Toronto Star Bungles HPV Vaccine Science Then Bungles Response To Criticism

I’m posting this because a long time ago I had a very frustrating conversation with some people I love dearly about HPV vaccination. I’m a fan of HPV vaccines. They aren’t. (Or, rather, they have “issues” with them.)

And recently the Toronto Star ran a piece about the dark side of HPV vaccine, Gardasil. Seemed a pretty hearty rebuttal of my position.

Except it turns out the Star didn’t do such a great job with their science reporting.

Yesterday (my time, it’s still today where you are), Canadaland ran a response to the piece that was written by Dr Jen Gunter, an OB/GYN and specialist in vulvovaginal disorders. She says the Star’s report is based mainly on anecdotes and their own misreading of Centers for Disease Control data.

This follows on two posts Gunter put up on her own blog (Toronto Star claims HPV vaccine unsafe. Science says the Toronto Star is wrong; and, Explaining Gardasil girls and HPV vaccine safety to the Toronto Star and Heather Mallick).

Gunter’s three-post take down of the Star’s reporting is pretty thorough and readable so I won’t summarize it all here. I will say though that considering all the coverage that vaccination has been getting in the news lately, and how the tide finally seems to be turning against all the anti-vaxxer misinformation, it seems a strange time for the Star to be so sloppy about its science coverage.

And while we’re on the subject of vaccination, I should take this opportunity to remind everyone about this piece Ashleigh Mattern wrote about how vaccines save lives. Because it was a fantastic piece and is worth reading now if you missed it the first time around. It was titled “Take The Damn Shot” and ran in the Feb 6 issue of this magazine from Saskatchewan I like called “the Prairie Dog“.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5'10'' tall and he was born in a place. He's not there now. He's sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It's "Girl From Ipanema", thanks for asking. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.