[back] Gardasil


EIGHT deaths have been linked to the cervical cancer jab which will be given to every 12-year-old girl in Britain under Government plans announced last week.

Oct 28, 2007


Doctors suspect the jab, which protects against a sexually transmitted human papilloma virus that causes the cancer, may be implicated in 3,461 adverse reactions, including paralysis and seizures.
Last week Health Secretary Alan Johnson revealed plans to vaccinate all girls aged between 12 and 13 to cut Britain’s death rate from the disease. He said: “Prevention is better than cure and this vaccine will prevent many women from catching the virus in the first place.”
However, reports from the US, where the Gardasil vaccine has been used for nearly a year in some states, reveal that eight victims died soon after receiving it. The victims, aged from as young as 11 to 22, suffered blood clots or heart attacks.

 Thousands of side effects have also been linked, many serious. These include 15 cases of paralysis and 239 cases of temporary loss of consciousness. Other suspected reactions include convulsions and numbness.
In one case Jessica Vega, 14, from Gardnerville, California, became paralysed from the knees down after a booster shot of Gardasil in May.
Jessica, who has two older brothers and enjoys horse-riding and football, had been sitting in a school lesson and started feeling weak.

She could barely walk to the car by the end of the day and late that afternoon she was rushed to hospital. “I was getting weak, it felt weird to walk and to open the car door,” she said.

Although the cause has not been officially determined, her paralysis is a known and rare side effect of the vaccine and doctors have indicated this may be the cause.

In June, Shannon Nelson, 18, an athlete and artist from Chicago, received Gardasil with vaccines against meningitis and chickenpox. Within days she developed tingling, numbness and muscle weakness.

 Her symptoms worsened and weeks later she could barely walk or raise her arms. She became paralysed on July 5. The paralysis lasted for two months and she is still recovering. “I couldn’t sit up in bed, I could not lift up my arms,” she said.

 Of 42 women who received the vaccine while pregnant, 18 have been reported to have experienced side effects ranging from spontaneous abortion to foetal abnormalities.

 The reports, mostly made by doctors and other health professionals,  were logged with the US Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System, co-sponsored by the powerful Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Back in Britain, Jackie Fletcher, of Warrington, is the founder of Jabs, a support group for parents who believe their children have been damaged by vaccines.

 She said: “We’re talking about a new vaccine. It has been used in the States and already there are reports of deaths and serious reactions.

“There are too many uncertainties. The vaccine should not be used until all these reports have been properly investigated and it’s been shown to be safe over long-term trials.”

 She said a safer alternative would be to give smear tests, which pick up early signs of cervical cancer.
Dr John Oakley, a west Midlands GP, said the trials for Gardasil had been so limited that the children
taking it would be like “guinea-pigs”.
Gardasil, which costs £300 a dose, was approved for use in the US in June 2006 and since then has been in widespread use throughout America.

 Tom Fitton, head of US health lobby group Judicial Watch, said: “The adverse event reports on the HPV vaccine reads like a catalogue of horrors. Any state or local government now beset by lobbying campaigns to mandate this vaccine for young girls ought to take a look at these adverse health reports. It looks as if an unproven vaccine with dangerous side effects is being pushed as a miracle drug.”
Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women in Britain, killing more than 1,120 every year. The UK vaccine programme is scheduled to begin next September for all girls up to the age of 18.
“We need to make the NHS a service that prevents ill-health and prioritises keeping people well,” said Mr Johnson.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said long-term safety trials had shown Gardasil was safe.

She said: “Given that this vaccine will save the lives of around 400 women each year and, in the absence of any scientific evidence that points to safety concerns, it would be irresponsible to raise inappropriate public fears over vaccine safety.”

 Nicholas Kitchin, medical director of Sanofi Pasteur MSD, which manufactures the vaccine, said: “There is no good evidence to show the events were linked with the vaccine. “Some of the reports are not even valid. Over 13 million doses have been distributed worldwide and extensive monitoring has shown it to be safe.”
He said just because someone suffered a symptom after a vaccine, it did not necessarily mean it was to blame. Prelicence trials and monitoring had shown the vaccine to be “relatively safe” with side effects that were mostly “mild and self-limiting”.