Student & Teacher Research Initiative
e Education

Click here to edit subtitle

Vaccines - Claims, Risks, and Facts.

On this page, we will discuss each individual vaccine that may be offered to you before or during your time at university. Each vaccine has been thoroughly assessed by our team, with a comprehensive analysis of risks and benefits, vaccine side effects, and pros and cons. Each assessment includes links to a wide variety of studies, medical literature, and expert opinion, thereby enabling you to acquire a thorough understanding of each vaccine before you consent to receive it.

Td/IPV (tetanus, diphtheria and polio)

Meningitis (click here for full article)

The vaccine:  Men ACWY - brand names Menveo® and Nimenrix®

The claim:
"The Men ACWY vaccine provides good protection against serious infections caused by four different meningococcal groups (A, C, W and Y) including meningitis and septicaemia." [1]

Why is it offered to students?

According to the NHS, teenagers and university students are at high risk of infection because many of them mix closely with lots of new people, some of whom may unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria. [2]

The facts:

First of all. It is important to recognise that contracting serious illness from the meningococcal bacteria is exceptionally rare. The meningococcal bacteria live in the back of the nose and throat in about 1 in 10 of the population without causing any illness.[3] So simply by going to school, using public transport and going to pubs and gigs, you will already have been in close contact with dozens of people carrying this bacteria, with no ill effects. Very occasionally, the meningococcal bacteria can cause serious illness, including meningitis, but this is usually in people who have other serious health or lifestyle issues, such as suffering from HIV/AIDS or being in prison. [9]

Read full article on meningitis vaccine Men ACWY

Back to top

HPV (human papilloma virus)

The vaccine:  HPV vaccine - brand name Gardasil®

The claim: "Gardasil protects against the two types of HPV, between them responsible for more than 70% of cervical cancers in the UK." [1]

Why is it offered to students?

Gardasil is offered free on the NHS to girls up to the age of 18, because, according to the NHS "the HPV virus is very common and is easily spread by sexual activity. As much as half the population will be infected at some time in their life." [1] Older females and males may also acquire the injections privately.

The facts:

Although the HPV virus is indeed very common, in the overwhelming majority of cases, it causes absolutely no problems and is cleared by the body naturally. [1] Furthermore, new evidence is emerging suggesting the HPV virus may not in fact cause cancer at all. A paper recently published in the journal Molecular Cytogenetics showed that all cervical cancer cells investigated during the course of the study contained "new abnormal karyotypes". The genetic makeup of these new abnormal karyotypes indicates the cervical cancers originated with these karyotypes – NOT from a virus. [2]

In addition, one of the lead developers for the vaccine, Dr. Diane Harper, has publicly spoken out questioning its efficacy. Dr. Harper says young girls and their parents should receive more complete warnings before receiving the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.  Dr. Harper states data available for Gardasil shows that it lasts five years; there is no data showing that it remains effective beyond five years. [3] That means that were a 17-year-old student to receive this vaccine, any benefit would have worn off by the time they were 22.

Read full article on HPV vaccine Gardasil

Back to top

Hep B (hepatitis B):

The vaccine: Hep B vaccine - brand names Engerix B, Fendrix, HBvaxPro 05, HBvaxPro 10 and HBvaxPro 40.

The claim: "The hepatitis B vaccination is available on the NHS for anyone who is at increased risk of hepatitis B or its complications." [1]

Why is it offered to students?

It is not offered to all students, however, it is mandated for many students on health-related courses such as nursing. [2] The reasoning for this is that health workers may come into contact with contaminated bodily fluids.

The facts:

Although student nurses are considered at higher risk to the general populace, in fact the risk to nursing and other healthcare students of contracting hepatitis B is still very low.
Nurses are at a higher risk of coming into contact with bodily fluids than the general populace, but that is not the way the disease is usually spread. According to CDC Prevention Guidelines: A Guide to Action (1997), the sources of hepatitis B infection for most cases include:

Intravenous drug use (28%);

Heterosexual contact with infected persons or multiple partners (22%);

Homosexual activity (9%). [3]

Furthermore, hepatitis B is not a killer disease for most. Symptoms of hepatitis B disease include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, low grade fever, pain and swelling in joints, which can last for three to four weeks. According to Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine (1994), in cases of acute hepatitis B "most patients do not require hospital care" and "95 percent of patients have a favorable course and recover completely" with the case-fatality ratio being "very low (approximately 0.1 percent)." [3]

Read full article on Hep B vaccine

Read full article on the 'flu jab (influenza vaccine)