Cervix cancer vaccine may be ineffective
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|Tue, 12-09-2008 - 11:05am|
Cervix cancer vaccine may be ineffective, say scientists
BERLIN -- Findings by several German scientists suggest there is insufficient proof that the vaccine against cervical cancer is effective.
Thirteen researchers at the Public Health Institute at the University of Bielefeld have urged the German Standing Vaccination Committee, which advises the German government on vaccination practices, to re-examine the vaccination against human papilloma virus.
The researchers found that the results of different studies contradicted many optimistic, official findings.
The researchers made the plea in a joint statement.
“I would like to read a serious publication that claims cervical cancer has been reduced in any country due to the vaccination,” says Professor Martina Doeren of Berlin’s Charite Hospital.
Doeren is one of the researchers who signed the statement questioning the vaccine’s effectiveness and said there was a “huge discrepancy” between the results of scientific studies and hitherto-published figures.
Doeren says she wishes the claims made on behalf of the vaccine were true, but at present there is no evidence to confirm them.
The researchers have criticized the Standing Vaccination Committee’s advice that girls between the ages of 12 and 17 should receive the vaccination.
“There is only evidence to show the vaccine can prevent the preliminary stages of cervical cancer in girls between 15 and 17 but not in the 12 to 14 age group,” according to the statement.
But in response to the researchers’ request for more exact data, manufacturers of the vaccine said the data was only available to scientists who were directly involved with their analysis.
Doeren has also criticized the cost of providing the vaccine to the public. The lack of evidence did not justify the several hundred million dollars it costs to provide the drug, she said and suggested the vaccine was part of a marketing campaign putting enormous pressure on women.
The virus that causes cervical cancer is spread during sexual intercourse. However, there is hardly any attempt to make men aware of the issue, said Doeren.