A group of religious conservatives has marshalled unreleased FDA data as a weapon in the battle against Gardasil, the new cervical cancer vaccine. The data indicates health problems in women taking the vaccine, but drugmaker Merck and the FDA both insist that the negative effects are probably unrelated to the vaccine. Critics oppose legislation to require administering the vaccine in schools.
They feel vaccinating teenage girls for human papillomavirus, which causes most cervical cancers, conflicts with the message of teen abstinence. Health issues include pain, blood clots, and birth abnormalities. But doctors report all adverse effects to the FDA, whether or not they believe them to be connected to a particular drug.