Crystal emailed me a copy of a letter she sent to Merck, the manufacturers of Gardasil, detailing the negative health effects her daughter suffered after receiving the vaccine.
May 14, 2008
TO: Mr. Richard T. Clark, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO, Merck & Co., Inc., P.O. Box 1150, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889
My daughter suffered a severe and prolonged reaction to the Gardasil vaccine, which was reported to Merck on November 12, 2007 (Service Request # 1-1619214020). Attached is a detailed description of my daughter’s reaction. Although she has seemingly recovered, I remain concerned that appropriate measures are not being taken to prevent other patients from suffering similar reactions. Specifically, I have the following questions:
(1) Has Merck notified medical professionals who administer the Gardasil vaccine of the potentially long-term side effects? Is any action underway to require medical providers who administer the Gardasil vaccine to ask the patients if they have had any unexplained illness before giving the second and third vaccines? (Although my daughter had been very sick for 3+ weeks, the second Gardasil vaccine was administered by the gynecologist’s office; no questions asked.)
(2) Is any research being done to identify a medical treatment plan for the side effects of Gardasil? (Throughout my daughter’s nine-week illness, NONE of the prescribed medications offered her ANY relief. When her doctor contacted Merck for assistance, they had nothing to offer.)
(3) Is there any plan to perform extensive follow-up with patients who have had the Gardasil vaccines? (Because the reactions vary and because they sometimes begin 30 days or more after the shot, it is highly probable that they are GREATLY UNDERREPORTED.)
(4) Is any research being done to determine which girls are at higher risk to have serious reactions to Gardasil? (Obviously, the majority of girls do not have a severe reaction, but it is also apparent from the number of VAERS reports that there have been several thousand girls who have had VERY SEVERE side effects. It seems that in-depth research of the affected patients’ medical backgrounds could help to identify those who should not risk having the vaccine.)
I have noted that your commercials and ads indicate that “fever, nausea, dizziness, vomiting and fainting” are possible side effects of the vaccine, leading the public to believe that someone may perhaps be sick for a short period after the vaccine. There is NO warning that these symptoms may persist for weeks, months, or even longer, and that someone may vomit persistently (several hundred times), lose 25 pounds in nine weeks, suffer from all the other symptoms that my daughter experienced, and be NONFUNCTIONAL for a prolonged period of time.
I look forward to receiving your answers to my questions. Please do not reply to me that my daughter’s illness was not caused by the Gardasil vaccine. We are convinced that she had a reaction to Gardasil for the following reasons:
(1) There is simply NO OTHER EXPLANATION for her illness. ALL of the medical tests performed (as listed on the attachment) were NORMAL. Prior to this, she had NO history of any illness with these symptoms.
(2) The illness began abruptly and ended almost as abruptly. It seemed as if her system was poisoned, and it finally “ran its course”.
(3) We know of other girls who had almost identical illnesses following the Gardasil vaccine. Some of their reactions also began as much as 3-4 weeks after the first shot.
(4) We have found hundreds of similar cases on internet blogs from parents and young women who are seeking help.
(5) Of the numerous doctors we consulted, NONE of them recommended that my daughter get the third Gardasil shot.
It is incumbent upon Merck, and in keeping with your company’s values and standards, to educate the public about the potentially harmful and prolonged side effects of Gardasil, and to take appropriate measures to prevent the suffering of several thousand more patients. Meanwhile, those of us who know the potential harm will continue to inform friends and acquaintances of our experiences, and we will discourage them from taking the chance on a vaccine that has not been thoroughly researched.
Crystal B. Wade
GARDASIL EXPERIENCE OF MY DAUGHTER
My daughter is a 19-year old college student at East Carolina University. On October 6, 2007, she was struck with a sudden illness that continued for approximately nine weeks. Prior to this, she was in excellent health. The primary symptoms of her illness were:
- severe acid reflux (accompanied by horrendous burping)
- vomiting every day (minimum of 2-3 times a day, but often 5-7 times a day)
- motion sickness (this subsided after the first two weeks)
- ear pain (this lasted for about three weeks)
- recurring nausea
- severe abdominal pain (worse just before and during menstruation)
- diarrhea (several times a day)
- extreme fatigue
- weak/achy legs (this symptom began a few days after her second Gardasil shot and lasted for about a month)
- muscle tenderness throughout her body
- recurring headaches
- intermittent back pain
- weight loss of 25 lbs.
My daughter was under the care of an excellent Gastrointestinal Specialist in Greenville, NC, who diligently tried to identify the source of her illness and prescribe a treatment plan that would relieve her symptoms. Unfortunately, he was not successful.
My daughter underwent the following procedures, none of which showed any specific cause for her illness:
- upper endoscopy
- abdominal ultrasound
- HIDA scan
- CT abdominal scan
- small bowel follow-through
- MRI and balance test of her inner ear
- numerous series of blood and lab work
Several different medications were tried, but they were not effective in relieving her symptoms:
- Prevacid (double dose)
My daughter’s nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea persisted. For nine weeks, she vomited after eating anything, even a saltine cracker. She usually vomited within 5-10 minutes of eating, but occasionally would make it for as long as 30 minutes. Her body rejected all foods as if she had been poisoned. Her body was producing so much acid that she often woke in the middle of the night and vomited acid. She frequently vomited acid in the mornings before she attempted to eat or drink anything. In the latter part of November, she discovered that Pepcid Complete provided more relief from the acid than the double dose of Prevacid. Throughout the illness, she was able to keep liquids down, so (amazingly) she never dehydrated. Most days she was too sick to get out of bed, and too nauseated to watch TV or read.
We are convinced that my daughter’s illness is the result of a reaction to the Gardasil (HPV) vaccine. She got her first vaccine on September 4, 2007, and first got sick a month later, on October 6, so we were not immediately suspicious that the vaccine was the cause of her illness. Unfortunately, she got her second shot on October 30, even though she was suffering from severe acid reflux, vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. We had not made a connection between her illness and the vaccine, and we thought it was important that she stay on schedule with the vaccines. When she went to the gynecologist’s office (in Greenville, NC) for her second vaccine, no one asked her if she had experienced any unexplained illness since the first shot. We believe that her illness could have been shortened significantly if there was a checkpoint between shots.
Shortly after she got the second shot, she began to experience weakness in her legs and back pain, and her other symptoms worsened (especially the acid reflux, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain). We then began to suspect that her illness was the result of a reaction to the Gardasil vaccine. My daughter contacted her gynecologist’s office (in NC) and they informed her that any reaction to the Gardasil vaccine would have begun sooner than 30 days after the first shot and that the vaccine would not cause a reaction for the length of her illness. In spite of that, we reported her reaction to Merck and to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System. However, when her GI Specialist contacted Merck, they said they did not have any information to share with him regarding her reaction. Because my daughter’s illness persisted and did not respond to any medications, and because ALL medical tests were normal, he began the process of referring her to the GI Clinic at UNC Chapel Hill.
During her menstruation in November (the first period following her second shot), she was profusely ill. She was doubled over in pain for several hours, suffered from profuse vomiting and diarrhea, chills and fever. The severe abdominal pains lasted for two days. We took her to the emergency room, she was admitted for one night, given fluids and Phenergan through an IV, continued to vomit acid, but was released for outpatient care. Subsequently, she visited a gynecologist in VA who suggested that she take birth control pills continuously for 6-12 months and not have a period, to allow time for her reaction to Gardasil to run its course.
During the second week of December 2007, my daughter ate a piece of dry toast and she did not vomit. At the time, she was still taking Reglan and Pepcid Complete. Gradually, for the next few days, she was able to keep down small portions of food, and her vomiting decreased to once or twice a day, and subsided within a week. Her other symptoms also began to subside, and she decided not to make the trip to the GI Clinic at UNC Chapel Hill. My daughter is convinced that her illness was a reaction to the Gardasil vaccine, and she did not believe that there was anything the doctors could do to help her recover.
By Christmas, she was off of all medications and eating a normal diet. Since then, she has thrived. She is back at college, has returned to her part-time job, and regained approximately 10 pounds. About once a month, she has to take Pepcid Complete for acid reflux, and about once a month she gets sick after eating (vomiting and diarrhea), but she usually bounces back within a day. In March 2008, she was spotting, so she went off the pill and had a normal period.
We are hopeful that my daughter will not suffer any long-term effects from her Gardasil reaction. After reading about the serious and life-threatening reactions that many girls have experienced, we realize that my daughter was fortunate to recover. We are thankful that we realized that her illness was caused by the Gardasil vaccine before she got the third shot. It is highly probable that another dose of Gardasil would have been even more devastating to my daughter’s health.
We are aware of other girls who have suffered almost identical symptoms that began after their vaccines (sometimes 3-4 weeks after the first shot), and we have found many similar cases on internet blogs. Unfortunately, this information is not filtering to the medical professionals, and the affected individuals are suffering without any remedies being pursued. We consulted with numerous doctors in different specialties throughout her illness. Some doctors were of the opinion that my daughter’s illness was likely a reaction to the Gardasil vaccines, but many doctors were not willing to take that position. However, none of the doctors could prescribe an effective treatment to relieve her symptoms, and NONE of the doctors recommended that she get the third shot.
Subsequent to my daughter’s recovery, we reviewed the definitions of poisoning levels as described on the website of the Center for Disease Control (see below). During her reaction to the Gardasil vaccine, my daughter experienced almost all of the symptoms in the Moderate Poisoning range. We believe that, had she received the third vaccine, she would likely have reached the level of Severe Poisoning and may not have recovered.
Poisoning Symptoms as defined on the CDC website
Each chemical family attacks the human body in a different way. General poisoning symptoms include the following.
Headache, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, restlessness, perspiration, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, loss of weight, thirst, moodiness, soreness in joints, skin irritation, eye irritation.
Severe nausea, severe diarrhea, excessive saliva, stomach cramps, excessive perspiration, trembling, no muscle coordination and muscle twitches, extreme weakness, mental confusion, blurred vision, difficulty in breathing, cough, rapid pulse, flushed or yellow skin, weepy eyes.
Fever, intense thirst, increased rate of breathing, uncontrollable muscle twitches, pinpoint pupils, convulsions, inability to breathe, unconsciousness.
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