A peer-reviewed article published online on January 9, 2016 in the journal Vaccine regarding a study linking the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) Gardasil to behavioral abnormalities has been removed by the publication’s editor, Gregory Poland, MD of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, who is Founder and Co-Director of The Vaccine Research Group at Mayo Clinic and Founder and President of the Edward Jenner Society.1
The article was replaced with the following notice:
This article has been withdrawn at the request of the Editor-in-Chief due to serious concerns regarding the scientific soundness of the article. Review by the Editor-in-Chief and evaluation by outside experts, confirmed that the methodology is seriously flawed, and the claims that the article makes are unjustified. As an international peer-reviewed journal we believe it is our duty to withdraw the article from further circulation, and to notify the community of this issue.2
The study, titled “Behavioral abnormalities in young female mice following administration of aluminum adjuvants and the humanpapillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil,” was authored by Rotem Inbar, Ronen Weiss, Lucija Tomljenovic, Maria-Teresa Arango, Yael Deri, Christopher A. Shaw, Joab Chapman, Miri Blank, and Yehuda Shoenfeld. It was accepted by Vaccine editors on September 24, 2015. Revisions were suggested and made by peer reviewers, and the study was then accepted in revised form on December 15, 2015.3
The study concluded that both injections of aluminum and the Gardasil vaccine “resulted in behavioral and cognitive abnormalities in mice.”3 It highlights:
the necessity of proceeding with caution with respect to further mass-immunization practices with a vaccine of yet unproven long-termclinical benefit which is capable of inducing immune-mediated cross-reactions with neural antigens of the human host. Especially considering the continually increasing number of serious disabling neurological adverse events linked to HPV vaccination reported in the current medical literature and vaccine surveillance databases.3
Study co-author, neuroscientist Chris Shaw, PhD of the University of British Columbia, Canada4 said, “It was peer reviewed, it was accepted with revisions, and it was posted to the website, so all of a sudden we’re not quite sure why they have decided to go back and look at it again.”4
According to an article by the National Post, the study’s lead author, internationally known immunologist Yehuda Shoenfeld, MD of Tel-Aviv University in Israel, has accused Dr. Poland of allowing a conflict of interest with Gardasil manufacturer Merck & Co. to influence his decision to remove the paper from Vaccine. Dr. Shoenfeld, who is Founder and Director of the Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Autoimmunity,5 said:
This reflects an unusually unorthodox and unprofessional conduct from the journal and seems to be part of a pharmaceutical industry push-back to any critique of the Gardasil vaccine. To simply retract a paper which reports a result that one does not like makes a mockery of the whole review process.6
Dr. Poland has chaired a Safety Evaluation Committee for vaccine trials conducted by Merck Research Laboratories. He has provided consulting services on vaccine development to Merck and several other pharmaceutical companies, including CSL Biotherapies, Avianax, Sanofi Pasteur, Dynavax, Novartis Vaccines and Therapeutics, PAXVAX, and Emergent Biosolutions.7
1 Mayo Clinic. Gregory Poland, MD and Edward Jenner Society: Officers.
2 Inbar R, Weiss R, Tomljenovic L, Arango MT, Deri Y, Shaw CA, Chapman J, Blank M, Shoenfeld Y. Behavioral abnormalities in young female mice following administration of aluminum adjuvants and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil. Vaccine (NCBI) Jan. 9, 2016.
3 Inbar R, Weiss R, Tomljenovic L, Arango MT, Deri Y, Shaw CA, Chapman J, Blank M, Shoenfeld Y. Behavioral abnormalities in young female mice following administration of aluminum adjuvants and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil. Vaccine Jan. 9, 2016.
4 Fletcher, T. UBC researcher defends Gardasil vaccine study after it gets pulled. Metro Vancouver February 2016.
5 Schoenfeld Y. Video Q&A: What is ASIA? An Interview with Yehuda Shoenfeld. BMC Med 2013; 11: 118 and Journal of Autoimmunity Editorial Board: Yehuda Shoenfeld, MD.
6 Blackwell T. Journal permanently spikes Canadian study critical of HPV vaccine. National Post Mar. 8, 2016.
7 Nellis B. Mayo Clinic Discovers African-Americans Respond Better to Rubella Vaccine. Mayo Clinic Feb. 26, 2014.