March 12, 2009
THE Health Ministry has defended its Gardasil vaccination program for nine to 12-year-old girls in Fiji, saying there were no reports on adverse effects of vaccination.
“So far this year we have not received any incident with school teachers or management nor any concern or complaint from parents,” says the national adviser on family health, Doctor Josaia Samuela.
“So far, there have been no reports of adverse effects following vaccination,” he said.
A Daily Mirror article published in the United Kingdom on March 9 reported that doctors found 1300 of the 700,000 girls who received the cervical cancer vaccine last year, had experienced adverse reactions.
“Doctors reported girls aged 12 and 13 suffered paralysis, convulsion and sight problems after being given the vaccine,” the newspaper reported.
“Dozens were described as having pain ‘in extremity’ while others suffered nausea, muscle weakness, fever, dizziness and numbness.”
Dr Samuela said for the past three weeks, their teams had visited schools to complete the third dose of the HPV vaccine.
“However, the first dose coverage for girls in the nine to 12 years age group was more than 20,000 (more than 70 per cent of the target age group).
“However, it fell to 60 per cent for the second dose because of negative media publicity.”
He said the vaccine was a donation from MERCK USA, manufacturer of Gardasil vaccine.