Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lancet Article Recognizes Impact Social Advocacy Groups Have on HPV Vaccination Programs

North Hollywood, CA, September 27, 2010 — In the August 2010 issue of The Lancet, an article titled: The India HPV-vaccine suspension by Heidi J Larson, Pauline Brocard, Geoffrey Garnett of the Institute for Global Health, Imperial College London noted the impact global advocacy groups concerned about the safety and efficacy of the HPV vaccines has had on the success of immunization programs worldwide.

According to the authors, “We need to find new ways to engage the public, early on, in health research and in the design and delivery of health programmes. That approach includes taking the time to listen to societal concerns, public emotions, and politics that can derail programmes or research.”

The efforts of SAMA, India’s Resource Group for Women and Health, http://www.samawomenshealth.org/ were cited in the article for their well-designed efforts to force the Indian government to halt the HPV vaccination trials until an independent inquiry of the deaths and adverse injuries to Indian girls was conducted.  A panel of medical professionals was gathered - without representation by members of SAMA or the other 68 social and political organizations that pressured the Indian government. According to The Hindu, India’s national newspaper “…Information on the demonstration project and licensing of two vaccines to prevent cervical cancer has been exempted from public disclosure under Section 8 of the Right to Information Act, 2005.” (8/09/10)

However, the damage has been done - and global efforts by groups around the world questioning whether the vaccine is safe, necessary and effective is mounting daily, according to Norma Erickson, Chairman of the Board for S.A.N.E Vax, http://sanevax.org/. “Never before has a global community come together to create a world-wide movement putting pressure on the media, governments and the pharmaceutical companies demanding for an independent study into the safety and efficacy of Gardasil/Silgard and Cervarix.”

In the face of a dictum issued by the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius who stated in the February 2010 issue of Readers Digest, “There are groups out there that insist that vaccines are responsible for a variety of problems despite all scientific evidence to the contrary. We have reached out to media outlets to try to get them to not give the views of these people equal weight in their reporting to what science has shown and continues to show about the safety of vaccines;” the public outcry in the United States is rising - affecting the numbers of girls getting vaccinated.

Alicia Capilla, founder of AAVP; Association of Affected Young Women by HPV Vaccine, in Spain agrees. “I can tell you that the work we have done in Spain has decreased HPV vaccination uptake numbers.”

The Mothers’ Alliance Ireland (MAI) has spent almost a decade researching the HPV/cervical cancer link and is now actively protesting mandatory vaccination of adolescent girls. MAI and concerned mothers from various counties throughout Ireland have written letters to the media, passed out information leaflets, held public meetings and contacted public health officials and politicians protesting this legislation.

The Lancet article states: As far as these groups were concerned, their arguments were evidence-based. Some of the points made by the advocacy groups and a member of parliament are generally reasonable: calling for increased funds for health, maximising investment in priority health issues, ensuring the safety of health interventions, communicating clearly and honestly any risks, and conducting ethical processes in research.”

The article concludes with the statement, “We might not always understand them, but we cannot ignore them.” This statement can be flipped to the other side… the social advocacy groups may not always understand the pharmaceuticals and government’s motives - but the evidence based research and the increasing numbers of adversely injured and the deaths will not be ignored.

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