"The parallels with the 1960s Thalidomide tragedy are inescapable," said the series writer and narrator, Joan Shenton. "The HPV vaccine approvals were fast-tracked, without long-term toxicity testing, and there is compelling evidence that the risk of severe, neurological side-effects outweighs its unproven benefits.
"Sacrificial Virgins - so named because the vaccine is often given to girls before they become sexually active - will expose this evidence to the world and hopefully help to halt another global tragedy."
HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is commonly found in women's cervixes. In almost all cases the infection clears up without any symptoms. However, it is claimed by those who administer the HPV vaccine that HPV causes about 80% of cervical cancer in later life*, which they attribute to the fact that fragments of HPV can be found in many cancer cells. But the presence of HPV in cancer cells does not mean HPV actually causes the cancer - which is one of the film's key arguments.
So while the HPV vaccine may prevent infection, there is still no proof that it also reduces the frequency of cervical cancer. But programmes of HPV vaccinations are solemnly based on this claim and such vaccinations are widespread - in the UK, the uptake in adolescent girls is over 85%.
However, according to Dr Christian Fiala, a Viennese specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology interviewed in the films, "No-one has shown that the HPV vaccine actually reduces the rate of cervical cancer but on the side-effects side it is clear that we have seen a huge number of serious, really terrible side-effects, like young girls being paralysed and actually condemned to death and even dying."
In part one of the series, titled Not for the Greater Good, Peter Duesberg, professor of molecular biology at Berkeley, California, explains scientific studies that found cervical cancers are not actually caused by the HPV virus. Fragments of HPV may be present in the cancers but, he says, "these are fossils of the HPV." Is there a causal relationship between HPV and cervical cancer? "Absolutely not … it's dead … it's a fragment of virus, it cannot make RNA, cannot make proteins, it cannot be found in the tumour or tumour cells. Nowhere."
The conclusion of the film is that, based on the scientific evidence presented, there is so far no proof that HPV vaccination of girls can prevent cervical cancer in her later life, while the occurrence of serious adverse reactions is clear. So why take the risk? The film also introduces some victims suffering such adverse reactions and pressure groups that are beginning to fight for their cause.
Joan Shenton concluded: "In the face of growing evidence of adverse reactions and public calls for a ban, Thalidomide was on the market for five years before authorities around the world called a halt. During those years, manufacturers continued to sell and doctors continued to prescribe. The HPV vaccine has been on the market for longer, since 2008, and is routinely administered, often paid for by taxpayers' money and distributed through schools and health authorities. It too has severe side effects but, unlike Thalidomide, the HPV vaccination is not even proven to work. Our films are intended as an urgent wake-up call."
Not for the Greater Good, duration 12½ minutes, will be launched on YouTube (bit.ly/SV-NotGood) today, Monday September 11, 2017. Online press previews are available now: please contact Joan Shenton (details below). Photos and film stills are also available.
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Notes for editors
* BBC: http://bit.ly/BBC-HPV-80
Sacrificial Virgins is a series in three parts written and narrated by Joan Shenton and directed by Andi Reiss. It is a co-production between Meditel Productions and Yellow Entertainment.
Part two, titled Pain and suffering, will focus on two young British victims and on a likely cause of the adverse reactions: possibly the additional aluminium content in the vaccine which was not included in the safety trials.
Part three, A penny for your pain, will look at the litigation around the world, following HPV vaccine damage, including a potential game-changing class action in Japan.
A 30 minute version of Sacrificial Virgins will be presented to international film festivals, starting later in the year.
Joan Shenton has extensive experience of producing and presenting television and radio programmes, including many peak time network documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4, Central TV, and Thames TV.
Joan Shenton's independent production company, Meditel Productions, has won seven television awards and was the first independent company ever to win a Royal Television Society Award for an episode of Channel 4's Dispatches. It has produced eight network documentaries for Channel 4, Sky News and M-Net, South Africa on the AIDS debate. "AIDS - The Unheard Voices" won the Royal Television Society Award for Current Affairs.
The HIV/AIDS documentary film, Positive Hell, has won a wide array of film festival awards since 2015, most recently the Special Jury Prize for Global Social Impact at the prestigious Queens World Film Festival in Queens, New York. Like Sacrificial Virgins, Positive Hell was written and narrated by Joan Shenton and directed by Andi Reiss, and is a co-production between Meditel Productions and Yellow Entertainment.
For further information, press previews, photos and interviews please contact:
Joan Shenton, Sacrificial Virgins
Tel: US 011 44 79 57 58 55 15 / UK + 44 7957 585515
On YouTube from Monday September 11: http://bit.ly/SV-NotGood .
Contact Joan Shenton (above) for preview.
Published for Sacrificial Virgins by Press Dispensary
+ 44 1273 741410