vaccineCarmen de Bolivar, Colombia has become ground zero in the international debate over HPV vaccine safety, efficacy, and need. After the administration of the 2nd dose of Gardasil in local schools, beginning in March 2014, hundreds of young girls were admitted to the hospital with mysterious new medical conditions. According to local sources, doctors who examined the girls and reported symptoms as possible adverse reactions to the HPV vaccine would often find manufacturer’s representatives in their office the next day trying to convince them otherwise. The National Ministry of Health (Minsalud) initially put forth several theories to explain the symptoms of over 700 girls including mass hysteria, illicit drug use, and even the excessive use of Ouija boards. They even went so far as to enlist the services of Nobel Prize nominee, Dr. Nubia Muñoz Calero, to help ease the tension. (read more here.) Her message was basically that it would be a mistake to halt the current school-based HPV vaccination programs in Colombia. Apparently parents of those affected, many doctors who personally examined the girls, at least one judge, and Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez do not necessarily agree. More