A proposed California bill, AB 659, would require public college students under 26 to receive the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine in order to attend college.1 The bill originally proposed mandating the shot for middle schoolers, as a requirement to enter eighth grade.
This was amended and it now proposes a requirement for schools to notify parents that their children “are expected” to get the HPV vaccine before entering 8th grade at any public or private school in the state.2 While HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S.,3 there is much fearmongering about its role in cancer — and the HPV vaccine causes more harm than good in many who take it.
Mandating an HPV vaccine to attend college threatens health freedom, and the idea that it’s necessary to protect public health is far more propaganda than science.
The Truth About HPV — It’s Usually Not Harmful
There are more than 200 types of HPV, and most of them are harmless. Most people who are sexually active contract HPV during their lifetime. In more than 90% of cases, the HPV infection resolves on its own within two years.4 What’s more, HPV antibodies are left behind that may prevent against reinfection.
About 40 HPV types may cause anogenital infections, while 15 are considered high-risk types associated with cervical cancer. “In the general female U.S. population, the prevalence of HPV 16 and 18 infections, considered the most frequent and most aggressive, is only 2.3%,” researchers explained in the Journal of Vaccines & Vaccination.5
In the cases when HPV doesn’t clear up on its own, infection can become chronic. Over the course of years, precancerous cervical lesions may develop. It’s estimated that only 5% of high-risk HPV infections persist beyond three years and progress into cancer precursors. From there, if left untreated, 20% may turn into invasive cancer after five years, while 40% may turn into invasive cancer after 30 years.6
However, this is why it’s recommended that women get regular Pap tests, also known as Pap smears, which collect cervical cells and check them for signs of changes caused by HPV. If the test comes back abnormal, treatment is available to remove the abnormal cervical cells.
According to the National Cancer Institute, “Very few people who are screened for cervical cancer at routine intervals develop cervical cancer. Screening can find cervical changes early, which can lower a person’s chance of dying from cervical cancer.”7
Nonetheless, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Gardasil 9, which is the only HPV vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the U.S.,8 “for routine vaccination at age 11 or 12 years,” although the shots may be started as young as 9.
Further, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends the HPV vaccine for everyone through age 26 if they didn’t get the shot when they were younger.9 But in the review of Gardasil published in the Journal of Vaccines & Vaccination, researchers wrote:10
“Gardasil can only offer women participating in [pap] screening programs a 10 percent reduction in abnormal Pap tests with a resultant 20 percent decrease in colposcopies and a 42 percent decrease in treatments.”
HPV Vaccine Risks Are Well-Documented
As of March 31, 2023, there were more than 73,302 adverse reactions from HPV vaccines listed in the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).11 This includes 623 related deaths, 7,400 hospitalizations and 3,530 disabling conditions. More than half the serious adverse events (56%) occurred in youth aged 6 to 17 years. Due to the low VAERS reporting rates, this may represent only 1% of the cases.
In the U.S., there is a federally operated vaccine injury compensation program (VICP) that Congress created under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., handles contested vaccine injury and death cases in what has become known as “vaccine court.”
As of April 1, 2023, there have been 766 claims filed with the VICP relating to injuries and deaths after HPV vaccination. The claims involve 20 deaths and 746 serious injuries, but fewer than one-third of the claims have been compensated, according to the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC).12
Reported side effects of Gardasil vaccination include immune-based inflammatory neurodegenerative disorders, suggesting something is causing the immune system to overreact in a detrimental way, sometimes fatally.13,14 As noted by NVIC:15
“For example, an HPV vaccine injury claim was filed and awarded by the VICP for Christina Tarsell. Christina was a 21-year-old college student majoring in studio arts at Bard College when she received a series of three Gardasil shots.
A talented athlete, artist and honor roll student, she died suddenly and without explanation shortly after the third shot in June 2008. Ten years later, in 2018, the government conceded the case and awarded compensation to her mother for Christina’s vaccine-related death.”16
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HPV Vaccine May Lead to Autoimmune Syndrome
The dangers of high immunogenicity were addressed in my 2015 interview with Lucija Tomljenovic, Ph.D., a research scientist at the University of British Columbia. In it, she explains that by triggering an exaggerated inflammatory immune response, vaccine adjuvants end up affecting brain function.
In collaboration with a team led by professor Yehuda Shoenfeld, a world expert in autoimmune diseases who heads the Zabludowicz Autoimmunity Research Centre at the Sheba Hospital in Israel, Tomljenovic has demonstrated how the HPV vaccine can cause brain autoimmune disorders. It was these findings that prompted the Japanese government to remove the HPV vaccine from its list of recommended vaccines.17
Shoenfeld used the term autoimmune syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA) to describe autoimmune conditions that may be triggered by exposure to a vaccine or other stimuli. A team of researchers from Italy explained in the EPMA Journal:18
“This syndrome is characterized by the appearance of myalgia, myositis, muscle weakness, arthralgia, arthritis, chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, cognitive impairment, and memory loss …
The adjuvants added into vaccines can induce a non-specific activation of the immune system with a subsequent expansion of autoreactive (in our case, myelin specific) lymphocytes that may be further accelerated by defective regulatory cells/circuits, in genetically susceptible individuals.
… In the 2016, we retrospectively described a case series including 18 girls (aged 12–24 years) for the evaluation of “neuropathy with autonomic dysfunction” immediately after HPV vaccine …
All girls complained of long-lasting and invalidating somatoform symptoms of the recently described ASIA syndrome (including asthenia, headache, cognitive dysfunctions, myalgia, sinus tachycardia, and skin rashes) that have developed 1–5 days, 5–15 days, and 15–20 days after the last dose vaccination.
The HPV vaccine formula contains aluminum … but also high polysorbate 80 (50 mcg) concentration that might also induce a greater meningeal permeability leading to a facilitated entrance of many substances to the CNS [central nervous system]. Based upon these observations, it might be speculated that HPV vaccine could induce some abnormal activation of immune competent cells in the CNS, such as the glia.”
Have Cervical Cancer Rates Decreased — or Increased?
The HPV vaccine is misleadingly referred to as a tool to prevent cancer. Even California’s proposed bill AB659 is known as the Cancer Prevention Act.19 But does the vaccine actually reduce cancer cases?
A CDC study suggested that incidence rates of cervical squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and adenocarcinoma (AC) declined since the introduction of the HPV vaccine, but this was among women aged 15 to 20 years, who don’t typically receive cervical cancer screening or get cervical cancer.20 There are an average of 14 cervical cancer cases in 15- to 19-year-olds annually in the U.S., to put this into perspective.21
This simply doesn’t show the whole picture, including whether or not HPV shots are preventing cancer as claimed. Instead, a “troubling spike” in advanced cervical cancer cases has been noted.22 As reported in the December 2022 issue of the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer:23
“Over the last 18 years [2001 through 2018], 29,715 women were diagnosed with distant stage cervical carcinoma … When examining the trends over time, there has been an annual increase in distant stage cervical cancer at a rate of 1.3% per year. The largest increase is seen in cervical adenocarcinoma with an average annual percent change of 2.9%.”
There’s even evidence suggesting HPV vaccination makes women more susceptible than their nonvaccinated peers to HPV genotypes not covered by the vaccine.24 Due to a phenomenon known as “clinical unmasking,” it appears that women who received the HPV vaccine may be more vulnerable to infection by other cancer-causing HPV strains.
This “could attenuate long-term reductions in high-grade disease following successful implementation of HPV vaccination programs in screened populations,” according to the study, published in The Lancet Oncology.25
Trial data from Merck even shows that Gardasil may actually increase your risk of cervical cancer by 44.6% if you have been exposed to certain HPV strains, such as 16 or 18, prior to vaccination.26 According to a Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee background document regarding Gardasil concerns:27
“One was the potential for Gardasil™ to enhance disease among a subgroup of subjects who had evidence of persistent infection with vaccine-relevant HPV types at baseline.
The other concern was the observations of CIN 2/3 [abnormal precancerous cervical cells] or worse cases due to HPV types not contained in the vaccine. These cases of disease due to other HPV types have the potential to counter the efficacy results of Gardasil™ for the HPV types contained in the vaccine.”
What’s the Best Way to Avoid Cervical Cancer?
Mandates for the HPV vaccine have no place in public health. There are multiple ways to reduce your risk of HPV infection, as well as cervical cancer, without risking adverse health effects from the vaccine. To avoid contracting HPV, practice safe sex, including using condoms during sexual activity. This can reduce the risk of HPV infection by 70%,28 which is far more effective than the HPV vaccine.
Further, women should get regular Pap smears once sexually active, and get treatment if you test positive for HPV infection or abnormal cervical cells. Remember, it’s the long-term, untreated infections that usually trigger cancer, and these are typically easily caught and treated with regular Pap smears.