website for the drug:

    I am opposed to any and all mandatory vaccination and certainly opposed to vaccination without parental consent for minors. I don’t know anything more than that article about the British program but perhaps the decision to allow teenage girls to get the vaccine without parental consent is because teenage girls are often sexually active without their parents knowing it. This might then fall into the same category as allowing teenage girls to obtain birth control and abortions without parental consent, which I entirely support.

    I don’t know if the benefits of Gardasil outweigh the risks. I wish we could trust our regulatory agencies with these decisions but I don’t. However, the death cases from Gardisal that I have seen in the U.S. are not extraordinary in any way – causation is unclear and the numbers are relatively small (certainly nothing remotely resembling the numbers of brain injuries resulting from the pediatric vaccine schedule). It is possible the Gardasil vaccine is a responsible choice for someone who is sexually active. And if it is, teenage girls should be allowed to consent without their parents knowing.
    .-= Jake Aryeh Marcus´s last blog ..It

  27. On the one hand, the government doesn’t want to finance handing out condoms at schools because preaching abstinence is apparently the best policy. Then a drug company comes along and wants to mandate vaccinations against STDs on 10 year olds? I’m very surprised ultra religious groups aren’t all over this.
    .-= Almost Slowfood´s last blog ..Tasty Side- Potato- Bacon and Garlic Scape Hash =-.

  28. Ah, @Almost Slowfood, but it is. Take a gander at the work of Judicial Watch. It is part of the religious right.
    .-= Jake Aryeh Marcus´s last blog ..It

  29. Of course it’s an absolute outrage that vaccines would be given without parental consent. Gardasil in particular has been poorly studied and the severe side effects covered up. I would never let my daughter have it. However, parents have the right to make health care decisions for their minor children, whichever way they believe is best. Problem is, when we don’t go along with the “experts,” we are chided as recalcitrant children whose wishes are irrelevant. To the political/health care/you name it elite, the rest of us are kid of like pets, in need of their superintending care and control. Our protests are heard as mere animal-like grunts, not to be taken seriously. Coming soon to America, be ready to refuse to cooperate. I highly recommend Andrew Codevilla’s piece “America’s Ruling Class – and the Perils of Revolution,” for a brilliant analysis of our rulers (no longer public servants) vs the rest of us.

  30. Jennifer,

    I don’t approve of schools giving vaccines without consent, but Natalie Morton is not a good example in this case. The original news story didn’t highlight that Natalie had been sick for months (which should have been a reason not to vaccinate that day, a separate issue) and merely speculates that her death may have been due to an allergic reaction. The medical examination concluded that she died from a cancerous tumor around her heart. The proximity of her death to the vaccination was coincidence. Follow up BBC story:


  31. Jen, thanks so much for your comment, and for sharing that link. I didn’t know that Nathalie Morton had a tumor (from that BBC article I guess her parents didn’t either). As you mention here, she didn’t die from the vaccine per se but I can’t understand how they could have given her the vaccine in the first place, since she had been in poor health for some time. Maybe the timing wasn’t completely coincidental? Yes she was sick but would she have died at that moment or were the toxins from the vaccine too much for her immune system to overcome?
    .-= Jennifer Margulis´s last blog ..Bankruptcy lawyers cash in- my new article in Oregon Business Magazine =-.

  32. I think it is horrible… I’m dealing with a father who I just found out got my son a flu shot while my son had depressed immunity. He said he was taking him to the doctor because of a cold/cough (I had asked him to inquire about allergy testing) and instead he came out with 2 shots. He promised me that he would not get him any shots without my consent & he totally broke his promise. (I think he’s trying to get back at me for my school choice for our son -which he agreed to) I’ve avoided shots since right before my son’s 1st birthday. I shared the info I was learning then with him. Did he not read it? Or maybe mainstream society & friends are more influential to him now. He needs to respect my decisions as a parent.

    Trying to decide what to do next… I’m planning to write the clinic and have a not in my son’s file that they don’t administer any vaccinations without my consent.

  33. Thank you for this long comment Lorie. I’m glad you shared your opinion here even if it seems that you and I disagree on several major points about this vaccine. I wish I had time to respond at more length. If you would like to read a more detailed article about the dangers and side effects of Gardasil (including death) which includes scientific annotations and is written by a team of experts (like you, I am not an expert about this vaccine), here is a link that answers all of the questions you have raised here and shows why this vaccine is not safe and should not be mandated:

  34. Mercola?! Oy! Thanks for the link, but I don’t have the time or stomach to wade through all the dubious, false, and illegal assertions Mercola makes. Most communicable disease, public health, immunology and toxicology scientists and experts would see Mercola as an extremely poor source of credible information, I am sure.

    Sorry to scold, but if you are going to report on vaccine science, you ought to take all the time required to learn how to distinguish sources of quality scientific information from purveyers of pseudo-science. It’s a rewarding challenge that I have taken on for myself. The stakes for you are fairly high: With your PhD, you could be perceived my many as an authority on whatever you write about, including vaccines even though your degree(s) have nothing to do with science or public health. Unnecessarily scaring people away from vaccines can result in large-scale pain and suffering. (You could at least offer a disclaimer to your readers.)

    Here’s a better Mercola link for you and your readership (not about Gardasil, in particular), written by Dr. Novella, a neurologist devoted to helping the public figure out the facts among all the junk.

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