Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

This is not going to be a story about somebody who died. This is about people who died, but not for the attributed cause. The anti-vaccination site Vaccine Impact regularly publishes stories of death attributed to vaccination, and this one wound up in a link on my Facebook feed:

After 3 Years of Suffering 19 Year Old Girl Dies from Gardasil Vaccine Injuries

Kate was very tall for her age and a very accomplished athlete before receiving the Gardasil vaccine. She died at the age of 19 after suffering for years.

And there is additional detail, including a plug for the film VAXXED and links to other horror stories. What the article does not disclose is Kate’s last name, but you can get it from watching a video linked on the page. Her name is Kate Wright, and a Google search on “Kate Wright Gardasil vaccine” brings up details not available from Vaccine Impact.

The only one of my search results that turned up Kate Wright’s case was the one on Vaccine Impact. A significant body of the remainder pointed to  the false claims being made by the anti-vaccine movement, regarding Gardasil in particular. Snopes has an item about a different Gardasil case:

On 11 August 2014, the alternative medicine web site Health Impact News posted an inaccurate and poorly documented article entitled “Gardasil Vaccine: One More Girl Dead,” which blamed the death of 12-year-old Meredith Prohaska of Waukesha, Wisconsin — whose mother had found her face-down on the floor and unresponsive six hours after being vaccinated on 30 July 2014 — on the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil:

Snopes continues with a dissection of the Wisconsin case. The girl did receive a Gardasil vaccination, and she did subsequently die. However, the coroner’s examination  found the girl died from other causes:

This proved true in the Meredith Prohaska case. In October 2014, the Waukesha County medical examiner announced that an autopsy found no evidence that the vaccination caused or contributed to the girl’s death. The actual cause of death was determined to be diphenhydramine intoxication — diphenhydramine being an antihistamine drug, the main ingredient in over-the-counter medications such as Benadryl. Somehow (the details of the manner of death weren’t made public), the girl had ingested a fatal overdose of the drug.

Health Impact News published its story before the coroner’s findings were reported, and they never followed up with a correction.

Some background may be useful. I obtained this from Wikipedia:

  • HPV is the human papillomavirus.
  • HPV infection is a sexually-transmitted disease.
  • Nearly all cervical cancer cases are due to HPV infection.
  • In 2012 266,000 deaths resulted from cervical cancer, taken to be a typical year.
  • Gardasil 9 is Gardasil variant that protects against nine different types of the HPV and will prevent 90% of cases of cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer is treatable, and mortality rates vary from 59% to 67%, along a racial divide. It can be assumed that untreated cervical cancer will prove fatal,  since the cancer will metastasize. Sound advice is available from additional sources. This from Forbes, which includes the following:

Here Is How We Know Gardasil Has Not Killed 100 People

And another interesting take:

Regarding the supposedly damning video interview with Jenny Thompson of Health Sciences Institute:

Note that this video deals primarily with subjects such as the political and moral issues involved with requiring HPV vaccinations for young girls, the notion that vaccinated girls might mistakenly believe they had been immunized against contracting sexually transmitted diseases (other than HPV), and the claim that cervical cancer deaths can be effectively eliminated through means other than HPV vaccinations. It offers no real evidence that Gardasil vaccinations are dangerous other than to cite the raw VAERS data referenced above (without noting that analysis of those reports failed to establish a causal link between HPV vaccinations and the reported serious adverse events).

Both the above refer to VAERS, which is the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

Vaccination against HPV is most effective when administered to young girls, and it is often given free in public schools. To the extent the anti-vaccine campaign prevents girls from getting the vaccine, some those unvaccinated will die from cervical cancer, another case of dying to believe.

Advertisements

One thought on “Dying to Believe

  1. Pingback: Dying to Believe | Skeptical Analysis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s