Schoolgirls dodging cancer vaccine offer August 18, 2008

MORE than 40,000 schoolgirls offered free Gardasil vaccinations at school opted out, figures show, as some parents worry about side-effects and promiscuous sex. Official figures from NSW Health show 23 per cent of the 173,607 girls enrolled in Years 7 to 10 did not participate in school-based vaccinations this year aimed at reducing the incidence of cervical cancer.

….But others last night were expressing a different view, stating the results showed a number of parents were uncertain about the vaccination, including the possibility of side-effects. The Therapeutic Goods Administration website states 1013 adverse reactions had been officially logged as at June 27, 2008, including 202 for headache and 156 for dizziness. Yesterday, a newspaper reported on three cases of pancreatitis possibly linked to vaccination, although the matter has yet to be fully investigated.

Australian Family Association spokeswoman Angela Conway, while not opposed to the vaccination, said those behind the program seemed to assume every young person would have multiple sex partners. The vaccination provides protection to young women exposed to the human papillomavirus, a form of sexually transmitted disease. Strains of the virus are thought to cause about 70 per cent of cervical cancer. CSL has already reported a sales slump in the US as conservative groups link Gardasil with promiscuity. CSL spokeswoman Rachel David said Gardasil was studied for almost 20 years before its release in Australia and its benefits greatly outweighed the risk of adverse effects from immunisation.,21985,24195119-662,00.html