The cervical cancer vaccine saves lives, actually.
Didn't we all feel horrible last week, on hearing the news that 14-year-old Natalie Morton died a matter of hours after receiving the HPV vaccine at school? How long would it be before we'd hear whether the vaccine actually caused her death or whether something else did? Not long, as it turned out. Three days later, an inquest was told that she'd died from a large and previously undetected tumour in her chest that could have killed her at any moment. But by that time, it was too late. Taking their lead from an ill-informed explanation by the school's headmistress that Natalie had suffered a rare reaction to the jab, newspapers soon whipped up a frenzy, ably catalogued by a poster on the online journalism blog, who points out that, as a result of the widespread inaccuracy of the coverage, "Google's results will give parents second thoughts about letting their daughters be vaccinated, even though the injection will save hundreds of lives a year." To counteract this, he suggests