Emily Tarsell is a practicing mental health therapist who works with adults, adolescents, families and children, especially children with special needs. Two years ago, her biggest concern was paying for one more year of tuition for her only child, Christina. Her greatest joy in life was watching Chris blossom at  Bard, a college she loved.

Her daughter was the child every parent dreams of having: an honors student, active in sports and her community, and a talented artist. She was a wholesome, healthy and happy girl; a beautiful person inside and out. Chris was the light of her mother's life.

Two years ago, aggressive marketing on television, newspapers and magazines was telling middle class families everywhere to have their daughters, between the ages of 9 and 26, vaccinated against cervical cancer. Their mantra was "Be one less." Gardasil was touted by doctors and professional medical associations as being safe and effective for preventing cervical cancer. Nothing was mentioned about any potential serious adverse side effects.

When Chris had her first gynecological appointment, the doctor suggested she have this "safe" vaccine. There seemed to be no reason to refuse it.

Chris began to experience various unusual symptoms, but not having been told of any possible serious adverse reactions, her parents viewed each symptom on its own. 18 days after her third injection, Chris became "one less." The cause of death is still undetermined.

No one connected it to the vaccine until several weeks after her death when her father heard on television that there were deaths possibly related to Gardasil. They began to investigate and discovered the things Chris experienced were not unusual. Many other families had similar stories.

Now, Emily is on a mission. She merged the grief from losing her only child with her scientific skills to become an expert on Gardasil. She spends every waking moment trying to get the word out through TV and radio interviews, speaking at churches and schools, and testifying before any legislative body that will take the time to listen.

The best way to relate Emily's message is via exerpts from the testimony she presented to the Health and Government Operations Committee, Maryland General Assembly in February of this year.

Here is part of her testimony:

Families need the opportunity to be heard in public hearings because we have not been given adequate information to make informed decisions. The truths about Gardasil and cervical cancer are suppressed. I am not just talking about the controversial adverse reports of embolisms, strokes, motor neuron degeneration, numbness, muscle weakness, paralysis, heart disorders, skin disorders, extreme fatigue, debilitating headaches, recurring dizziness, seizures, and death. I am talking about the plain, unequivocal truth about cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine, Gardasil.

According to the American Cancer Society, the facts about cervical cancer are:

  1. Mortality rates have declined 75% since the Pap test was widely implemented 50 years ago.
  2. There is less than a 1% lifetime risk of developing cervical cancer and less than one quarter of 1% lifetime risk of dying of cervical cancer. This means 3 out of every 100,000 women die from cervical cancer in the U.S. annually.
  3. There are dozens of HPVs that can cause cervical cancer. In 90% of women, HPVs clear up on their own within two years. Of the remaining 10% of HPV infections, only half will develop into cervical cancer. It is only when the HPV virus lingers for many years that abnormal cells could turn into cancer.
  4. The length of time required to develop invasive cervical cancer after identification of precursor lesions averages between 8.1 and 12.6 years, and may take up to 40 years.
  5. Nearly all cervical cancer deaths are preventable by a simple Pap screening and appropriate follow-up.

Had we, as consumers, just been given this factual information when we were told about Gardasil, we would certainly have declined the injections. Why would you get an inoculation you don't need to prevent something you will most likely never get, which is very treatable if you do get it?

Add to this the unequivocal facts they do not tell you about Gardasil:

  1. The goal of the vaccine is to induce the body to create antibodies for two HPV viruses known to cause cervical cancer, and two HPV viruses that cause genital warts. However, it appears the antibodies drop below therapeutic levels after five years; and therefore, the vaccine would be ineffective without a booster shot.
  2. Gardasil ony addresses two of the dozens of viruses that cause cervical cancer; therefore it is essential to continue to have annual Pap screens to test for cervical cancer.
  3. Gardasil does not cure cervical cancer. Its effectiveness in preventing cervical cancer will not be known for decades.
  4. The rate of reported serious adverse events following shots of Gardasil is greater than the incidence rate of cervical cancer.
  5. The vaccine was fast-tracked by the FDA and was approved in just six months. Because it was fast-tracked, there are no long term safety studies, no studies about the interaction with other vaccines given concomitantly, and no studies about the interaction with birth control pills.
  6. The effect on a fetus, or reproduction is unknown.
  7. The vaccine has not been evaluated for potential to cause carcinogenicity or genotoxicity.

My daughter died from being talked into getting a vaccine she did not need; a vaccine we would have declined if we had been told the truth about risks and benefits.

Last week, India called a halt to HPV vaccinations in their country due to citizens' concerns about death, injury and allegations of unethical practices by Merck, GlaxoSmithKline and Path International. They will allow no further HPV vaccinations until the concerns and allegations are completely investigated.

Emily believes nothing less should happen in the United States.