The vaccine comes highly recommended for young boys and girls across the country.
Gardasil is meant to prevent Human Papillomavirus (HPV). While many do not report any serious side effects, 18-year-old Hannah Robinson of Moore claims the vaccine dashed her dreams.
Robinson watches television in a way most teenagers do not. She is an aspiring broadcaster, but that dream slowly began to fade two years ago, when she became too tired to focus on anything other than the pain she felt.
The intense body aches, heart pains, insomnia and seizures cheated her out of much of her junior and senior years in high school.
"The pain started getting worse, and I got to where I couldn't even get out of bed in the morning," Hannah Robinson recalls every ache and pain. "I remember one morning I just woke up, and I couldn't even walk."
Now reliant on a wheelchair and walker, Robinson has spent a lot of time thinking about how suddenly her health began to deteriorate.
She said it all happened after she received doses of Gardasil, the vaccine used to prevent certain types of HPV.
CDC: FAQ's About HPV Vaccine Safety
HPV is the sexually transmitted disease that is the main cause of cervical cancer.
"I just took every word they said as fact, because you are always taught to trust your doctor," Robinson said she regrets the decision to take the vaccine without researching the side effects.
Robinson and her parents questioned doctors about the drastic changes to her health. They claim those doctors turned their backs on them, even suggesting her disability was all in her head.
"They said, 'Just think yourself better,' and I thought, 'I've tried that.' If it would have worked, it would have worked a long time ago," she said.
Her mother, Teresa Robinson researched the vaccine and found severe reactions can happen.
"We are fighting this day to day," Teresa said she filed a report with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAER).
At last check, the VAER database shows 27,600 people made reports of unconfirmed adverse reactions to Gardasil out of approximately 67,000,000 doses given in the United States, since it became available in 2006.
The Robinsons are still waiting to hear from the government about their report filed with VAER.
"You are giving them a shot, and you are taking a chance. It's like playing Russian Roulette with their [your child's] life," Teresa said they are now trying costly alternative medicines and therapies out-of-state.
"I really had the perfect life. I had everything going for me," Hannah said all she can do is keep fighting and warning others. "It's just not worth the risk."
The Robinsons wanted to make it clear they have nothing to gain by going public with her daughter's case, because federal law protects vaccine companies from lawsuits.
They said this is about making parents aware in hopes to save other children from their pains, and possibly, motivating someone to answer their questions about the vaccine's safety.
Merck, the manufacturer of Gardasil, released the following statement in response to News 9 inquiries:
"Nothing is more important to Merck than the safety of our medicines and vaccines. Merck employees, and our families, use our vaccines, too. As I’m sure you can appreciate, we are not in a position to comment on specific cases.
We are confident in the safety profile of GARDASIL. The safety and efficacy of GARDASIL was established in clinical trials involving more than 25,000 females and males. Safety has continued to be evaluated in several large post-licensure surveillance studies in more than 500,000 people following administration of more than a million doses of vaccine. And while difficult to determine number of doses administered, more than 161 million doses of GARDASIL have been distributed globally since 2006.
Parents should understand the extensive data supporting the safety profile of this vaccine, and we encourage them to look to the CDC and FDA and to the advice of their own physicians to make an informed choice. While no vaccine or medicine is completely without risk, leading international health organizations throughout the world including the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. CDC, Health Canada, the European Medicines Agency, and the Australia Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), among others, continue to recommend the use of GARDASIL. The CDC has stated that post-licensure safety monitoring from June 2006 through March 2013 continues to show no new HPV vaccine safety concerns, and the WHO’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety reviewed updated safety information on HPV vaccines and stated that data from all sources continue to be reassuring about the safety profile of HPV vaccines. " - Deb Wambold, Merck Vaccines
Additional Resource: S.A.N.E. Vax, Inc.