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Mothers sue Merck alleging wrongful deaths of daughters from HPV vaccine

The cases will be part of a multidistrict litigation against the vaccine in which over 150 similar cases are pending.

By Naveen Athrappully

The Epoch Times

Pharma company Merck is facing two more lawsuits against its human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil, alleging that the shots led to the death of two children.

The lawsuits were filed on behalf of two mothers who “contend the HPV vaccine caused serious autoimmune and neurological dysfunction, ultimately resulting in the deaths of their daughters,” according to a Feb. 16 press release by Wisner Baum, the law firm representing the plaintiffs.

The complaints against Merck cite the following reasons for suing the company – negligence, gross negligence, failure to warn, manufacturing defect, breach of warranty, common law fraud, and wrongful death and survival. The cases will now be part of the Gardasil multidistrict litigation in which more than 150 similar cases are pending.

“The senseless deaths of these two beautiful young girls brings home the seriousness of the allegations against Merck in these cases—that the company has exaggerated the benefits of Gardasil as cancer preventative and ignored the risks, including death—all for the sake of the company’s bottom line,” said Monique Alarcon, an attorney at Wisner Baum.

According to the lawsuit filed by plaintiff Kristine Zuggi from North Carolina, her 10-year-old child Isabella Zuggi received the first dose of Gardasil on Aug. 26, 2022. She decided on vaccinating her child “after being exposed to Merck’s marketing that Gardasil is very safe, that Gardasil prevents cancer, and that children must get the Gardasil vaccine.”

“Within days of receiving the vaccine, Isabella began to develop headaches, lethargy, body aches, and fevers. As the days progressed, so did Isabella’s symptoms. She continued to suffer severe body aches and developed stomach pains, insomnia, migraines, a fever of 101 degrees that lasted three days, incontinence, movement disorders, behavioral changes, loss of balance, and trouble completing sentences.”

Even though Isabella visited multiple specialists and was subjected to several tests and treatments, she passed away on Nov. 5, 2022, after being declared brain-dead a day earlier

Isabella was diagnosed as having died from acute encephalitis caused by an autoimmune/autoinflammatory dysregulation process. Before receiving Gardasil, Isabella had no autoimmune disease, the lawsuit noted.

“Plaintiff contends that Isabella’s Gardasil injection caused her to develop serious and debilitating autoimmune injuries.”

The second complaint was filed by Lynne Guzman from Pennsylvania on behalf of her 12-year-old daughter Sydney M. Figueroa. At the age of 11, Sydney received her first dose of Gardasil, taking a second dose one year later.

“Plaintiff relied upon Merck’s ubiquitous representations concerning the safety and efficacy of the Gardasil vaccine in consenting to her daughter’s Gardasil vaccinations,” the lawsuit states.

“Following her Gardasil vaccinations, Sydney experienced headaches, brain fog, fatigue, dizziness, rapid heart rate, exhaustion, leg pain, ringing in the ears, light sensitivity, muscle weakness, involuntary movements of her neck, head, legs, and arms, inability to walk normally, frequent stumbling, inability to swallow (ultimately requiring a feeding tube), vision issues, respiratory complications, and excruciating nerve pain.”

Sydney was consigned to a wheelchair, requiring 24/7 full-time care due to her immobility. She was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, Tourette syndrome, and functional neurological disorder.

The child died from a pulmonary embolism, which the lawsuit says was “directly attributable to prolonged immobility because of her autoimmune diseases triggered by Gardasil.” Pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that blocks and prevents the flow of blood to an artery in the lung.

Vaccine Risk

The lawsuits allege that Merck knowingly failed to warn medical providers and the public about the risk of injury or death posed by Gardasil. “Merck regularly risks lives with full knowledge of Gardasil’s limited efficacy and severe dangers,” Wisner Baum said.

They also claim that Merck has engaged in a “relentless propaganda campaign” intended to guilt and frighten parents into vaccinating their children.

In the complaints, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are also faulted.

Julie Gerberding, a former director of the agency, “obligingly ushered the Gardasil vaccine through CDC’s regulatory process manifestly ignoring clear evidence that Gardasil’s efficacy was unproven, and that the vaccine was potentially dangerous,” the lawsuits said.

The complaints claim there were “no studies proving that Gardasil prevents cancer.”

“Because it can take decades for a persistent HPV infection to proceed to development of cervical or anal cancer, and because cervical and anal cancers are so rare, a true efficacy study would require decades and likely hundreds of thousand—if not millions—of trial participants to demonstrate that eliminating certain HPV infections would actually prevent the development of cervical and anal cancer.”

Speaking to AP last March, Bob Josephson, a spokesperson for Merck, defended Gardasil against allegations of harm.

“The overwhelming body of scientific evidence—which includes more than 20 years of research and development—continues to support the safety and efficacy profile of our HPV vaccines,” he said. “We will vigorously defend against these cases.”

According to the CDC, HPV vaccines are considered “very safe.”

Prior to the licensure, the Gardasil vaccine was “studied in more than 15,000 males and females and was found to be safe and effective,” it said. The agency recommends HPV routine vaccination at the age of 11 or 12 years.

The Epoch Times reached out to Merck and the CDC for comment.


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