By Norma Erickson
When Merck’s HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine, Gardasil, was introduced in Andalucia, Spain in 2008, a full 58% of the 14-year old girls eligible to receive the series of three vaccinations did so, paid for by Spanish healthcare dollars. Two years later, after much controversy about potential side effects and efficacy issues that is no longer the case.
In 2010, there were 4,725 girls in the same province eligible to receive free Gardasil vaccinations, according to the Office of Health. 989 of them took the first injection, but only 320 finished the series. Barely 7% coverage.
The article on the Spanish website went on to suggest parents were concerned about the efficacy of the vaccine, and perhaps the appearance of side effects in those who began the series accounted for some of those who declined second or third injections.