Interview with Leslie Carol Botha: Exposing the truth about HPV vaccines
On March 12, 2010, six very special women from around the world were honored to be able to present their research regarding the two currently licensed HPV vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, to several FDA department heads via webinar.
One of these women was Leslie Carol Botha, internationally recognized expert on women’s hormone cycles and the relationship between endocrine balance and healthcare. Her multi-faceted background includes broadcast journalism, health education and public speaking. Leslie is also the author of a multitude articles relating to hormone cycles and healthcare. She was awarded the Edward R. Dewey Award in 2006 for her „pioneering work in female hormones and behaviors,” from the Foundation for the Study of Cycles. Leslie is a longstanding member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.
You can learn more about Leslie’s work by visiting „Holy Hormones Honey, The Greatest Story Never Told.”
In spite of her many current projects, Leslie graciously agreed to take time out of her busy schedule to explain exactly how she became involved in the HPV vaccine controversy and what part she played in the recent presentation to the FDA concerning the risks involved with the currently licensed HPV vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix.
Leslie, I understand you were concerned about the HPV virus even before the introduction of Gardasil and Cervarix, is that true?
Yes, it is. I host a bi-monthly radio talk show that focuses on anything and everything having to do with hormones and the relationship of endocrine balance and healthcare. I hosted several shows aimed at educating women of all ages regarding the transmission of the HPV virus. I always tried to stress that a strong immune system is the best defense against any viral infection, including the HPV virus. I also made a substantial effort to let people know that HPV generally passes through a woman’s body in two years time with, or without treatment.
Several of your articles express concerns about the timing of medical treatments, can you explain a little about those concerns?
Of course. My research has clearly shown a strong relationship between the effectiveness of medical treatments such as antibiotics, medications and even surgical procedures to the phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Medical treatments given during the paramenstrum (premenstrual and menstrual phases) have an increased risk of negative side effects and a decreased chance of success. There is also a significantly longer recovery time for medical procedures performed during the paramenstrum. When these same procedures occur around ovulation, there is a much greater chance of experiencing a successful outcome, and a decreased incidence of negative side effects.
So, it was not a terribly large leap from your findings to concerns about HPV Vaccines?
Not at all, in fact, shortly after Gardasil was approved for use in the United States, I interviewed Barbara Loe Fisher, Director of the National Vaccine Information Center. She was just beginning to sound warnings on the dangers of Gardasil.
My interest was immediately piqued. The primary concern at the time, was that this vaccine was recommended for a generation of women during the most fragile time of their life – menarche (onset of first period). I was very worried about possible negative adverse reactions due to the timing of these vaccinations with no regard to menstrual cycle.
I stepped up my research and began to relate potential adverse reactions to the information I had gleaned from previous research. It was frightening, to say the least.
Then, I started using my blog to voice these concerns about HPV vaccines in an attempt to educate women and their daughters about the potential risks. To date, I have posted over 1,000 articles about Gardasil and Cervarix.
At that time, it sounds like you were still talking about ‚potential’ risks. What changed your perspective?
In October of 2008, a woman in Florida posted a comment in response to one of my blog posts. She identified herself as Denise Melton, grandmother of Jessica Faye Ericzon, one of the first known girls to become a ‚victim’ of Gardasil.
When you say ‚victim of Gardasil,’ what do you mean?
Jessica was a member of the National Honor Society throughout her high school career. She was also extremely active in sports. Just 40 hours after her third Gardasil injection, her parents came home and found her lying dead on the bathroom floor. Jessica was only 17. Her entire family was devastated.
Please, explain what happened after Denise’s response to your blog post.
Denise and I began to correspond via email, finally speaking on the phone. Shortly after our phone conversation, I invited her and her daughter, Lisa Ericzon, to join me on my radio show to tell their story about Jessica.
At that moment, I realized that this was the beginning of a horror story that would unfold before my very eyes.
After the show, Denise and Lisa connected me with other mothers and daughters who had experienced adverse side effects. Before I knew it, I was speaking with women all around the country with similar experiences.
In November 2008, I was contacted by Cynthia Janak. She is a safe vaccine advocate and researcher, who had spent the last two years researching the ingredients in Gardasil and the potential risks posed by those ingredients. We quickly became colleagues in our quest to educate unsuspecting parents about the previously unknown dangers HPV vaccines pose.
From there, my network continued to expand until the fall of 2009, when Karen Maynor, Freda Birrell, Janny Stokvis, Rosemary Mathis and I composed a letter to Dr. Margaret Hamburg, FDA Commissioner, expressing our concerns about Gardasil. The letter included reports with photos and descriptions of adolescent girls killed or injured by the vaccine. We sent copies to select members of Congress and made sure a copy was hand-delivered to President Obama.
I understand the FDA responded quickly to your letter of concern?
Yes, they contacted Karen Maynor within a month stating that they were interested in her concerns. Karen asked that the rest of the international group be included in the discussion since many of us were responsible for the research. Of course we agreed. We also decided to invite Cynthia Janak to help us because of her extensive research on the vaccine ingredients.
After the first two initial discussions, we requested the opportunity to present our data and research. We also requested enough time to put our concerns into a more formal type of presentation. All parties agreed to postpone the formal presentation until after the holidays. That allowed us sufficient time to polish, if you will, the data and research we had gathered.
Briefly, what did your presentation include?
Rosemary, Freda and Janny put together all of the graphs outlining the information we gathered from VAERS reports. Freda put together the information on adverse events she had received from women in various countries around the world.
Cynthia and I approached the problem from different angles. We were both looking for possible explanations for the sheer volume of serious adverse events associated with these vaccines.She focused on histamine and IgE responses to the vaccine. I focused on menstrual cycle influence. We also included information about the potential consequences of someone receiving the vaccine after they had been exposed to the HPV virus.
We were all extremely careful, throughout, to back up any information with good, solid scientific studies. Much of our information came from the CDC, the FDA, and VAERS.
How did you conclude your presentation to the FDA?
Basically, we ended the presentation with a heartfelt request from women around the world to further investigate the safety and efficiency of HPV vaccines. Sound research from the pharmaceutical companies has not, in our opinion, been conducted. These vaccines not only provide little benefit; they bring substantial risks of adverse events including death. We firmly believe the benefits do not outweigh the risks.
We believe these vaccines present the opportunity for a ‚perfect storm’ of adverse reactions.
What would you say to anyone considering an HPV vaccine?
I would say, „Please, watch the presentation we made to the FDA before you decide. Your future may depend on it.”
Watch the presentation these women made to the FDA. You can read it on The Truth About Gardasil site under the Gardasil Webinar PDF link at the bottom, left-hand side of the page.
You can also view the archived version of the public presentation of the same information called „Global Backlash Against HPV Vaccines,” by visiting the HomeFirst Website. You will be asked to enter your email. There is no charge for viewing.
Learn more at www.truthaboutgardasil.org.