EITHNE DONNELLAN, Health Correspondent
MORE THAN 60 adverse reactions to the cervical cancer vaccine used in the State’s national immunisation programme have been reported so far to the Irish Medicines Board (IMB).
To date about 45,000 doses of the HPV vaccine have been given to school girls as part of the national immunisation programme which began in May and almost all of the adverse reactions have been reported among 12-14 year old girls, the age group being targeted in the programme.
Interestingly a small number of adverse reactions have also been reported in older women – women in their 20s and 40s – who are choosing to get the vaccine themselves. It is only licensed for those up to the age of 26 years.
Dr Joan Gilvarry, director of human medicines with the IMB, said the majority of the 64 adverse reactions reported were expected ones such as injection site reactions, headache, dizziness, fatigue, fainting, panic attacks and allergic-type reactions.
She said there had also been two report of seizures, one in a patient with a history of epilepsy. These were not among the possible reactions listed on the product information leaflet but in both cases the children recovered, as did all others who suffered adverse reactions.
“We are not at all concerned by what we’ve seen. It’s exactly as expected on worldwide data. The balance of risks and benefits for the vaccine remains positive.”