I remember when the Gardasil phenomenon first started. Commercials for the vaccine were played on MTV approximately every three seconds, and within weeks, everyone I knew was rushing to the gynecologist for their three doses. And why wouldn’t they? The commercials and doctors promised that the vaccine would prevent cervical cancer and who wouldn’t deal with the momentary pain of a shot when it comes with a promise like that?
For the few of you who haven’t had your doctor insist you get it (if there are even any of you out there), Gardasil is the vaccine that promises to help prevent certain kinds of HPV, including the two types of the virus that are often the cause of cervical cancer. Because there are no real symptoms of HPV, it has become an epidemic and doctors have urged patients to protect themselves with this revolutionary injection.
But while the vaccine can do amazing things, it has also devastated thousands of lives.
I know so many people, from my best friend to my 9-year-old cousin, who have gotten the Gardasil vaccine and have had nothing but positive results. My own parents have been on my case about getting vaccinated since they day I got accepted to college. They even scheduled my appointment, but the night before a friend cautioned me against taking the injection. Upon doing some research, I discovered that there have been over seventy Gardasil related deaths, and more and more reports are surfacing about the devastating affects of this drug.
Just take the story of seventeen-year-old Kahlia who spent a month in the hospital after experiencing strange and scary symptoms, including numbness in her body and severe swelling in her limbs that turned her leg purple and left her unable to walk. Doctors performed every test imaginable on Kahlia and couldn’t determine a cause. To this day, no one can come up with a solid cause for her symptoms but doctors have linked them to the Gardasil vaccine which she received just days before her ordeal began.
And Kahlia isn’t alone. There are many other girls, known as “Gardasil Girls,” who have had their lives turned upside down upon receiving the vaccine. The most common symptoms include chronic nausea and vomiting, fainting, and seizures, but there are many more severe side effects as well. Sure, these things are all listed in the fine print, but when you’ve got a doctor urging you to get the vaccine, how often do any of us really look at that?
It seems like we are so concerned about the consequences of sexual activity that we fail to recognize the ways we may be comprising our health by trying to prevent things like STDs, viruses, and unwanted pregnancy. It happened to CollegeCandy writer Caitlin; she got a life threatening blood clot from birth control. She had heard that blood clots were possible on the pill, but she (and most of us) was made to believe that it was a non-issue when her doctor handed her a prescription for the pill. Even the seemingly innocuous “morning after pill” has some pretty serious side effects, like changes in menstrual cycle and severe pain.
It’s stories like these that make me think that we all need to do more research before we subject ourselves to these potential dangers.
I won’t tell you to avoid any of these things at all cost, but I will urge you to really dig around before you choose a course of action regarding any vaccines, pills, or medical treatments. ALWAYS read the fine print, make sure you aren’t allergic to any ingredients, and consult with a doctor first. If it isn’t the right choice for you, it could literally ruin your life.