Council Bluffs, IA
Posted: Feb 10, 2011 8:45 PM MST
You may have seen the commercials aimed at young women, that promote a vaccine to prevent HPV. The virus can lead to cervical cancer. Twenty-year-old Alexa Lancial, from Council Bluffs, got the shot at age 17, a decision she now regrets. “I woke up for school, I could not hold anything, my body was jerking non-stop,” Alexa Lancial said.
Six months after she was vaccinated Alexa started having violent seizures. On her 18th birthday a doctor diagnosed her with epilepsy. “Once a week I’ll have those days where I’ll just cry, because there’s nothing I can do.”
With no family history of epilepsy, she believes the vaccine caused the disorder. Her doctor told her that’s possible, but can’t say for sure. Alexa researched the drug and its side effects but learned epilepsy wasn’t on the list. Some of the side effects include pain, swelling, itching and redness at the injection site, fever, nausea, or dizziness.
Dr. Kerry Rodabaugh from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, says although Gardasil’s side effects are different for everyone, the vaccine hasn’t been linked to severe disorders. “None of this has been proven to be caused, it may be associated with, it may be completely just coincidental and that’s what ongoing investigations are trying to determine,” Dr. Kerry Rodabaugh said.
While Dr. Rodabaugh believes Gardasil is effective, she says no drug is 100% safe. “You need to weigh your risks and benefits but to this point we do believe the benefit far outweighs the very minor risk,” Dr. Rodabaugh said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, since last September millions of females in the U.S. got the vaccine – 56 died.
“It crosses my mind everyday,” Lancial said.
Alexa takes eight pills to control her epilepsy and counts on her family for support. She urges parents and girls to be informed before getting the vaccine. “Do your research, because we didn’t. That’s all I can say is do your research,” Lancial said.
In 2006, the FDA approved the vaccine for young women ages 9 to 26.
Alexa Lancial has hired a lawyer to help her explore her legal options.
Reported by Kandiss Crone, email@example.com