Call to shelve vaccine over adverse reactions

The Press 09/03/2010

Girls given the Gardasil HPV vaccine are at least 16 times more likely to have a serious adverse reaction to it than to develop terminal cervical cancer, which critics say raise doubts about the increasingly controversial vaccine. Information released under the Official Information Act shows the death rate for cervical cancer between 2002 and 2005 was 1.95 deaths per 100,000 women. This compares with 31 serious adverse reactions for the 90,000 girls who have been vaccinated with Gardasil so far. The reactions include the death of an 18-year-old woman in September 2009, and reports of epilepsy, Bells Palsy and collapses.

Timaru mother Julie Smith, who created a website after researching Gardasil, said the figures supported her call to have the vaccine withdrawn. “Parents are not being made aware [of facts about Gardasil] and certainly not by the Ministry [of Health].” Health Minister Tony Ryall responded briefly last night, saying he was advised the Ministry of Health did not have concerns about the vaccine’s safety or effectiveness.