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Human Papillomavirus: Vaccination

Health written question – answered on 29th November 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people who have been given the human papillomavirus vaccine had serious side effects as a result.

Photo of Anne Milton Anne Milton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Since the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine immunisation programme began in September 2008 up to 22 November 2011, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has received 6,066 reports of ‘suspected’ side effects (this includes reports in which the brand of HPV vaccine was not specified). Of these 6,066 reports, 1,046 reports are considered to be serious. This follows administration of more than 5 million doses of Cervarix across the United Kingdom to date.

The MHRA collects information on suspected side effects to vaccines and medicines via the Yellow Card Scheme. Two HPV vaccines, Cervarix and Gardasil, are licensed for use in the UK, with Cervarix routinely used within the HPV vaccine immunisation programme.

It is important to note that Yellow Card reports relate to ‘suspicions’ that a side effect may have occurred. They may relate to true side effects, or they may be due to coincidental illness. As reports are not necessarily proof that a vaccine or medicine was a cause of the reported illness, the data cannot be used to estimate the true frequency of side effects to the vaccine. The known frequency of established side effects is listed in the available product information.

As with all vaccines and medicines, the MHRA keeps the safety of HPV vaccines under continual review. The MHRA’s detailed safety assessment of Cervarix after 4.5 million doses had been used is published at:


The benefits of HPV vaccination in protecting against cervical cancer far outweigh any known side effects.

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Grace Filby
Posted on 4 Dec 2011 9:54 am (Report this annotation)

Health Minister Anne Milton's answer shows only one side of the problem about serious side effects with the HPV vaccines, thereby 'playing down' the frequency considerably.

In July 2011 at a conference about Adverse Drug Reactions, I understand MHRA spokesperson Shelley Ganghi said that only 6% of the populaton know about the Yellow Card for self-reporting.

The spokesperson estimated that only 10% of ADRs are ever reported.

Given that the recipients of the vaccine are

1. mostly only 12 years old and female


2. they and their parents may have only given consent because of pressure at school via misleading information and propaganda (e.g. "the side effects are quite mild".....??, "the vaccine itself is safe".....?? and occasionally "very safe".....??)


3. families are not given, in advance, the Patient Information Leaflet containing product information with frequencies of established side effects which Anne Milton refers to, or even news of its existence,


4. the NHS staff administering the vaccine in schools are nurses passing through, not the girls' GPs,


5. school/NHS letters to girls and parents do not mention any possibilities of serious adverse drug reactions, nor what to do if one is suspected, nor the Yellow Card Scheme,


6. leading NHS healthcare professionals collectively and actively deny any knowledge of serious side effects: "To our knowledge, the worldwide experience to date has not shown any serious side effects"..... Nov. 2011,


7. NHS Choices external moderators delete many comments about serious side effects from Cervarix HPV vaccine, even from girls themselves trying to report their own serious side effects online,

I welcome the question of serious side effects of HPV vaccines being raised formally in the House of Commons by Andrew Rosindell MP.

Hopefully more questions will now be asked urgently, and the inadequacy of the Yellow Card Scheme will also be addressed.

Details of the ADRs conference are at: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/pressreleases/2011/july/adr... with the headline
Everyday medicines can destroy lives, conference warns

Letter to parents: