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“They’ve been robbed of their womanhood:” Two sisters face one life-changing diagnosis

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Two sisters in their teens just starting to grow up say they've been robbed of their womanhood when faced with a life-changing diagnosis.

There are few relationships in life as strong as that of sisters. It is a bond formed at birth strengthened through time. Maddie and Olivia Meylor are separated by just 13 months -- sharing clothes, a love of sports, and in 2007, a life-changing doctor's visit.

"We went to the same physician throughout the years," said Joen Meylor, Maddie and Olivia's mom.

At their annual physical, the doctor suggested a new vaccine.

"She said it would prevent cancer. I jumped on board and said 'absolutely. Anything to prevent cancer,'" said Joen.

"I just remember the first shot. It hurt really bad," said Olivia.

The initial pain was nothing compared to what they say happened next.

"As the years went on, Madelyne never got her period," said Joen.

Time passed, and Maddie's development took a turn.

"I still hadn't had my period, which I thought was weird," said Maddie.

After multiple doctor visits, her diagnosis was in.

"We did some testing and sure enough, I had POF," said Maddie.

Maddie was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure. She was going through menopause at just 16 years old.

"I do remember just being confused and like, emotional," Maddie said.

Maddie relied on Olivia for support. Only to find out months later the sisters shared the same fate.

"I was also diagnosed in July," said Olivia.

"We were devastated," said Joen.

"It's rare at their age and it's very rare that two sisters would have premature ovarian failure," said Joen.

The sisters went through the same genetic testing, looking for answers. They say all roads led back to that doctor's visit in 2007.

"I realized it was the Gardasil vaccine," said Joen.

The Meylors believe the HPV vaccine is to blame for their rare disorder.

"I'm mad at myself. I should have looked into it. I kick myself every day for that," Joen said.

Dr. Lyn Ranta with of Children's Hospital of Wisconsin doesn't believe the Gardasil vaccine is to blame.

"We know this vaccine is safe. There really is no evidence that shows it's related to getting the HPV vaccine. It has an incredible low risk of serious side effects," said Dr. Ranta.

Ranta says the benefits of the vaccine outweigh any risks. The vaccine is given in three doses intending to stop the virus -- which is a leading cause of multiple cancers.

"It's not a live virus. It's a portion of the virus. It allows your body to recognize the HPV germ in a non-infectious way and you build up antibodies," said Dr. Ranta.

"The risk for serious side effects is very, very small," said Dr. Ranta.

"I'm more angry about what I've had to endure already," said Maddie.

The sisters have filed a federal claim with the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. According to records, more than 200 claims have been made against the HPV vaccine. So far, 73 have been compensated. Four years later, there's still no ruling for the Meylors.

"It's just frustrating, just to be waiting," said Olivia.

They want some money for past medical costs and those that loom in the future.

"They've been robbed of their womanhood," said Joen.

The sisters who say family is everything, may never be able to have children in the traditional sense.

"We can carry a child, but we can't create our own," Olivia said.

"They're in menopause and they're 20 and 21. Not fair," said Joen.

It's an obstacle the sisters have been tackling together.

"You just kind of have to be optimistic," Olivia said.

FOX6 News reached out the Merck, the maker of Gardasil. The company says the vaccine's safety was tested in clinical trials -- and continues to be studied in more than a half-million people.

Merck released this statement:

"Nothing is more important to Merck than the safety of our medicines and vaccines.  Merck employees, and our families, use our vaccines, too.

We are confident in the safety profile of GARDASIL.  The safety and efficacy of GARDASIL was established in clinical trials involving more than 25,000 females and males.  Safety has continued to be evaluated in several large post-licensure surveillance studies in more than 500,000 people following administration of more than a million doses of vaccine.   And while difficult to determine number of doses administered, more than 169 million doses of GARDASIL have been distributed globally since 2006.

Merck has reviewed the post-licensure reports of POI after administration of GARDASIL and has concluded that the evidence does not support a causal relationship to the vaccine.  These cases have been reported to the US FDA and other regulatory agencies.  There have been no reports of adverse reactions of POI in subjects who received GARDASIL in clinical trials.  A medical history of POI has been reported by a small number of trial participants who received GARDASIL or placebo; the number of medical history reports of POI is similar for GARDASIL and placebo recipients.

Parents should understand the extensive data supporting the safety profile of GARDASIL, and we encourage them to look to CDC and FDA, and to the advice of their own physicians, to make an informed choice about something as important as a vaccine to help prevent cervical cancer."

Merck also released this additional background information to FOX6 News:

While no vaccine or medicine is completely without risk, leading international health organizations throughout the world including the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. CDC, Health Canada, the European Medicines Agency, and the Australia Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), among others, continue to recommend the use of GARDASIL.

  • The U.S. CDC has stated that post-licensure safety monitoring from June 2006 through March 2013 continues to show no new HPV vaccine safety concerns.
  • The WHO’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety reviewed updated safety information on HPV vaccines and stated in June that data from all sources continue to be reassuring about the safety profile of HPV vaccines.

The CDC also has a critical perspective on this issue. For more information from the CDC's HPV safety page, CLICK HERE.


  • Janelle Williams

    Finding out that you are losing a major part of what it means to be born a woman and what it means to raise a family is a tough diagnosis. I was there at 17 with a PCOS diagnosis. However, I do not believe that it is fair to go on television and blame a vaccine which has been proven to have no correlation whatsoever with POF. Also, with only 200 claims made through the adverse effect claims, it would be extremely rare statistically to have two women around the same age and from the same family to have the exact same reaction to the medication. It’s stories like this which lead to the anti-vaccine paranoia that we have cycling through the modern world. Vaccines have their risks and their side effects, however most of those are minor. The few that are major have been isolated enough to still warrant that the vaccine is worthwhile to keep administering. I understand the concern over this particular vaccine as it is a rather new vaccine to the world, however this also leads to the required vaccines taking a hit too. Our country is facing renewed epidemics and the potential mutation of so many deadly diseases because psuedo-scientists insist on coming out against vaccines WITH NO FUNDAMENTAL SCIENCE BEHIND THEM. Also, celebrities that decide to come out (i.e. Jenny McCarthy) against vaccines deserve to have consequences brought against them. Just because you have a big audience and wide influence does not mean that you use it to harm others, which is exactly what people are doing with their non-scientific OPINIONS. So I ask that people please be sensible. Required vaccines are extremely important to the healthy development of not only your family, but also the world. And if you need proof, look up how many people die every year from diseases we never hear of here in the US because we have access to vaccines. That should be all the motivation you will ever need.

      • Lou Nunzio Loizides

        Yes, it’s all part of a global conspiracy involving big pharma, almost all doctors, medical researchers, etc. And meanwhile the insurance companies and your employers must be in on it as well because they’re the ones paying for most of this (I’m not sure how they profit from that, but we also don’t know how such a massive conspiracy has never had a leak so it’s fair game).

      • Janelle Williams

        Yes, I totally profit from “big pharma” because I don’t share your opinion. Here’s my opinion: If you don’t want to listen to legitimate science and get your kids vaccinated with their required vaccines, then go to jail for child endangerment and public endangerment. I know that the pharmacy industry needs a major overhaul and things are ridiculous in price. However science is REAL. And it’s clear that seeing as we no longer have massive deaths from measles, mumps, rubella, smallpox, etc. then we have the proof that vaccines do work. And NO science has never found that they cause autism or any other severe complications.

    • R

      You’d be surprised how well big pharma hides their profits from people who have been adversely affected by knowingly tainted vaccinations. Ask a few different third world countries that had doses dumped onto them knowing they were fatally flawed. Rhe problem is there is little to no recourse for people whose lives have been affected.

      • Wayne Rohde

        That is highly suspect. What we do know is that during the clinical trials, the control or placebo was not a sterile agent. It was another vaccine with aluminum based adjuvant. Thus comparing adverse reactions of Gardasil against a control was suspect. The issue is that there are vaccine related injuries and we should demand FDA to force manufacturers to be more forthcoming about known or possible risk groups.

  • Wayne Rohde

    The vast majority of injuries from Gardasil per petitions filed within the NVICP (The Vaccine Court) are autoimmune in nature and very bizarre. The concern, that has not been tested, is what happens when girls reach the age when they are conceiving families. Their children, birth defects, increased miscarriages, these issues have not been tested at all. Too many girls and some boys are suffering from severe reactions to this vaccine. Are there emerging risk groups of people that should not receive this vaccine? It appears so. Other countries are banning this vaccine due to adverse reactions.

    • Lou Nunzio Loizides

      A century ago when someone was sick they’d take some snake oil, magic tonic, powdered mummy, etc. When they were better soon afterwards they’d say “hey, I got sick after I took this so I must be cured”. The entire modern scientific process exists to prevent this kind of false logic. And because of that we’ve done wonderful things like create actual cures – vaccines, antibiotics, etc. The data in the NVIC unfortunately is not populated by people who are trained in this kind of modern reasoning – it’s populated by the people who believe that if one thing happens after another the two are related. It’s a complete source of pseudoscience and only exists for political reasons.

      • Wayne Rohde

        It appears that you have not idea of the workings of the NVICP. It is medical doctors, medical experts that provide the testimony on the behalf of petitioners and on the behalf of the government.

    • Astoria Rego

      Yes. Instead of getting a vaccine that has been proven in peer-reviewed studies to prevent the strains of HPV that usually cause cancer, just go out and risk getting cancer, then hope you get diagnosed with it in time to survive cancer. That sounds logical.

      Also, you’re either a liar or never bothered to look for proof that it works:

  • Lou Nunzio Loizides

    Look at the facts here. This vaccine has been given to tens of thousands of girls who don’t have POI. These two, who are sisters, ended up with the same exact condition. If there’s anything here that’s improbable it would be the fact that this one in a million adverse reaction to the vaccine just happened to affect these two sisters. Simple logic, therefore, dictates that the vaccine is most likely not the cause. It’s far more likely that they have some kind of genetic predisposition to POI and the vaccine had nothing to do with it – just because two things happen at once doesn’t mean they’re related. The HPV vaccine prevents cancer. When the chances of getting an adverse side effect is *orders of magnitude* less than getting a life threatening cancer it would be foolish not to get the vaccine. People shouldn’t let an irrational fear and misunderstanding of cause and effect get the the way of a potentially life saving decision.

    • Wayne Rohde

      Except that there are several other claims of sterilization filed with the NVICP. This is not isolated to the two girls. There could be some underlying medical condition that needs to be investigated.

    • Beverly

      As you’ll recall, these girls went thru extensive genetic testing, entirely ruled out, inarguably vaccine connected. Does it prevent cervical cancer? I personally know a young woman, fully vaccinated with Gardasil at age 14, diagnosed with cervical cancer at 16!

      • Janelle Williams

        HPV is NOT the only cause of cervical cancer, so just because you have the vaccine doesn’t mean you won’t get cervical cancer. Just like even when you get the flu shot yearly, you might still get the flu because it can only prevent certain strains of the flu. So you can’t write off “Oh this person got cervical cancer so the vaccine is no good”.

      • Astoria Rego

        Genetic testing can only point us toward the known genetic causes of POS. We are still learning about what causes it, and we do not know all the genes that factor here. Nor do we know exactly what genetic testing they had; there are a lot of genes associated with POS, so it is possible they had some genetic testing that felt like a lot to them but missed some potential links.

        It seems like the journalist did not consult their medical team, so all we have is the lay opinion of these two patients, so the definition of “extensive genetic testing” is one I am skeptical about. Especially since the article is blaming the vaccine on the patient’s say-so even though she gives no reason whatsoever for this conclusion.

  • Susan Avery

    Thank you Fox 6 for having the courage to air this story. There are lawsuits worldwide against this vaccine due to the adverse effects and deaths which occurred. Only in the US are we gagged from coming up against big Pharma……..which by the way is giving big kickbacks to the US government. What is wrong with this picture. By the way, I would love to find out who’s payroll Janelle Williams (commenter below) is on. She is an obvious SHILL. Quite the disinformation agent. The real facts are much different than she presents. It is almost impossible to present the truth when most of the ads on the news are big Pharm. Congratulations for telling the truth, now brace for the repercussions. (Katie Couric also had the courage and ended up issuing an apology for doing so). Such power – or should I say money.

    • Gina

      Where there’s a ton of money to be made, Big Pharma is all over it. And so are their laptop supporters who regularly scare the public into the newest most important vaccine. Yeah. Sure. If it’s not an airborne illness, it’s not critical — except to the never-ending appetite of the pharmaceutical companies and their profiting minions.

  • Elaine

    Thank you, Fox 6, for reporting this story. I trust it will spur thinking people to do their own research into the issue and seek more sources than those with financial incentive to gloss over serious repercussions to the vaccine.

  • Lisa

    Thanks for sharing this story Fox 6. Many news media outlets refuse to give voice to the growing throng of parents, families and individuals who have their own personal stories of vaccine injuries. To those that say there is no correlation, that’s what so many injured used to think… Can they really all be liars? May people wake up.

  • Patricia Truty

    Is this the vaccine for cervical cancer? My OB/GYN told me that cervical cancer usually occurs in promiscuous women and due to their promiscuity. He was not at all concerned about me because I am married and have always been monogamous. If a woman does not sleep around, she has nothing to worry about! (uterine cancer is different from cervical cancer) God has always allowed suffering and certain diseases as consequences of mankind’s sins.

  • Johnny

    more discussion is always better than no discussion no matter the subject. Teasing conclusions from data samples of population studies can be difficult to keep balanced when results have a dollar value and may be goal-seeked. Studying data sets from many angles is always preferable. Lets keep the discussion open.

  • j

    Thank you, Fox6, for airing this story. The truth needs to be told, not the usual Big Pharma propoganda. Thank you for being bold enough to tell it!

  • Amanda P

    How do you explain the fact that girls who do not receive the HPV vaccine go into POF at the same rate as girls who do? In other words, it appears that a percent of the population suffers from this whether they get the HPV vaccine or not, and that the percentage isn’t affected by the HPV vaccine.

  • Dr. Sara Vidan

    Thank you for covering these types of important issues that so many other news stations are afraid to report about!

  • Jennifer S.

    Thank you for airing this story, even though you had to publish the standard “trust us, it’s safe” answer from the government. There’s a reason that every other country which started this vaccine is now taking it off their schedule. It’s maiming and killing young women in droves.

  • Andrea Winship

    The sisters are lucky to be alive. There have been way worse effects from this vaccine. I hope that more and more young women and men (they’re pushing this vaccine on guys) will get re-educated about this vaccine and vaccines in general.

  • Danielle

    Thank you for pointing out how dangerous this vaccine is…please continue to share vaccine related information and how to help inform people of the dangers of vaccines…

  • HiDef
    Try this article for an interesting point of view…

    “Most people are also probably unaware that the U.S. Government earns royalties from the sale of Merck’s Gardasil vaccine. In November 2010, Dr. Eric Suba submitted a Freedom of Information Request to the Office of Government Information Services to discover the amount of money the U.S government earns from Merck’s sale of Gardasil. But apparently the government is immune from revealing those figures.”

    “To get most of the current news regarding the HPV vaccine, one must mainly look to media sources outside the U.S., where many countries now have criminal cases against the manufacturers of the HPV vaccine, and their widespread use is being questioned by government authorities.”

  • Nina

    Thank you for covering the topic of negative vaccine outcomes. It’s not often that a media source dares to touch on the subject of this holy grail of modern medicine! I am no longer a “believer” and fail to see the proof of their efficacy.

  • Happy

    Thank you for airing this story and proving to the people that we so not live in China. All information should be shared and not suppressed like Big Pharma is trying to do. The CDC is not the only health orginazation to get info on vaccines from just the default if you live in the US.

  • Lynda Osborne

    Thank you for publishing this article!!!!!!!!! The public has a right to know what these vaccines do to young women and actually how useless they are, except for population control.

  • Debra

    Blah blah blah… Merck, you bunch of liars. Of course it’s safe, you need to sell your product! I am sure many adverse reactions to this shot have gone unreported, AND/OR some have just not shown symptoms and put two and two together yer! A friend, who recently took her eleven year old son in for a physical, was pressured to give him Gardisil! She asked the doctor (and she’s NOT anti vax), “Doesn’t HPV clear itself in most cases? And is it true the vaccine is said to cover only a few out of many many strains of the virus?” The doc’s answer… Yes, and yes!

  • Courtney

    Thank you Fox channel 6 for airing this news story, and presenting a side of the vaccine that usually gets swept under the rug. I am a 28 year old female suffering from health issues now that all began when I received the first HPV shot in 2009. It has very real risks. I wish I knew back then what I know now. I would have never thought I would be taking hormone replacement therapy and sitting in a doctor’s office talking about menopausal symptoms at my age. Thank you for being the voice for young woman and parents everywhere even when it is not popular opinion.

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