By: Gillian Duncan
27 September 2010
Health chiefs have been accused of failing to properly publicise the side-effects of the cervical cancer vaccine.
More than 400 pupils have suffered adverse reactions to the Cervarix jabs since the programme began in Scotland two years ago.
About a fifth of the reactions were deemed “serious” – but a leaflet issued to parents along with the vaccine consent form states that the side-effects are “quite mild”.
Jackie Fletcher, of Jabs, a support group for vaccine-damaged children, branded the lack of information “unacceptable”.
She added: “A number of parents have been in touch citing health problems with their daughters shortly after this vaccine. These include seizures, fatigue and joint and muscle pain. The authorities need to be honest so parents can make an informed choice.”
West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MSP Mike Rumbles said he had written to Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon urging her department to make all information available at the first point of contact. He said: “We have to get as much information to people who are considering this at the right time, which is at the beginning of the process. We want to get as many people vaccinated as possible and to do that we have to be open and transparent.”
Girls are offered the vaccine against the sexually-transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV), which often causes cervical cancer.
Parents receive a booklet outlining its importance along with a request for written consent several weeks before the first jab is due.
But it contains no reference to the suspected reactions reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) by Scottish GPs, and it does not include any information about any of the side-effects.
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