The story seemed unlikely for three reasons. Firstly, Professor Harper is not a known member of the antivaccination community, which is vanishingly small. Secondly, it was on the front page of the Sunday Express, which is indeed cause for concern. Lastly, it was by specialist health journalist Lucy Johnston, whose previous work includes "Doctor's MMR fears", "Exclusive: Experts Cast Doubt On Claim For 'Wonder' Cancer Jabs", "Children 'Used As Guinea Pigs For Vaccines'", "Dangers Of Mmr Jab 'Covered Up'", "Teenage Girls Sue Over Cancer Jab", "Jab Makers Linked To Vaccine Programme", and so many more, including a rather memorable bad science story, the front page: " Suicides 'Linked To Phone Masts".Jabs "as bad as the cancer" (Thanks, Evidence Matters!)
So I contacted Professor Harper. For avoidance of doubt, so that there can be no question of me misrepresenting her views, unlike the Express, I will explain Professor Harper's position on this issue in her own words. They are unambiguous.
"I did not say that Cervarix was as deadly as cervical cancer. I did not say that Cervarix could be riskier or more deadly than cervical cancer. I did not say that Cervarix was controversial, I stated that Cervarix is not a 'controversial drug'. I did not 'hit out' - I was contacted by the press for facts. And this was not an exclusive interview."
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.