Gardasil, the cervical cancer vaccine that has been at the center of increasing controversy, recently became the topic of concern for several University of San Francisco doctors. In last week’s New England Journal of Medicine, doctors warned against wide-spread use of the vaccine until further testing is completed.
The doctors raise many questions about the effectiveness and long-term safety of the drug, and call into serious doubt that states like California will be able to successfully require vaccination against cervical cancer. The vaccine, produced by Merck, was approved by the FDA in 2006 for broader use, but concerns remain that Gardasil treats only certain types of cancer-causing viruses and that the long term effects of the vaccine on women is unknown.
As a parent with three daughters, I’m inclined to go ahead and vaccinate my kids when the times comes. But concerns raised by these doctors and others reinforces the importance of longitudinal studies to see the real impact of Gardasil on women’s long-term health.