Mr. Cruickshank, Mr. Cooke, and Ms. English,
I have many concerns about your article HPV Vaccine Gardasil has a dark side and request a response to these seven issues:
1. Mr. Cruickshank stated on CBC Radio As it Happens that “doctors” brought “virtually all of the anecdotes” of claimed vaccine injury to the Toronto Star. Please give the names and credentials of these physicians. Diagnosing vaccine injury is a complex process and there is concern that at least one of the girls featured was diagnosed by a chiropractor. The Star has a duty to inform the public how these cases were identified and what the Star considers a credible medical source for diagnosing vaccine injury.
2. Clarify Dr. Harper’s statements. The quote attributed to her about long-term safety is vague. I’m an OB/GYN and had difficulty understanding if the intention was direct adverse events of the vaccine, the potential unknown risk of vaccinated girls skipping Pap smears, or waning immunity of the vaccine. These are of course very different things. If it was adverse events I request the medical literature to support that claim. Acknowledging that some girls have had pain and suffering is not the same thing as supporting cause and effect for vaccine injury.
3. What specific analysis did the Star complete of the VAERS data?
4. Clarify what really is happening in Japan regarding the state of affairs of vaccinations. In 2013 the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare partially suspended the HPV vaccination program, however, this move was criticized widely by experts. The Japanese Pediatric Society recommends HPV vaccination. Experts have called for reform of the Japanese vaccination system, and not just because of the HPV vaccine decision. In 2013 Japan experienced a massive outbreak of rubella due to a large percentage of unvaccinated males and tragically experienced a return of congenital rubella syndrome. Is this really the kind of vaccination program that the Star suggests Canada should model?
5. Why was one of 63 nationally and internationally recognized medical experts listed in the op-ed Science shows HPV vaccine has no dark side not considered as an expert for the piece?
6. Why was the length of the product monograph mentioned? I am unaware of any data linking the length of a product monograph to drug safety. If you have such data, please present it. As the U.S. monograph is 27 pages and the Canadian one is 61 might it be possible that the Canadian document is twice as long because it has to be in two languages?
7. As the risk of serious adverse events (i.e. the kind of life altering medical events claimed by the girls in the article) is the same as placebo and your investigation amounts of a series of unproven claims with no evidence of causation and your paper has published a piece written by experts in the field saying the vaccine is safe what specific risk is the Toronto Star implying that doctors and nurses are keeping from their patients?
As you claim to be “on the side of science” if you cannot adequately answer these questions then I respectfully submit that the article be retracted. If you can answer all of them, then please correct the online version.
And one suggestion, a future “dark side” story might be why a chiropractor is making the diagnosis of vaccine injury or why some practitioners are prescribing unapproved and dangerous chelation therapy.
Dr. Jen Gunter MD, FRCS(C), FACOG, DABPM