Close menu
March 5, 2024 Big Pharma Legal News

Toxic Exposures

CHD Urges Vermont Lawmakers to Reject Bill That Would Allow Kids 12 and Under to Consent to HPV Vaccines

In written testimony, Children’s Health Defense urged Vermont lawmakers to withdraw a bill allowing minors to receive human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccines without parental consent, citing legal concerns, lack of evidence for cancer prevention and inadequate safety testing in clinical trials.

girl with vaccine bandaid "hpv" and word "consent"

Children’s Health Defense (CHD) last week submitted written testimony to the Vermont Senate Health and Welfare Committee opposing a proposed bill that would allow children as young as 12 to receive certain vaccines — including the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine — without parental knowledge or consent.

Senate Bill S.151 states on page 1 that it “proposes to allow a minor 12 years of age or older to consent to medical care for the prevention of a sexually transmitted infection.” The bill does not specifically mention vaccines.

However, according to CHD’s New England Chapter, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Planned Parenthood and other groups that want to offer confidential preventative services to minors — including HPV vaccines, hepatitis vaccines, HIV PrEP pills and other products — are lobbying for the bill.

In their testimony, CHD President Mary Holland and General Counsel Kim Mack Rosenberg argued that HPV vaccines have never been proven to prevent cancer, that the vaccines have caused significant injuries and that bypassing parental consent violates federal law.

They also questioned whether minors could reasonably be expected to understand the potential long-term health risks of these vaccines.

In their testimony, Holland and Rosenberg, authors of “The HPV Vaccine On Trial: Seeking Justice For A Generation Betrayed,” wrote:

“Teens … understandably may not want to have children immediately but do they want to risk not having any children in the future? If they do not know the real risks and the minimal (if any) potential benefits of HPV vaccines, can they give informed consent?”

CHD urged the Vermont Senate Health and Welfare Committee to withdraw S.151. CHD’s New England Chapter recommended Vermonters take immediate action to help defeat the bill.

Evidence for HPV vaccines preventing cancer questioned

CHD’s testimony challenged the claim that HPV vaccines have been proven to prevent cancer, arguing that there is no conclusive evidence to support this assertion.

Holland and Rosenberg cited government data showing the cancer rate for the youngest, most vaccinated women increased between 2011 and 2019 to the same level as when the vaccines were first introduced.

They also cited evidence from the National Cancer Institute, which shows little change in the incidence and death rates of cervical cancer in young and middle-aged women since the introduction of HPV vaccines in the U.S.

The greatest decreases in cervical cancer incidence rates were observed in older women, who likely never received an HPV vaccine, according to CHD’s testimony.

Data also suggest that regular screening, such as a pap smear, is a more effective and affordable method for reducing cervical cancer rates. Yet data show girls who receive the HPV vaccine are less likely to undergo regular screening.

CHD’s testimony included a graphic illustrating that only 0.18% of HPV infections worldwide, including in countries with less screening and more significant exposures to co-factors that contribute to cervical cancer, ever progress to cervical cancer.

CHD emphasized that the need for HPV vaccines, particularly in higher-resource countries like the U.S., is questionable given the effectiveness of screening methods and the fact that the vast majority of HPV infections clear on their own.

HPV vax harmful, trials lacked proper placebo

Holland and Rosenberg delved deeper into the potential risks associated with HPV vaccines — particularly Merck’s Gardasil and Gardasil 9 — arguing that the clinical trials for these vaccines were inadequate and failed to properly assess the vaccines’ safety.

The clinical trials for Gardasil 9, currently the only HPV vaccine available in the U.S., were “bootstrapped to the original formulation of Gardasil, approved in 2006,” according to the testimony.

This methodology, CHD claimed, resulted in a lack of “true controlled clinical trial safety data because the safety of the original Gardasil was never compared to an inert saline placebo.”

Instead, Merck compared the vaccine to its “bioactive aluminum (a known neurotoxin) adjuvant — an ingredient specifically intended to heighten an immune system response to the vaccine.”

This lack of proper safety testing, combined with the absence of saline placebos and other clinical trial manipulations, should raise concerns about allowing children to make decisions about receiving the HPV vaccine — particularly the potential impact on their future fertility — without parental involvement, CHD said.

Holland and Rosenberg cited their book “The HPV Vaccine On Trial,” which they said “details the many concerning questions raised by the Gardasil clinical trials and the injuries reported therein and in the marketplace.”

A search of the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System revealed “75,727 … reports of injury, including thousands of serious and disabling injuries, and 629 deaths” related to HPV vaccines as of Jan. 26, 2024, according to CHD’s testimony. “The majority of reported adverse events occurred in children under age 17,” Holland and Rosenberg wrote.

CHD pointed to the more than 100 cases now pending against Merck “for serious, life-altering injuries, many of which are autoimmune in nature, to young women and men following receipt of Merck’s HPV vaccines.”

Rosenberg is one of the attorneys representing plaintiffs in multi-district litigation against Merck.

Bill violates federal law

Holland and Rosenberg argued the Vermont bill violates federal law and is unconstitutional. They cited the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, which requires parents to receive Vaccine Information Statements before their child is vaccinated.

“Therefore, the bill is clearly unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution,” the testimony stated. The Supremacy Clause establishes that federal law is the supreme law of the land and that in most cases it preempts state law when there is a conflict.

CHD also pointed to a 2022 federal court decision in Booth v. Bowser resulting in a preliminary injunction against a similar law in Washington, D.C., on the grounds it conflicted with the federal law.

CHD warned that Vermont could face a similar outcome if S.151 is passed, noting U.S. District Court Judge Trevor N. McFadden’s conclusion in the case:

“States and the District are free to encourage individuals — including children — to get vaccines. But they cannot transgress on the Program Congress created. And they cannot trample the Constitution.”

CHD also cited the Mature Minor Doctrine Clarification Act, a Tennessee law signed by the state’s governor in May 2023. The law recognizes the applicability of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act’s requirement for healthcare providers to provide a Vaccine Information Statement to a minor’s parent or guardian before vaccination.

Other testimony submitted in opposition to the bill can be found here.

Suggest A Correction

Share Options

Close menu

Republish Article

Please use the HTML above to republish this article. It is pre-formatted to follow our republication guidelines. Among other things, these require that the article not be edited; that the author’s byline is included; and that The Defender is clearly credited as the original source.

Please visit our full guidelines for more information. By republishing this article, you agree to these terms.