126 thoughts on “HPV Vaccine for Boys

  1. @WLU – The problem with engaging Thing1 andThing2 to refute misinformation is that it results in hydra-esk postings of more and more misinformation.

    Please don’t feed the misinformation troll.

  2. lilady says:

    Please do not feed ignorant, delusional, health-care-professional-wannabe, disease-promoting troll. Odious Thingy troll craves attention and engagement and attempts to derail every thread with its brain droppings.

  3. weing says:

    What do you expect? It can’t brush its teeth, chew gum, or take a crap because of the bacteremia. The crap has to come out as brain droppings.

  4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Like these are intentional acts for promoting infection and therefore a must? And newborns are oftentimes exposed to these how?

    Nope, merely the observation that many infectious agents enter the body through the skin. As for how often are babies exposed to these agents – seriously? Do you seal your children in plastic until they can vote? All children bleed at some point, not to mention breathing.

    As for vaccine-derived diseases, all vaccines have side effects including causing the very disease they are meant to prevent. But due to the process used to develop and review the effectiveness of the vaccine, they invariably far, far fewer than the diseases they prevent. There is no way to ensure a human being is 100% protected from disease, let alone any injury. Statistically the viruses used today are a clear, clear win. In fact, safety may go too far with effective vaccines being pulled because of extremely low associations with harm (for instance, the switch from live to killed polio vaccines). I can’t argue with many of your facts, but I will point out that they do not exist in a vaccum and scientists already know about them. Vaccination schedules are made up of committees with dozens of experts on them, with a common empirical understanding of the immune system – your counterargument is a true Gish gallop of half-truths, misleading statements and outright crazy. I’ll happily trust the CDC over a crowd of tinfoil-hat wearing idiots who think formaldehyde is foreign to the body.

    And what do you think would happen upon subsequent re-exposure? Do you think the person would feel revitalized and energetic or will he end up in the hospital because of re-infection?

    Subsequent re-exposure to any antigen results in a rapid, massive immune response that is far more effective than the response induced by vaccination. This is not just standard immunology, it’s the very reason vaccines are used. The only reason someone would end up in the hospital is because there is something seriously wrong with them – unrelated to the vaccine.

    Re: Jenner, since there was no such thing as scientific medicine or doctors in the contemporary sense, you can’t really compare him to the epidemiologists, virologists, bacteriologists, medical doctors and other highly educated people that determine the vaccination schedule today. It’s like criticizing Crusaders for not using more Predator drones during their attempts to conquer Jerusalem. It’s in fact much like all of your claims – a blind alley of deliberately misleading information. I hope it’s deliberately misleading, because if you actually think you’re making a valid point, I can only hope you are not a parent.

  5. Matt Roman says:

    Penile squamous cell carcinoma is linked to HPV targeted by these vaccines.
    Does vaccinating uncircumcised boys for HPV put a dent in one of your most cherished arguments for circumsision?
    Only time will tell, but I hope that the science-based approach of considering possible outcomes without the need for thorough data, based mostly on our understanding of medicine and science of the time, will influence your opinion on the subject before the decades required for such data give a definite answer.

  6. Harriet Hall says:

    @ Matt Roman,

    I don’t have any “cherished arguments” for circumcision. I simply tried to present what scientific evidence was available pro and con. I thought I made it clear in my circumcision article that I don’t have an “opinion.” I even said I had never decided what I would do if I had a baby boy. Incidentally, 13 countries in Africa are on a campaign to circumcise 80% of men to reduce the transmission of AIDS. Is it worth it? I don’t know.

  7. stanmrak says:

    Why I don’t trust pharmaceutical companies and their claims:

    19 drug companies made’s Top 100 Corporate Criminals List for the 1990s. This is who you are going to trust with your health?

  8. Harriet Hall says:

    “This is who you are going to trust with your health?”
    No, we don’t go to pharmaceutical companies for health care. We go to doctors who evaluate and interpret the evidence.

  9. Quill says:

    Stanmrak: you cherry-picked the list nicely! But you forgot to mention others on that list, like Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., whose inclusion must mean that Big Boat can’t be trusted. Also Lonza AG is there, a big multi-national vitamin maker, so Big Supplement is out, too. And there is Empire Sanitary Landfill Inc., so Big Dump should be viewed with suspicion if not a wrinkled nose.

    I was shocked, shocked! to see a unit of Big Tobacco on there, Northern Brands International Inc., so apparently there may be something slightly amiss with cigarettes. Kanzaki Specialty Papers Inc., made it on the list for conspiring to fix the price of thermal fax paper. So of course don’t trust anything those dastardly faxes spit out at you. Speaking of spitting, ConAgra Inc., and Tyson Foods made the list, so Big Food and Big Chicken are out as well, and as Borden is also on that list, Big Milk, Big Dairy and Big Cheese can’t be ingested without preprandial suspicions.

    Alcoa Aluminum got mentioned, so those worried about all the mind-control rays from Big, Evil Stuff are going to have to go to Alcan or perhaps Reynolds to find sheets of shiny foil to wrap around their heads, windows and tv antennas. And while they’re wrapping, they’ll have to turn out the lights and disconnect from the grid as Consolidated Edison Company is listed, so Big Electricity can’t be good anymore. (“Did you know companies send a flow of atomic particles right into your house? Even into your children’s bedrooms??”)

    And finally my favorite, Odwalla Inc., maker of wonderful, natural, all-curing juices is on the list, so the only safe things left to drink are pure distilled water and grain alcohol.

  10. Matt Roman says:

    But don’t these vaccines put a damper on the argument that circumcision should be performed to decrease squamous cell carcinoma? It’s one of the main pro-circumcision arguments that people, including yourself, bring up when discussing the topic.

  11. Harriet Hall says:

    @Matt Roman,

    Obviously, if more boys get HPV vaccine, then we can expect less penile cancer, but that’s only part of the equation.
    I don’t think I have ever said whether circumcision “should” be performed or made any “pro-circumcision arguments.” I tried to limit myself to presenting the available scientific evidence on the benefits and harms of circumcision.

  12. stanmrak says:

    When you go to a conventional doctor with a health issue, they’ll typically prescribe a medication made by these drug companies. Much if not all of the information they get about the drug comes from studies that are paid for by the drug companies and used by the drug reps to convince the doctors that they should prescribe it. The drug companies also “own” the FDA and the CDC. The doctors don’t know how legitimate these studies are; a famous study has shown that it’s no better than 50/50:

    A drug company may fund a couple of dozen studies and cherry-pick just the ones that support their desired outcome. They control the medical journals that publish the studies with their advertising dollars. They publish the ones they like and discard the rest. They’ve been caught falsifying studies, making them up, and burying damaging evidence too many times to count. There are thousands of scientific studies out there that will never been seen by the doctors because they have been screened out by editors who are being paid by the industry.

    How did Vioxx get prescribed for so many years? The drug companies knew from the get-go about the dangers but covered them up. (I know someone who litigated the class-action lawsuits against Merck.) This isn’t an anomaly – it’s SOP. Anything to get the drug approved and make a profit. The penalties are just the cost of doing business and are never enough to change the way they operate. It has been demonstrated repeatedly in a court of law that drug companies don’t care if their products kill people, as long as they are profitable. Vaccines now seem to be the most lucrative thing to promote, because you can market them to everyone, not just sick people. You can even get the government to mandate them and market them for you – hello, Rick Perry! So just because the industry-funded studies say they’re safe and effective, doesn’t guarantee that they are.

    I’m not blaming doctors or the scientists who work for the drug companies; they’re mostly good honest people, but they’re the pawns. Sure, there’s lots of corrupt corporations. But people trust the drug companies with their health; that’s a lot more significant than getting cheated out of some money.

  13. DugganSC says:


    A good bit of this site is devoted to finding such fraudulent studies and exposing them. And, as they’ve pointed out in prior articles, not only do such deceptions generally get found out, but in many cases, the drug companies really are publishing studies which show that their product is not as effective as they claim, probably because of some rubbish like ethics. There are highly shoddy experiments, but most of those are done by fringe groups and alternative medicine, and there are some cases where the results are misunderstood (sometimes seemingly willfully by the media who love the attention from running a headline of “CANCER VACCINE IS IN TESTING”), but for the most part, outright fraud seems to be pretty rare.

    Now personally, I’m on the fence on the HPV vaccinations because it seems like one of those diseases which is avoidable with proper behavior. To some degree, I liken it to a vaccine against lung cancer caused by smoking. It would seem healthier to quit smoking, or to stop living with smokers who might inflict secondhand smoke on you, rather than to add an additional expense to everyone to protect those who wish to continue smoking without one of the negative side effects. I’m fine with the vaccines which relate to diseases you’re likely to get from day to day life.

  14. weing says:

    “So just because the industry-funded studies say they’re safe and effective, doesn’t guarantee that they are.”

    It also doesn’t guarantee that they are not.

  15. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Vaccines aren’t particularly profitable. The only thing going for them are the fact that many are universal. In fact, there are a large number of vaccines that are now off-patent and provide a very small percentage of profits. Fortunately they still provide some profits because they are the vaccines used to prevent horrible diseases like whooping cough, polio and tetanus, as well as measles and chicken pox.

    There’s only one country in the world that produces their own vaccines (I think anyway) – Denmark. Companies have a tremendous incentive to produce save, standardized, effective vaccines for a low cost and this works out to the benefit of pretty much everyone. Though we should naturally be cautious of embracing the findings of drug company studies whole and uncritically, that doesn’t mean they don’t produce effective products.

    Vioxx as far as I know, wasn’t a simple matter of the company hiding side effects. I believe it is an effective product, so much so that consumer groups have organized to demand its return to the market. I believe the issue was that there are rare side effects that cropped up in phase IV “trials” (post-approval surveillance) that couldn’t be detected due to the size of the phase III clinical trials.

    There are no universal heroes or villains, though it’s a compelling story to pretend that there are. Paul Offit’s book Vaccinated discusses Maurice Hillerman’s process to produce the vaccines for many of the world’s worst killers, essentially by bullying his bosses into providing the resources. He turned down offers to work for government in order to work for a medical corporation – so he could produce a large number of vaccines as quickly as possible. Corporations make things available to people, and they want to produce effective products that are safe. Sometimes they sell out their long-term goals to achieve short-term profits. But without them, how do we get our stuff? What would the internet be running on? Where would our electricity come from and how would it be transmitted? How would we drive, fly, or take the train?

    Unless you want to pay a lot of taxes so the government can make everything (including vaccines), corporations are pretty much a solid option. Flawed, but solid.

  16. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Duggan, it may be a vaccine against a disease that is possible to control through behaviour, but unlike smoking nearly everyone will have sex during their lives. There is no guarantee that you will have only one partner, and further there’s no reason to guarantee it. Unlike smoking, where there is an inherent harm to it, sexual activity can be essentially harmless for the most part. Unlike AIDS or gonorrhea where there is a generalized awareness and fear, there’s no real equivalent for HPV. I’ve never even thought of HPV as something to test for when entering a new relationship. And this assumes serial monogamy which many people aren’t and there’s no reason to assume they could.

    Like so many vaccines, I see HPV as one of incredibly minute risk of adverse effects versus a small but still quite real risk of cervical, anal or throat cancer. I see it as an unmitigated boon that unfortunately has prurient associations preventing it from getting the wholehearted endorsement it deserves.

  17. ConspicuousCarl says:

    stanmrak on 02 Dec 2011 at 11:59 am

    When you go to a conventional doctor with a health issue, they’ll typically prescribe a medication made by these drug companies.

    As opposed to what? Prescribing medication made by a lumber company?

  18. Chris says:

    WLU, that is why several years ago my daughter received the HPV series. I saw some object that it could be avoided by being very careful, but no one had a special machine to inform me if her future husband would or would not be infected.

    I recently read a couple of news articles (and sorry if I cannot reference them since I was actually in my local library), but one was on the developing countries where the cancers that can be prevented by HPV vaccine were prevalent and very high, and the other was about a maternity system in (I think) Nicaragua where women go to get prenatal help, and have a safe birth. One of the mothers featured was a thirteen year old child who was having a child fathered by an older married man in her village. Those two reports did bring home a few thoughts on morality and disease. And I don’t believe it was the pregnant child who was being immoral.

    Oh, I found the latter story: It takes more than villages to keep mothers safe. A quick Google shows there are lots of articles on cervical cancer in the developing world, actually lots and lots! This is the first one:
    Beyond Our Borders: Cervical cancer in the developing world
    …ncbi.nlm.nih…. › … › West J Med › v.175(4); Oct 2001
    by J Sherris – 2001 – Cited by 24 – Related articles
    Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide, and 80% of cases occur in the developing world. It is the leading cause of death from cancer among …

    Now the trick is to get the HPV vaccine affordable, but getting a viable malaria vaccine would be a higher priority.

  19. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    It would be lovely to have a malaria vaccine. Is it even possible? It’s not a bacteria or virus.

    The Emperor of All Maladies discussed how HPV is a much greater danger in the Third World because of the lack of cervical cancer screening. Thus, the vaccine would be a lot more useful there, whereas here it is somewhere between a nice thing and a luxury. Good book.

  20. Chris says:

    It was a good book. There was news recently that there was progress on a malaria vaccine, it was about 50% effective. It is complicated because the sneaky little protozoa hide out in various places:

  21. Harriet Hall says:


    If you had read my article carefully and clicked on the links, you would have found this article explaining what is wrong with the Discover opinion piece at your link.

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