During the latest of what will be a year long parade of circus clowns, Michele Bachmann once again demonstrated not only her ignorance but hatred of her own womanhood when she lashed out at Texas Governor Rick Perry for his school program to vaccinate young girls with Gardisil, that protects against nine strains of the virus, HPV, the major cause of cervical cancer. While taking issue with the possible ulterior motive for the program which he had instituted by an executive order, Bachmann took it a step further alleging that the vaccine is dangerous, “”Little girls who have a negative reaction to this potentially dangerous drug don’t get a mulligan” and “They don’t get a do-over. The parents don’t get a do-over.”
In her post debate interview she went even further making the specious and debunked claim that the vaccine can also cause mental retardation. claiming that a woman had approached after the debate telling her that she had a daughter who suffered mental retardation as a result of that vaccine”, repeating the same nonsense unchallenged in a morning interview. This woman will do and say anything to bolster her fading campaign.
Not that this will put the myths that is being strewn as a factual but here are the facts:
According to a Center for Disease Control page devoted to health concerns surrounding HPV vaccines, 35 million doses of Gardasil were distributed as of June 22, 2011, resulting in 18,727 reports of adverse events. Ninety-two percent of those adverse events were “non-serious” and included things like “fainting, pain, and swelling at the injection site (the arm), headache, nausea, and fever.” Among the serious adverse events were reports of the neurological disorder Guillain-Barré Syndrome, blood clots, and death. There’s no mention on the CDC page of any reports of Gardasil resulting in mental retardation.
Just to double check, we asked Dr. Kevin Ault, an associate professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory University and an investigator in the clinical trials for Gardasil, whether he’s familiar with allegations that Gardasil can result in mental retardation. “I’ve not heard that one before,” he told us. He added that even for the serious adverse effects that have been reported, there’s been no evidence that they were actually caused by Gardasil. “There’s been a nice study from the CDC,” he said, “that basically [showed that] if you compare a group of people who got the vaccine to a group of people who didn’t get the vaccine, all these things are rare and they occur equally” in both groups.