Reality Check: Bachmann’s Comments On HPV Vaccine

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Rep. Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign has gone viral. Literally.

Bachmann is under fire for comments some are calling reckless, for instance: that the HPV vaccination may cause mental retardation.

Health care professionals say Bachmann’s comments about the HPV vaccine are not just untrue: They also could do serious damage to efforts to immunize millions of pre-teen girls.

Here’s what she said on Tuesday, after she said a supporter approached her “in tears”:’She told me her daughter took the vaccine and suffered from mental retardation, thereafter this is a very dangerous drug. There are very dangerous consequences.”

That’s FALSE.

According the Centers for Disease Control, the HPV vaccine is safe and almost 100 percent effective against cervical cancer.

It is administered to pre-teen girls, because it is most effective before sexual activity begins.

Thirty-five million doses have been given. Side effects are rare, with some 19,000 cases reported.

And there’s not a single case of what Bachmann calls “mental retardation.”


The CDC says 37.8 percent of Minnesota girls completed the 3-dose series of HPV vaccines in 2010.

That’s up from 27 percent in 2009.

But it’s still far below the 50 percent rate health professionals say is necessary to effectively immunize pre-teens against cervical cancer later in life.
Bachmann is refusing to retract her statements, or apologize. She told a CBS News reporter that she was “not going to answer that.”

But on her campaign website, Bachmann released a video attacking Texas Gov. Rick Perry for ordering that Texas girls receive the vaccine.

“As a mother of three daughters, I believe that parents are the ones who should decide whether or not their young daughters should receive injections for sexually transmitted diseases. These are decisions that are best left to parents, the children and their doctors should take into consideration the child’s health and the family’s values. ”


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