Having taken a fair amount of criticism from the media and the science community, Katie Couric says she regrets spending too much time talking about the rare adverse side effects from HPV vaccinations instead of acknowledging the HPV vaccine's overwhelming success.
On Tuesday the talk show host apologized in an opinion piece for the Huffington Post.
"Last week we devoted several segments on my TV talk show to the issues surrounding the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine. Learning about this relatively recent preventive measure is tremendously important, and I felt it was a subject well worth exploring." Couric wrote. "We simply spent too much time on the serious adverse events that have been reported in very rare cases following the vaccine. More emphasis should have been given to the safety and efficacy of the HPV vaccines."
Couric's program had insinuated that the HPV vaccine was far from being safe and featured spine chilling stories from two mothers that attributed negative experiences to the vaccine. One mother claimed the vaccine killed her daughter while another mother claimed the vaccine caused her daughter to experience nausea and fatigue. Couric's report featured only one pro-vaccine guest - Dr. Mallika Marshall and thus appeared lopsided in its critique.
Some critics such as Politico's Tara Haelle, claimed that Couric resorted to "scaremongering" in an effort to boost her program ratings, while Time's Alexandra Sifferlin compared Couric to Jenny McCarthy. McCarthy is a former Playboy model and co-host of "The View" who has also been criticized for her anti-vaccine reporting. Los Angeles Times' Michael Hiltzik disparaged Couric's anti-vaccination report, saying "Daytime talk shows like Couric's thrive on conflict and controversy, but injecting doubt and emotionalism into important medical discussions and removing science from the arena is playing with fire."
However, Couric said that it was never her intention to misrepresent medical and scientific facts. In fact, Couric has been a strong advocate for research related to disease. She did, however, feel that problems caused by the HPV vaccine had to be highlighted.
"As a journalist, I felt that we couldn't simply ignore these reports. That's why we had two mothers on the show who reported adverse reactions after their daughters had been vaccinated for HPV," she wrote.
Nonetheless, Couric acknowledged that the benefits of the HPV vaccine far outweigh its risks. She also admitted that she had both her daughters vaccinated for HPV.
Is HPV Vaccine Safe?
(image via Wikipedia)