By Jennifer Hough
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In an unpublished report on research carried out by many clinicians, seen by the Irish Examiner, Dr Harper claims there is no data showing it remains effective beyond this.
The paper maintains any risk of permanent disability or death, no matter how rare, must be addressed as women have the choice of a lifetime of cervical screening without vaccination which accomplishes superior cervical cancer prevention.
“If the vaccine does not last at least 15 years, and if vaccination starts at 11 or 12, then women will not be protected long enough to prevent infection.
By Mail On Sunday Reporter
Cervical cancer jab for girls aged 12 can be given without parental consent
Family rights campaigners have called for a change in the law after it was revealed that girls as young as 12 can be given the cervical cancer vaccine without their parents’ consent.
Doctors and nurses have been told they are under no legal obligation to seek the permission of the parent or guardian.
The jab is being offered to girls between 12 and 18 as part of a nationwide programme designed to protect them against the sexually transmitted HPV virus, which causes 70 per cent of cervical tumours.
Opponents have argued that giving girls the jab and protecting them against a sexually transmitted infection before they are even teenagers is giving them the go-ahead to experiment sexually.
Norman Wells, director of Family and Youth Concern, said: ‘Giving the vaccination to girls without the consent of their parents is unethical and a recipe for disaster.
‘It is sending out the message that girls under 16 have a right to a private sex life and is treating parents with contempt.’
The Department of Health confirmed that parental consent was desirable but not essential.