Seven years ago, parental rights came under assault with the introduction of a new vaccine. The government failed to recognize parents’ right to opt out of the vaccination through exemptions. A parent has the right to decide what is in his or her child’s best interest after examining the risks and benefits of a vaccination. Yet, in 2012, the government waged a war against parents who wanted to opt out of a new vaccination. The government wanted to force this vaccination on the children. State governors considered making this vaccination mandatory, despite its significant risks and side effects. The side effects and risks associated with the vaccination far outweigh its benefits. Furthermore, the vaccine allegedly provides protection for a sexually transmitted disease, the human papillomavirus (HPV).

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HPV occurs as a result of possible sexual transmission. While there are greater than 100 strains of HPV, thirty-five to forty of them occur from sexual contact. Fifteen strains may cause cervical cancer and genital warts if the infection persists. However, ninety percent of HPV cases resolve over time without any complications. Normally in women, the infection clears by itself within a two-year period. The cervical cells then return to normal. Most times, the disease is asymptomatic; most individuals do not even know they have the disease. HPV actually represents an extremely common infection with no side effects for most strains. The HPV vaccination offers protection against the two strains of HPV (HPV-16 and HPV-18) that cause cancer. It also protects against two strains that cause genital warts in males between the ages of nine to twenty-six. The vaccine requires a series of three shots over a six-month period.

Gardasil was the first vaccine introduced to protect against this virus. The FDA licensed it in 2006 for use on girls eleven- and twelve-years of age. On October 25, 2011, the Centers for Disease Control Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices voted to give the HPV vaccine to males between the ages of 11-21. They also recommended it for gay and bisexual males to offer some protection against genital warts and cancers of the rectum and penis. In 2009, the vaccine, Cervarix, became licensed as well. Like Gardasil, Cervarix is a vaccine that allegedly stops infection from HPV.

Despite the recommendations, parents across the U.S. resisted the vaccination of their children due to its significant and risky side effects. The side effects include blood clots, acute respiratory failure, and even sudden death after receiving the vaccination. Many girls also faint immediately after receiving the vaccination. Fainting, or syncope, is not recognized as a normal side effect for vaccinations. Often, these girls do not recover quickly after fainting. Some wonder if there is something pathological in the vaccination to cause this fainting. Parents have described brain damage and epilepsy developing in girls shortly after receiving the vaccination. As of August, 13, 2012, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) posted 894 reports of disability, 517 life-threatening adverse events, 9,889 emergency room visits, and 2,781 hospitalizations as a result of the vaccination. Parents need to be concerned that a mandate can possibly subject their children to such significant health risks.

Jenny Stokvis, a VAERS research analyst from the Netherlands, possesses data that reports a dramatic and recent increase in abnormal pap smears, cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer following the HPV vaccination. Some of these reports show cervical abnormalities occurring just four to five years after the HPV vaccination. Normally, cervical cancer occurs when a woman reaches her late forties. However, this data indicates abnormalities in girls and young women from ages fourteen to twenty-six. This data implies that the vaccination changes the cells in the body. One needs to question how this vaccination truly affects the body. Perhaps the body’s immune system and cells respond dangerously to the vaccination.

Dr. Diane Harper, a lead researcher for Gardasil, blew the whistle on this vaccine. She raised serious questions about the vaccine’s risk-benefits profile. According to Dr. Harper’s research, data suggests the vaccine’s efficacy does not even last beyond 5 years. However, despite this, the side effects are tremendous. In a 2009 interview with CBS news, she stated “…enough serious side effects have been reported after Gardasil use that the vaccine could prove riskier than the cervical cancer it purports to prevent. Cervical cancer is usually entirely curable when detected early through normal Pap screenings.”

In an August, 2009 New York Times article, E. Rosenthal states, “For some couples, the vaccine has raised agonizing questions over how to safeguard their children’s health. Phillip and Barbara Tetlock, both professors at the University of California at Berkeley, are asking whether Gardasil shots that their daughter, Jenny, received last year contributed to her illness, an extremely rare form of progressive paralysis that has left her bed bound and needing assistance to breathe at age 14.”

States make vaccination policies. Parents need to address their concerns and issues with mandatory vaccinations at the state level. Parents need to protect their rights as a parent. Parents do not need to opt out of all vaccinations for children; many vaccinations offer life-saving benefits. They do need to opt out of vaccinations that can harm their children. The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) helps parents make a difference at the state level to protect the right to vaccine exemptions. They provide the steps, tools, and web links necessary to connect with the state’s elected officials. The government does not know what is in the best interest for a child; the parent knows. Therefore, the parent should be allowed to make these vital decisions.