NZ Herald Jan 9, 2010
Rhonda Renata is in no doubt about what caused the death of her daughter Jasmine. The 18-year-old died last September 22 at her family home in Upper Hutt, apparently in her sleep. It was six months since she had received the last of the three injections of the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil. Her grieving mother is still waiting for official answers on what happened to Jasmine but she doubts the medical investigations will provide them. Her own inquiries have led her to cases overseas which she considers similar to Jasmine’s clutch of symptoms before she died.
In the United States, it has been alleged more than 10 deaths are linked to Gardasil. Several lawsuits have been filed relating to paralysis of teenage girls, one of whom died. CSL, which markets Gardasil in New Zealand, said it was unlikely the investigations would find the vaccine caused Jasmine’s death. No causal relationship had been established between Gardasil and any deaths or cases of paralysis, said CSL spokeswoman Rachel David. There was an established risk of severe allergic reaction immediately after the injection, but cases were rare. The Ministry of Health said it was important not to jump to conclusions about Jasmine’s death until more information was available. “Information from immunisation programmes overseas has not raised any concerns over the safety of this vaccine, in which over 44 million doses have been distributed worldwide,” said Dr Stewart Jessamine, group manager of the ministry’s medicines safety authority Medsafe.