HPV vaccine is safe and effective

 

Sir, – The headline “HPV vaccine left almost 650 girls requiring medical care” (September 12th) could only provoke unjustified concern for many parents currently considering whether or not to have their daughters vaccinated.

This is an extremely safe vaccine that has undergone numerous comprehensive safety reviews.

The latest is by the World Health Organisation’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety, a group of independent experts, who based their analysis on data when over 270 million doses had been distributed.

It concluded, as does the Health Products Regulatory Authority that, with the exception of fainting, a common anxiety or stress-related reaction, and a risk of anaphylaxis estimated at 1.7 per million doses (the comparable risk with penicillin is about one per 5,000 exposures), no other serious adverse reaction was identified.

Simply stated, this is an extremely safe vaccine.

Transient local side-effects including pain at the site of injection and local redness or swelling, a feeling of dizziness or faintness or headache can be anticipated and do not represent a long-term threat to one’s health or wellbeing.

To refuse the vaccine is to refuse the real health benefit of preventing infection with a group of HPV viruses that stealthily affect health and wellbeing of many young women.

In Ireland, these viruses account for 300 cases of cervical cancer and 90 related deaths each year and an additional 30 to 40 deaths from other forms of HPV-related cancers. – Yours, etc,

Dr KARINA BUTLER,

Chairwoman,

National Immunisation

Advisory Committee,

Royal College

of Physicians of Ireland,

Frederick Street,

Dublin 2.