By Jennifer Hough
Monday, August 30, 2010
THE leading researcher in the development of the cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil, has called it a “public health experiment” and has warned that parents must be made aware of the serious adverse events associated with its use.
The vaccination programme is set to be rolled out here next month, targeting first- and second-year secondary school students.
However, Dr Diane Harper, who carried out safety studies to get Gardasil approved, warned of “serious adverse events including death” associated with it.
It has already begun on a trial basis, with 1,300 vaccines given in May, and 1,000 vaccines given in July.
The HSE said the vaccine has been shown to be very safe, with 60 million doses already given worldwide.
However, concerns are mounting with in excess of 18,000 adverse reactions recorded in the US, including 75 deaths. Adverse reactions have also been recorded in New Zealand, Canada and Australia.
A US federal report in 2009 found the vaccine had a 400% higher rate of adverse reactions than another comparable vaccine, the Menactra anti-meningitis shot.
The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) said it had received 10 reports of suspected adverse reactions associated with Gardasil.
One was received following the start of the HSE HPV school vaccination programme in May.
Apart from the small risk of being adversely effected, research shows the vaccine only lasts for five years.
In an unpublished report on research carried out by many clinicians, seen by the Irish Examiner, Dr Harper claims there is no data showing it remains effective beyond this.