[back] Ashleigh Cave
Cervical cancer jab left my 12-year-old daughter paralysed, says mother
Concern: Ashleigh Cave, 12, has been paralysed since October after collapsing soon after having a cervical cancer vaccine jab
A mother has spoken of her fears after her daughter developed a mystery illness half an hour after receiving the cervical cancer vaccine.
Schoolgirl Ashleigh Cave collapsed shortly after she was given the jab at school and is now paralysed from the waist down.
The 12-year-old, from Aintree, Liverpool, has been confined to a bed in Alder Hey children's hospital since October 24.
And Ashleigh's 37-year-old mother Cheryl wants an investigation into the safety of the drug she blames for her daughter's illness.
'At first they tried to tell us she was imagining it because she was being bullied,' she said. 'They will not mention her illness and the vaccine in the same sentence.
'Ashleigh is angry - she does not know what is going on.'
Mrs Cave said Ashleigh was now undergoing physiotherapy to help her regain movement in her legs.
Worrying: Ashleigh with her mother Cheryl at Alder Hey hospital - she has been bed-bound since October after collapsing during a family trip to London
Dr Andrew Curran, a consultant paediatrician at the hospital, said yesterday: 'I can say with complete certainty that she is demonstrating no pathological reaction to her vaccination.'
The drug safety watchdog, the MHRA, has been notified of the case. It does not believe the cervical cancer jab brought on Ashleigh's illness.
The Cervarix vaccine is currently being given to all girls aged 12 and 13 in a nationwide programme.
It guards against infection by the sexually transmitted disease HPV, which causes 70 per cent of all cases of cervical cancer.
Mass vaccination will save around 700 lives a year, experts say.
Alert: Jackie Fletcher of anti-vaccine organisation Jabs wants the HPV vaccine programme stopped
Although the cancer does not usually strike until middle age, the jab has to be given to girls before they start having sex.
This has led anti-vaccine groups to claim it will encourage promiscuity.
The school vaccination programme followed clinical trials in 2005 on more than 18,000 women under the age of 26.
But critics have claimed the five-year study was too short and not enough pre-pubescent girls were involved in it.
After separate clinical trials, the U.S. started using a similar vaccine called Gardasil.
Since then there have been dozens of 'adverse events' reported, including 30 deaths, as well as cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome - a little-understood malfunctioning of the immune system which can cause paralysis.
A spokesman for the MHRA said: 'Guillain-Barré syndrome naturally occurs in the population.
There is no good evidence to suggest that the Cervarix vaccine can cause it.'
But Jackie Fletcher, of anti-vaccine organisation Jabs, said: 'We should halt the HPV vaccine programme in the UK until we get to the bottom of whether this poor girl's paralysis was caused by the vaccine or not.'