American Academy of Pediatrics: No, Michele Bachmann, the HPV vaccine cannot cause mental retardation

If you've been following the Republican campaign race, then you're already familiar with the ongoing fracas between Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry over the latter's 2007 HPV vaccine mandate; and that Bachmann suggested yesterday that the vaccine can cause mental retardation.

Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a formal response addressing false statements made in the Republican presidential campaign regarding the safety of HPV vaccination.

The Bachmann/Perry quarrel ramped up at Monday night's Republican debate when Bachmann referred to the mandate as "government injection," and escalated to new heights a day later, when Bachmann took to Fox News and NBC to condemn HPV vaccinations as dangerous — suggesting, for example, that they can cause mental retardation.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has since responded, issuing the following statement in a formal press release:

The American Academy of Pediatrics would like to correct false statements made in the Republican presidential campaign that HPV vaccine is dangerous and can cause mental retardation. There is absolutely no scientific validity to this statement. Since the vaccine has been introduced, more than 35 million doses have been administered, and it has an excellent safety record.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Family Physicians all recommend that girls receive HPV vaccine around age 11 or 12. That's because this is the age at which the vaccine produces the best immune response in the body, and because it's important to protect girls well before the onset of sexual activity. In the U.S., about 6 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year, and 4,000 women die from cervical cancer. This is a life-saving vaccine that can protect girls from cervical cancer.

Via The American Academy of Pediatrics
Bachmann and Perry images via [1, 2]