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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Letter to the Editor

HPV vaccines and cancer prevention, science versus activism

Lucija Tomljenovic1*, Judy Wilyman2, Eva Vanamee3, Toni Bark4 and Christopher A Shaw1

Author Affiliations

1 Neural Dynamics Research Group, Vancouver General Hospital Research Pavilion, University of British Columbia, 828 W. 10th Ave, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1L8, Canada

2 School of Social Sciences, Media and Communication, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, 2522, Australia

3 Department of Structural and Chemical Biology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 1425 Madison Ave., Rm 1623, New York, NY, 10029, USA

4 School of Public Health-Healthcare Emergency Management, Boston University, Boston, MA, 02118, USA

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Infectious Agents and Cancer 2013, 8:6  doi:10.1186/1750-9378-8-6

Published: 1 February 2013


The rationale behind current worldwide human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination programs starts from two basic premises, 1) that HPV vaccines will prevent cervical cancers and save lives and, 2) have no risk of serious side effects. Therefore, efforts should be made to get as many pre-adolescent girls vaccinated in order to decrease the burden of cervical cancer. Careful analysis of HPV vaccine pre- and post-licensure data shows however that both of these premises are at odds with factual evidence and are largely derived from significant misinterpretation of available data.