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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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Tags: adverse reactions to vaccines, Gardasil, HPV, human papillomavirus, Merck & Co., safety of vaccine, should 12-year-olds get the HPV vaccine?, vaccine safety, vaccines


Comments (41)

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’s Next State Senator =-.
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 =-.
Wow. This should not even remotely be a mandatory vaccine. This is up to parent and child. It should be optional--like the decision to use a condom. .-= Alisa Bowman´s last blog ..How to Deal with Control Issues =-.
Wow. I remember the Natalie Morton case. I had thought things would have changed after that, but apparently not. As the mother of two girls, this is an issue that strikes very close to home. .-= Christine´s last blog ..Gather- pleat- smock- and sew =-.
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.
At first I thought ... maybe "regular" vaccines or even "flu shots," but this one ??? Wow. Not ok in my book. .-= Roxanne´s last blog ..Weekly Dog Training Update Sept 3 =-.
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).
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 =-.
Sheryl and Kris...they ARE trying to push the HPV vaccine on boys! http://cancer.about.com/od/hpvvaccine/a/hpv_vaccine_boys.htm
That's just crazy that they can do this without a parent's consent. And I don't mind saying it again - Crazy! .-= Jane Boursaw´s last blog ..New Movie Friday- Going the Distance- Machete- The American- What If… =-.
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.
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!
Scary stuff. Having no daughters, I've not researched it, but it certainly seems beyond the pale to be injecting people's kids with ANYTHING without parental consent. .-= Melanie´s last blog ..DIY Emergency Survival Kit =-.
Information about HPV: http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 =-.
Mothering › Child Articles › In Britain 12-Year-Olds Vaccinated Without Parental Consent