A Letter to the “Daily Mail”

[BPSDB] I have written to the Daily Mail to protest at their scaremongering anti-HPV vaccine story.

feedback@dailymail.co.uk

Concerns over safety of cervical cancer vaccine after 1,300 girls experience side-effects

Dear Sirs/Mesdames

I write to express my concern about the misleading story that appeared under the above headline. The story seems intended to give the impression that there are widespread adverse reactions to the vaccine. A closer examination of the facts shows that this is not the case.

The association of the recorded symptoms with the vaccine is a classic case of confirmation-bias. One could just as easily conclude, from the information provided, that the vaccine prevents anorexia nervosa: about one girl in a thousand suffers this to some degree but according to your writer one girl in 700,000 experienced “anorexia” – a reduction of 99.86%! I do not think the vaccine actually has this effect but this factoid illustrates the fallacy of assuming because event B follows event A, then A caused B.

I might add that “anorexia” merely means “loss of appetite” and does not mean the illness “anorexia nervosa”. Your writer’s use of the word “anorexia” was thus misleading.

Finally, 1300 out of 700,000 reporting (mostly minor) symptoms is a very small proportion. Over 99.8% reported no adverse symptoms at all.

Yours sincerely
John Hawcock
[Address Given]

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8 Responses to “A Letter to the “Daily Mail””

  1. zeno27 Says:

    Are you taking bets on whether they’ll publish it?

  2. jaycueaitch Says:

    I think not.

  3. Warhelmet Says:

    No, I also don’t think so.

    Remember, the Daily Fail and the nice Mr. Hilter. Godwin’s Law!

  4. Daily Mail Finds Scientist’s G-Spot « jdc325’s Weblog Says:

    [...] story on the HPV/cervical cancer vaccine, as did JQH of the Letting Off Steam blog. JQH has now written a letter to the Daily Mail regarding their coverage of the [...]

  5. 3-in-1 PCC Complaint « jdc325’s Weblog Says:

    [...] red meat/blindness story is here and my post on the God spot story is here. JQH recently wrote to the Daily Mail and the PCC regarding the Fail’s abysmal coverage of the HPV vaccine. Also: I have added a [...]

  6. electrolysis Says:

    Fantastic. care to share your sources :) ?

  7. jaycueaitch Says:

    The source was the Daily Mail story headlined as given in the post above.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1160516/Paralysis-epilepsy-blurred-vision-1-300-girls-reaction-cervical-cancer-vaccine.html

  8. Daily Mail on Vaccination: MMR, HPV, Swine Flu « Stuff And Nonsense Says:

    [...] and fellow blogger JQH wrote about a Mail article that we considered to be irresponsible. JQH wrote to the editor and later complained to the PCC, although his complaint was rejected. Meanwhile, [...]

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