Evening News Uniquely Reports Serious Concerns about Gardasil

July 9th, 2008 4:17 PM

They were a little slow on the pick up but “CBS Evening News” gets credit for finally acknowledging a report that shows serious side effects associated with the vaccine Gardasil, which protects against HPV, a sexually transmitted disease the can cause cancer.

The report, by Sharyll Attkisson, aired July 7 a full week after WorldNet Daily reported the findings.  As CMI’s wonderful intern Julia Seward reported, earlier in the day both the “Early Show” and NBC’s “Today” reported on Gardasil but glossed over the serious side effects contained in the report.

Attkisson’s story did a better job at describing the serious nature of the adverse effects.  While she reported on many she left a few out and managed to apply the conservative label to the group that publicized the report.

ATTKISSON: Gardasil was approved in 2006 for girls as young as age nine. The conservative funded public interest group Judicial Watch has obtained more than 8,000 adverse events reports under Freedom of Information law. The reports reveal everything from massive wart outbreaks to seizures and paralysis. Of 18 deaths, nearly a quarter cited blood clots. Jessica Vega got the shot at school when she was 13. Soon after she was paralyzed. It took a year of braces and treatment to get her on her feet. Brittney Bell was 12. She collapsed with brain inflammation and paralysis. 14-year-old Jenny developed life threatening paralysis that's resistant to treatment.

The WorldNet Daily article also included findings of grand mal seizure, spontaneous abortions, and contraction of Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

Attkisson also did not report that Merck, the maker of Gardasil, had aggressively lobbied states to mandate vaccination of girls as young as nine.

An additional dose of bias was added at the end of the report.  After Attkisson’s story concluded anchor Katie Couric and medical editor Dr. Jon LaPook discussed the anecdotes contained in the story.  Couric called them “pretty scary.”

She asked LaPook what parents should do about their daughters.  He responded, “Katie, this is a vaccine that can prevent cancer, ok, on the one hand.”  Actually it is a vaccine that prevents HPV, human pappillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease, some strains of which may cause cervical cancer.  The mainstream media have religiously called Gardasil a cancer vaccine.

LaPook redeemed himself though by adding a caution in his closing:
On the other hand you have to give all the vaccines, all three vaccines, before the girl is sexually active. They're saying in some cases to give it as early as age nine. You have a vaccine that's only been out there for about two years so what do you do? I think you talk to your doctor and say, "In my own girl's case, is it reasonable to wait a little bit while still being responsible to see if some other side effects happen."