An Open Letter to Merck about Gardasil~ Did you know?

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Dear Merck,

I know it has been out a while, but I just saw your “Did you know?” commercial, which is meant to guilt parents into having their children vaccinated for HPV.

Well played. Very well played.

It is almost like you realize there are around 74 million children in the United States, and if we get them all vaccinated, you will be paid 390-450 dollars per kid. My calculator doesn’t have enough zeros to show that kind of profit.

You had me there for a few moments with the young woman in her wedding dress and the bright eyed teenage boy who reminds me so much of my own. What parent wants their child to grow up and develop cancer? Who wouldn’t want to protect their child from cancer if they could?

“You didn’t know right Mom? Right Dad? You didn’t know you could protect me from cancer. Now I have cancer because I had HPV.”

Again, congrats on an advertising campaign that will send parents running to their pediatrician for the Gardasil vaccine. But I have a few questions for you Merck:

Did YOU know:

Did you know that there are over 100 types of HPV? 30 of them are sexually transmitted, but only 15 can lead to cervical cancer. Your vaccine only covers nine. For an HPV vaccine, you could do better.

Did you know when you released the original vaccine that only prevented four types of HPV, that you would be increasing the chances of contracting the other strains of HPV for 60% of those girls? What else don’t you know?

Did you know that if a child has been exposed to HPV-16 or -18 before they get a Gardasil shot, that they may increase their risk of precancerous lesions by 44.6 percent? Of course you know, it was your research that showed it. Sounds weird to say child there doesn’t it? Since we are talking about a sexually transmitted disease. But that leads me to my next question…

Did you know that Gardasil is only shown to be effective for six years? The CDC recommends the vaccine for all children 11-12 years of age. These children will only be “protected” (from the nine strains of HPV the vaccine helps prevent) until they are 17 or 18. You know what they won’t be protected from? Pregnancy, HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, any other STD, or the emotional trauma of having a sexual relationship at a time when they are not mature enough.

Did you know that as of March 2015 the HPV vaccine had more than 35,000 REPORTED adverse reactions, including more than 200 deaths? I already know your answer to this one: we can’t conclusively prove that Gardasil caused the deaths of those children. Sometimes people just die right? Well, not usually, and definitely not children.

Did you know these kids who were all injured by Gardasil: hundreds of children who were permanently injured through no fault of their own?

Did you know Colton Berrett a vibrant teenage boy, much like the one in your commercial, who died this year as a result of the HPV vaccine?

Colton Berrett before his death

Did you know these women who were disabled by Gardasil?

Did you know that we can prevent 100% of sexually transmitted diseases in young children by being parents and taking responsibility for their safety? Did you know we can do that with no side effects or dangers whatsoever?

Did you know we can educate our teenagers to make good decisions for themselves? I’ve read that parents who don’t want the Gardasil vaccine are just afraid of talking about sex with their kids. My kids have known about sex in an age appropriate way since they were small.  It seems to me that we want our younger children to shoulder too much, while we act like our teens aren’t capable of any responsibility. At some point, they must learn to be responsible.

Let’s be clear: Gardasil is NOT a cancer vaccine. I pray that the day comes when there is a vaccine for cancer. Today is not that day. I vaccinate my kids, but I will not be giving them the HPV vaccine.

“You didn’t know right Mom? Right Dad? You didn’t know you could protect me from cancer. Now I have cancer because I had HPV.”

For my child

Yes, I know.

I know, and I choose to give you a childhood. Sexually transmitted diseases should never be a concern for children. Don’t worry, mom’s got this! Run, play, be silly. Be a child. It only comes around once.

For my teenager

I know, and I choose to educate you on how to make wise choices for your life and your health.

I will teach this right along with other dangers common to teenagers.  I am building strong, confident, wise teenagers. I am raising teenagers who are fully equipped to be responsible for their own health.

For all the other parents out there who want to make good choices for their children

I will not be pressured into giving my children a potentially dangerous, and likely ineffective vaccine because Merck wants me to feel guilty and fearful. I pray that you don’t either.

If you choose to vaccinate your child for HPV, you should do so fully knowing the risks and benefits. You should do so because it is what you know is right for YOUR family.

Never let yourself be pressured by heavy-handed, shameless marketing from a drug company.




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