Study: HPV Vaccine Causes Some To Pass Out

POSTED: 10:30 am PDT October 7, 2008
UPDATED: 10:53 am PDT October 7, 2008
A study shows that a controversial vaccine that can prevent cervical cancer may cause severe side effects for some young girls, KNBC's Dr. Bruce Hensel reported.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the last two years, more than 450 girls fainted after being vaccinated with Gardasil, the vaccine meant to prevent HPV infection and cervical cancer.

Some experts feel the best time to administer the drug is during adolescence, before girls become sexually active.
After Lauren Breidigam, 13, received the vaccination, she passed out.

"I remember feeling her put the Band-Aid on and then I just went," Breidigam said.

"It was almost like she didn't have a bone in her body, and she started to twitch and I had said to the nurse, I said 'Oh my gosh, she's out, she's out cold,'" said Breidigam's mother Heather.

The Breidigams said they didn't see fainting listed as a side effect on their patient information sheet. It wasn't until after the incident that Heather Breidigam saw it mentioned on the vaccine company's Web site.

"I wish, as a parent, I would have known that. I think I would have been a little more prepared," Heather Breidigam said.

Researchers aren't sure why, but about 10 percent of girls in studies for the vaccine got dizzy or passed out after the shot, Hensel reported.

"That was in both patients receiving vaccine and placebo. The incidence was about the same. So again, is it because you're coming at an adolescent girl with a needle? I don't know, but it certainly might be," Dr. Larry Glazerman said.

To be safe rather than sorry, doctors are proposing an easy solution, Hensel reported.

"The recommendation as a result of this is pretty simple. Just that you give them a vaccine either sitting down or lying down and you watch them for 15 or 20 minutes just to make sure that they don't have any significant reaction," Glazerman said.

The vaccine is given in a series of three shots. Lauren Breidigam, who has two more shots to go, said she'll be prepared and planned to take them lying down.