Katie Couric has apologized for an HPV segment which was criticized as anti-vaccine propaganda. Critics felt the segment was heavily focused on adverse side-effects experienced by those who received the vaccine.
The program featured the stories of two young women who became ill after receiving the HPV vaccine. While one of the girls reported experiencing fatigue and nausea, the other girl died of complications.
Critics said the program focused too much on the adverse side-effects and reactions. The segment provided little information about the positive aspects of the vaccine. Studies suggest the vaccines are “highly effective” in combating the devastating virus. However, that information was not the focus of the segment.
In an article published by the Huffington Post, Katie Couric apologizes and admits the program was one-sided:
“We simply spent too much time on the serious adverse events… More emphasis should have been given to the safety and efficacy of the HPV vaccines.”
In her article, Couric cites the results of several clinical trials which found the vaccines have “been shown to significantly reduce the chance that women will develop the cervical, vaginal, and vulvar abnormalities that precede cancer.” The studies also concluded that the HPV vaccine can be effective in preventing anal cancer in men.
The talk show host also pointed out that rates of HPV infection have significantly declined since the vaccine was introduced. The most recent data suggests infections have declined as much as 56 percent.
As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, human papillomavirus is a virus that is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. Although many people are never diagnosed, the CDC reports “most sexually active people will get HPV at some time in their lives.”
Most HPV infections will eventually clear on their own without any symptoms. However, the virus can lead to genital warts and cancer. The HPV vaccine is approved for girls as young as 9 years old.
In Katie Couric’s article, she also discusses the vaccine’s adverse side effects. According to the FDA, fewer than 6 percent of those who received the vaccine experienced adverse side-effects. The possibility of a severe reaction is “extremely low.”