(NaturalNews) The parents of a New Zealand teenager say a drug aimed at preventing cervical cancer was instead responsible for her death, a claim that is being "rejected as convoluted pseudoscience" by a researcher at the University of Auckland.
According to The Dominion Post, a local newspaper, Jasmine Renata, 18, was found dead in her bed in Upper Hutt in September 2009, six months after receiving the last of three vaccinations.
Her mother, Rhonda, said during an inquest that before receiving vaccines of the drug Gardasil, she was fit and healthy, but her condition began to deteriorate after the first vaccine, as well as her emotional state.
Rhonda Renata testified that her daughter began suffering from a racing heart, constant runny nose, night sweats, warts, joint pain, chest pain, nausea and loss of hair. She added that her daughter seemed agitated and was short-tempered, "getting upset at things that would normally not bother her," the paper reported.
Following her daughter's death, Mrs. Renata said she began worrying that the vaccine may have caused it. As such, she convinced a Canadian researcher, Prof. Christopher Shaw, to test some of Jasmine's brain tissue.
Bad side-effects immediately following first injection
Ian Smith, a local coroner, questioned Mrs. Renata regarding why the family hadn't gone ahead and had their daughter tested for a possible congenital heart problem when it was offered.
She answered that no one in the family had a history of heart problems.
"The only person who is not here is my daughter, and she's the only one who took Gardasil," said Mrs. Renata, adding that the family thought about getting the tests but had not done so.
During the inquest, Mrs. Renata described how she had found her daughter dead in bed after discovering she had not reported for work. She said she and her daughter had dinner the night before.
In testimony days after Mrs. Renata spoke to authorities looking into her daughter's death, Shaw said he and U.S. pathologist Sin Hang Lee noted "heavy aluminum staining in Ms. Renata's brain tissue could have acted as a 'trojan horse,' bringing the human papillomavirus, or HPV, into her brain," said the Post.
But Helen Petousis-Harris, of University of Auckland Immunization Advisory Center, countered that the arguments put forth by the two doctors were not scientifically based.
"I find that quite concerning, given the gravity of the issue here, anyone who has had the vaccine may become worried, and anyone planning to have it may also become worried," she said.
"But it's based on no evidence at all, which is not good. You have got to make your decisions based on good science," she continued, adding that the doctors' studies into links between aluminum levels, Gardasil and cervical cancer risks were shaky at best.
"You start making a statement about something that may or may not be true, then start drawing these conclusions and assumptions without having any data," Petousis-Harris said. "Then you keep going, and the more you keep going, the more difficult it becomes to substantiate."
She said it was vital to discuss any weaknesses in the research so parents and potential vaccine recipients had all the necessary information to make proper care decisions.
"I was deeply disappointed to see conjecture and pseudoscience used in that forum in an attempt to bring a vaccine with such an excellent safety profile into question," she said.
Gardasil, made by Merck & Co., was introduced in 2006. The maker said that clinical trials found the drug to be between 90 and 100 percent effective in preventing the transmission of some strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer.
More mothers, women, blaming Gardasil
Deborah Kotz, a senior writer on women's issues for U.S. News and World Report, said she got a number of emails regarding Gardasil from readers after a post she had written saying the government planned to look into the drug's side-effects.
"My 21-year-old daughter, Chris, got her third shot of Gardasil on June 3, 2008," Emily Tarsell wrote in an email to Kotz. "She was found dead in bed 18 days later. She was a healthy, bright, talented young lady who played on the tennis team at Bard College where she would have graduated with honors this year."
"My daughter developed epilepsy since being vaccinated, and when I share her experience with people, most doubt the connection," reader Nina Kenney wrote.
"My daughter, in the middle of her series of injections of Gardasil, had a bout of Bell's palsy that paralyzed the right side of her face," wrote Della Smith. "Two months after that, she was diagnosed with Graves's disease. The doctor says an immune reaction to something he can't determine is most likely responsible."