Cervical cancer vaccine ‘is safe’


Mary 18, 2009

A JAB to help prevent cervical  cancer that is the subject of a  legal challenge by a Devon  youngster is safe, ministers  have insisted.

Sounding a warning at Westminster, Health Minister Dawn  Primarolo said it was important  to deal “with the science, not the  supposition, and with the evidence, not the hearsay or opinion”.

She referred to the previous  MMR vaccine scare, which had  led to an “explosion” in measles  and mumps cases because injections were not taken up.

The vaccination programme,  which began last September, is  being carried out to protect  women against the most common strains of the sexually-transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV), that cause 70  per cent of all cervical cancers.

It is hoped that vaccinating  most teenage girls could in the   future save hundreds of lives a  year.

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However, the vaccine has  proved controversial.

A Honiton schoolgirl is  among a group of teenagers taking legal action against the  makers of the jab, claiming it  caused side-effects such as  paralysis and breathing problems.

With the help of her parents,  Hattie Vickery, 13, is suing the  vaccine’s manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline for damages under  the Consumer Protection Act.

It is claimed by the family  that the vaccine has turned Hattie from a normal teenager into  an “invalid” plagued with paralysis, breathing problems and  sickness.

But Mrs Primarolo told MPs  during a parliamentary debate  she wanted to tackle suggestions that the HPV vaccine was  not safe.

She said: “There are, of  course, side-effects associated  with Cervarix, as there are with  all vaccines, but it is important  to stress that most people do not  experience any side-effects  whatsoever.

“The most common known  effects from Cervarix are injection site reactions, dizziness,  headache, muscle pain, nausea  and upset stomach. They are  normally mild and last for no  more than a few days.

“I accept that those reactions  can be unpleasant, but they are  nothing compared with the  symptoms of advanced cervical  cancer and are a price worth  paying, in my view, to save 400  lives a year.

“There is a clear need to keep  a watching brief, and we are  continually monitoring safety  so that we can quickly identify  any new side-effects that might  emerge.

“As we vaccinated such a  large cohort of young people, it  was inevitable that a few cases  would come forward where other conditions were reported as  suspected side-effects even if the  vaccine played no part.”

She said that it would be a  “travesty” if women were denied the potential that the vaccine offered because of scaremongering and supposition.

She said: “The weight of evidence says that the vaccine is  safe, effective and capable of  saving thousands of lives in the  years ahead.”

For more  about the HPV immunisation programme visit www.immunisation.nhs.uk

Comment from Leslie

Excuse, me who is the scaremongerer? Parents urging caution – or politicans bought off by Big Pharma marketing tactics?


Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.