NZ Herald December 04, 2007
Health officials in New Zealand are standing by the safety of the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil after reports almost 500 in Australia have had adverse reactions since it became widely distributed there this year. Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported yesterday that 496 have had adverse reactions to the vaccine, including seizures and numbness. Of those, 468 listed the vaccine as the sole suspected cause. It was, however, not clear how many of those adverse reactions were serious. The report also mentioned links between the vaccine and seven deaths in the US. Medicines regulator Medsafe said in a statement that it remained confident of the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. “Gardasil has been deemed safe for use in more than 70 countries, including Australia, the United States, the 27 countries of the European Union, Mexico, Taiwan, Brazil and Canada.” The vaccine is not yet publicly available in New Zealand, but Prime Minister Helen Clark signalled last month that public funding for it may be fast-tracked following the British Government’s decision to go ahead with it.