I thank the committee for allowing me to provide additional information relating to my request for a round-table discussion to be held in Edinburgh between scientists and medical professionals from both sides of the HPV vaccine safety debate.
I speak today on behalf of not only the UK Association of HPV Vaccine Injured Daughters, whose lives have been turned upside down after HPV vaccine administration, but each of the 2,019 people from 55 countries who have signed the petition because they are having similar experiences and support open scientific discussion. Our association, which was organised at the beginning of this year when it became apparent that we needed to co-ordinate everyone’s individual efforts as a group, represents families from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland and operates under the banner of the UK Association of HPV Vaccine Injured Daughters.
As a group, we have been able to receive greater publicity, and increased awareness has caused our membership to grow by leaps and bounds. Our initial group of 60 members has expanded to 208 and rising. Despite the fact that Scotland accounts for only 8 per cent of the UK population, 15 per cent of the association’s members come from it. We do not know how many others are out there, but for now there appears to be no end in sight. A senior politician in Ireland, Paschal Mooney, recently made an impassioned plea to Irish Government officials regarding the Irish HPV vaccination programme, the lack of informed consent and the devastating effects on young girls around the country. Specifically, he mentioned Irish girls being admitted to psychiatric hospitals following HPV vaccinations.
Japan has rescinded the Government recommendations for HPV vaccines and has initiated studies to determine whether there is a causal relationship between HPV vaccines and adverse outcomes as well as a 21-year study to determine whether HPV vaccines have an impact on cervical cancer diagnosis rates. On 31 October, the national association of HPV-adverse sufferers in Denmark is hosting an HPV vaccine information symposium to bring families together with medical professionals, health authorities and legal professionals to explore treatment options and potential legal remedies. Denmark has recently made the decision to change from Gardasil to Cervarix as the HPV vaccine of choice. In the past week, at the urging of Liselott Blixt, a Danish politician with a Gardasil-injured daughter, the Danish Government has set aside 7 million krone to conduct an independent investigation into the HPV vaccine and its side effects.
Our association is in the process of compiling information for the European Medicines Agency’s consideration in its safety assessment of HPV vaccines. Of the 88 family reports analysed to date, 68 per cent reported that their daughters experienced health problems serious enough to interfere with their education; 24 per cent reported symptoms so severe that their daughters could no longer participate in educational activities; 70 per cent required help with daily care; and a full 91 per cent reported being told that their daughters’ medical conditions were psychological in origin.
On that last point, it is interesting to note that national health authorities in Denmark, Norway, Japan, France, Spain and many other countries have led doctors and other vaccine administrators to believe that any new medical conditions experienced after HPV vaccine administration are most likely psychosomatic. Consequently, as many UK families have experienced, the average medical health professional faced with a patient exhibiting symptoms that they have never seen before and which do not fit neatly into any current diagnostic criteria naturally assumes that they are psychological problems.
I put forward the following facts for the committee’s consideration. According to the insert in the package for Merck’s Gardasil 9, which is the new vaccine that is coming in, 3.3 per cent of participants who were given Gardasil, which was used as the control during the most recent clinical trials, experienced new medical conditions potentially indicative of auto-immune disorders. That works out at 3,300 per 100,000 recipients. According to a press release from Sanofi Pasteur MSD dated 17 June 2015, 183 million doses of Gardasil have been distributed worldwide. If we use Merck’s own clinical trial percentage, we see that there could be as many as 6,000,039 girls around the world suffering autoimmune conditions, which could very well influence their health for the rest of their lives.
According to the World Cancer Research Foundation, 528,000 cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed worldwide in 2012. Is this worth the risk? I am very much aware that HPV vaccines are controversial and that this information puts Scotland at a crossroads with a very difficult decision to make. Do we accept what the manufacturer and its list of experts are saying and assume that HPV vaccines are safe and effective and that there just happens to be an epidemic of psychosomatic disorders spreading around the world, affecting certain young people who have one thing in common: they were injected with the HPV vaccine? Do we listen to experts from both sides, try to discover exactly what the situation is and make every effort we can to get the problem solved? Do we sweep all these families under the proverbial psychological disorder carpet and ignore their misery, or do we treat them with the dignity and respect that they deserve by using every means at our disposal to identify those at risk of serious adverse reactions and to develop successful treatment protocols for those who are already suffering?
Please demonstrate to the world that Scotland is still a country that does not ignore the suffering of innocents, and show the world Scotland is not afraid to hold open and honest scientific discussions, no matter how controversial the subject might be.