Members of Parents and Citizens Committee to Stop Medical Experimentation in D.C. filtered into the Lamdon-Riggs Library meeting room. A few were men, but most were women, some carrying babies, others carrying handbags, but all there to carry out the same agenda.
They are all present to plan ways to combat the law that requires all girls entering the sixth grade in the 2009-2010 year in the District to receive the Gardisil, the HPV or human papilloma virus vaccination shot manufactured by Merck.
“The city council member, David Catania, is very tenacious about the drug Gardisil,” said Asantewaa Nkrumah-Fure, a founding member of Parents and Citizens Committee to Stop Medical Experimentation in DC. “Gardisil is an example of the political influence that pharmaceutical companies have, which is very dangerous.”
Merck manufactures the FDA approved drug Gardisil, which is a vaccination that prevents most types of HPV, a virus that may lead to cervical cancer.
Those that oppose Gardisil do so, primarily because the vaccination is fairly new; therefore, long -erm side-effects have not be studied or determined. As a result, many against the drug feel the community’s young girls are part of a medical experiment that could have unknown adverse effects.
“Medical Apartheid by Dr. Harriet Washington, discussed how Merck experimented on black prisoners in Humberg prison in Pennsylvania from the 1950s to the 1970s,” said Nkrumah-Fure, “They have a history of experimenting on the black community and it’s beginning to start up again.”
Based upon information on Parents and Citizens Committee to Stop Medical Experimentation in D.C.’s Web site, www.nohpvshot4me.com, Gardisil may hurt more than it helps.
Only a few months after being introduced, Gardisil has caused complications including fainting, slurring, and miscarriages in 3500 young women. In addition, eleven young women have died after being injected with Gardisil.
The small, yet big voiced grassroots organization created in February 2007, takes advantage of every opportunity to enlighten the community about their stand on the HPV vaccination issue in the District. These opportunities present themselves as council hearings, public service announcements on public television, public radio, community churches services and events, organizational websites, and even Facebook status updates.
“We started strong two years ago and then we kind of began to dwindle”, said Pete Tucker, a founding member of Parents and Citizens Committee to Stop Medical Experimentation in D.C. “Recently, we’ve blown up again.”
Parents and Citizens Committee to Stop Medical Experimentation in DC continues to gain members to achieve their primary objective of stopping medical experimentation of young girls in Washington, D.C.
“I just recently joined the organization,” said Nzingha Tingling-Clemmons, member of Parents and Citizens Committee to Stop Medical Experimentation in D.C. “I want to get the city council to end the whole mode of disrespect. They’re telling us what is best for us and not asking us.”
Their continued presence in the community has made significant impact.
“One of our greatest victories is that we got the council to push back the date for mandating the shot mandatory shot from 2007 to 2009,” said Nkrumah-Fure.”Another is that after two years, we are still going strong.”