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Time for the Truth About Gardasil

Cervical cancer accounts for less than 1 percent of all cancer deaths -- so it was somewhat surprising when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fast-tracked approval of Gardasil, a Merck vaccine targeting the human papilloma virus that causes the disease.

As of the end of January 2010, 49 unexplained deaths following Gardasil injections have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. By contrast, 52 deaths are attributed to unintended acceleration in Toyotas, which triggered a $2 billion recall.

There has been no recall for Gardasil, however. In fact, it is required for sixth-grade girls in D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and many other states. Merck denies any of the deaths are related to its vaccine -- and of course, it is difficult for the grieving parents to prove they were.

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