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What is the HPV Cervical Cancer Vaccine?Is the HPV Cervical Cancer Vaccine really safe and effective?

Updated on October 2, 2013
Inform yourself about the HPV Vaccine
Inform yourself about the HPV Vaccine
HPV Virus
HPV Virus
HPV Virus
HPV Virus
HPV Vaccines start at 12 in Ireland
HPV Vaccines start at 12 in Ireland
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Is Gardasil really safe and effective?
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Does HPV Vaccine cause fertility issues?
Inform yourself about the HPV Vaccine
Inform yourself about the HPV Vaccine
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Should girls as young as twelve get HPV Vaccine?

Are you happy to have the HPV Cervical Cancer Vaccine?

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Always do your own research first

HPV Cervical Cancer Vaccine Facts

I have a standard Government issued HPV Vaccine leaflet, here in front of me, as I write this article. It was given to my daughter at school, as a precursor to the Irish Health Service offering every first year girl a course of injections to protect them against HPV i.e. to prevent Cervical Cancer.

When my daughter first gave the glossy brochure to me alarm bells rang. This was not the first time I had had heard about the HPV Vaccine for Cervical Cancer. Recently as part of my research for my last Hub (i.e. Whooping Cough Vaccine. What you need to know about vaccinating your child against the Pertussis Bacteria.) I studied a number of books about vaccines. So I already knew read a bit about the HPV Vaccine and what I knew already had certainly not endeared me to it.

As expected the huge headlines on the cover of the leaflet about the HPV Vaccine produced by the Irish Health Service are:

The HPV vaccine protects us from cervical cancer. Information for Parents and Guardians.’

It then continues by explaining what cervical cancer is:

Definition of Cervical Cancer:

It is cancer of the woman’s cervix, the entrance to the womb. Each year in Ireland, about 250 women get cervical cancer, and 80 women die from it. Cervical Cancer is caused by HPV.

Human Papilloma Virus is a relatively common sexually transmitted disease passed on through genital contact, more often than not this happens during sexual intercourse.

Question 2 in the information leaflet:

What is HPV?

Answer 2:

HPV stands for human papillomavirus, which is a group of over a hundred viruses. Most people will get a HPV infection during their lifetime, from sexual activity. Most of these infections do not need treatment, but they can cause genital warts. In some women, however, HPV causes changes to the cervix that can develop into Cervical Cancer.

Question 3:

What vaccine is available to protect against HPV?

A HPV vaccine is now being offered to young girls in Ireland. This vaccine is called Gardasil and protects against the types of HPV that cause 7 out of 10 cervical cancers. It also protects against genital warts.

Question 4:

How does the HPV vaccine work?

The vaccine works in the same way as other common vaccines. It is given as an injection in the upper arm. The body reacts by making antibodies that will help the immune system fight HPV infection. This will protect from the types of HPV that cause 7 out of 10 cervical cancers. The vaccine cannot cause HPV infection or cancer.

The next four questions I the information leaflet were specifically related to the vaccine plan for young girls in Ireland and therefore omitted as not being relevant for this article.

The next relevant question was Question 9:

Is the HPV vaccine safe?

Yes, this vaccine has been shown to be very safe, with over 111 million doses already distributed worldwide. In Ireland the Irish Medicines Board monitors reports of side effects from Gardasil and all other vaccines. For more information see

Does the vaccine have any side effects?

There may be some mild side effects, including:

  • Pain, redness or swelling in the arm where the vaccine was given may develop into
  • cellulitis
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • and/or
  • a mild fever.

These can be treated with paracetamol or ibuprofen.

Rarer side effects include an itchy rash or hives. Like most vaccines, severe allergic reactions are extremely rare. As usual, seek medical advice if you are concerned.

Before the next dose of your vaccine you should tell the vaccination team if there is any serious reaction to a previous dose of vaccine or if there has been a change to your daughter’s medical history.

Summary of the nice glossy HPV Vaccine leaflet:

So on reading this summary of the HPV Vaccine I began to wonder was the HPV Vaccine fine after all? Had I just overreacted a tad about its safeness and effectiveness? Should my thirteen year old daughter get this vaccine? It would it said help protect her against cervical cancer, after all?

So I took out my research file again and only after a quick glance I unearthed all of the following data that was not mentioned in the glossy leaflet promoting the HPV Cervical Cancer Vaccine.

Lesser known facts to consider before getting the HPV Cervical Cancer Vaccine:

Cervical Cancer rates had already decreased significantly before the introduction of the HPV Gardasil Vaccine. This has been attributed to the use of the Pap test (known as a smear test here in Ireland). This is successful in detecting the presence of cervical abnormalities at an early stage. This then allows effective correction of these abnormalities before any cancer develops.

The average age that a woman develops breast cancer is forty eight years of age. 85% of all cases occur in women aged thirty five or older. Half of all cases of cervical cancer occur in women aged fifty five or older. New cervical cancer cases are rare before the age of thirty five and practically nil before the age of twenty.

In September 2011, approximately five years after the introduction of the HPV Vaccine (name Gardasil) in the US, 21,414 adverse reaction reports had been filed with the federal government. Using the Freedom of Information Act the information of these reports was made public.

Adverse effects of the Gardasil HPV Vaccine reported in the USA - 2006 to 2011:

  • 95 deaths from blood clots
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome
  • Myalgia
  • Paresthesia,
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Convulsions
  • Swollen Body Parts
  • Chest Pain
  • Heart Irregularities
  • Kidney Failure
  • Visual Disturbances
  • Arthritis
  • Joint Pain
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Severe Rashes
  • Persistent Vomiting
  • Miscarriages
  • Menstrual Irregularities
  • Reproductive System Complications
  • Genital warts
  • Vaginal Lesions
  • HPV Infection (i.e. the reason to vaccinate to begin with was supposedly to avoid this scenario)

N.B. To date, these adverse reactions were reported to have occurred after the administration of the Gardasil HPV Vaccine. As of yet though no definite line of enquiry has officially confirmed that there is a definite link between these conditions and the vaccine.

It is also important to note that it is widely accepted that only a tiny majority of adverse reactions to vaccines are ever reported as possibly being as a consequence of a vaccine, i.e. approximately only 2%. Often doctors simply put down the cause of a reaction as being unknown or uncertain. Taking this into account it is possible that during the first five years of the HPV Vaccine administration program in the USA, up to a million young girls could have experienced reactions such as those listed above.

Report investigating the safety of the HPV Cervical Cancer Vaccine:

I also came across this report below. The Neural Dynamics Rsearch Group at the Department of Ophtholmology and Visual Sciences at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada carried out a review of the HPV Vaccine and the following is a summary of their findings:

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines as an option for preventing cervical malignancies: (how) effective and safe?


..We carried out a systematic review of HPV vaccine pre- and post-licensure trials to assess the evidence of their effectiveness and safety. We find that HPV vaccine clinical trials design, and data interpretation of both efficacy and safety outcomes, were largely inadequate. Additionally, we note evidence of selective reporting of results from clinical trials (i.e., exclusion of vaccine efficacy figures related to study subgroups in which efficacy might be lower or even negative from peer-reviewed publications). Given this, the widespread optimism regarding HPV vaccines long-term benefits appears to rest on a number of unproven assumptions (or such which are at odd with factual evidence) and significant misinterpretation of available data. For example, the claim that HPV vaccination will result in approximately 70% reduction of cervical cancers is made despite the fact that the clinical trials data have not demonstrated to date that the vaccines have not actually prevented a single case of cervical cancer (let alone cervical cancer death), nor that the current overly optimistic surrogate marker-based extrapolations are justified. Likewise, the notion that HPV vaccines have an impressive safety profile is only supported by highly flawed design of safety trials and is contrary to accumulating evidence from vaccine safety surveillance databases and case reports which continue to link HPV vaccination to serious adverse outcomes (including death and permanent disabilities). We thus conclude that further reduction of cervical cancers might be best achieved by optimizing cervical screening (which carries no such risks) and targeting other factors of the disease rather than by the reliance on vaccines with questionable efficacy and safety profiles..

Lawsuit citing adverse effect from the Gardasil HPV Vaccine:

A young woman in Australia has now filed a lawsuit against the makers of the Gardasil HPV Vaccine i.e. Merck. She claims that she has suffered autoimmune and neurological health problems which she feels are directly as a result of receiving the HPV Gardasil Vaccine.

Extract from the above link:

…By Dr. Mercola

Naomi Snell, a 28-year-old woman in Melbourne, Australia, is leading a class-action civil lawsuit against drug maker Merck after suffering autoimmune and neurological complications following injections with the HPV vaccine, Gardasil.

After receiving the first of three doses of the vaccine, Naomi suffered convulsions, severe back and neck pain, and lost her ability to walk.

Doctors actually diagnosed her with multiple sclerosis, which was later retracted and labeled a neurological reaction to the vaccine.

Seven other women, who say they have suffered various physical problems, including anaphylaxis and miscarriage, after receiving Gardasil may also join the civil lawsuit, and this is likely only the beginning, as Gardasil is being implicated in a growing number of serious, permanent and sometimes deadly adverse reactions.

Multiple Sclerosis-Like Symptoms and Paralysis Not Unusual After HPV Vaccination

Unfortunately, stories like Naomi’s are all too common in relation to Gardasil.

One of the vaccine injury cases featured in the movie The Greater Good is that of Gabi Swank, a 15-year-old honor student who decided to get the Gardasil vaccine after seeing a “Be One Less” Gardasil vaccine advertisement on TV.

Like so many young girls, she wasn’t warned about any possible side effects when she got the shots, which are given as a series of three injections.

At the time the documentary was filmed, she had already suffered two strokes and experienced partial paralysis. She also lost part of her vision and today suffers frequent seizures. When she was in high school, many days she had to use a wheelchair to get around school due to muscle pain and chronic fatigue.

A similar reaction happened to 13-year-old Jenny Tetlock, who began seeing signs of trouble just one month after she was vaccinated against the HPV virus. Fifteen months later, a degenerative muscle disease left her nearly completely paralyzed.

Neurological symptoms such as these were also reported in a study done in 2009 by neurologist Dr. Ian Sutton. He reported five cases of multiple sclerosis-like symptoms emerging shortly after women received the Gardasil vaccine, noting:

“We report five patients who presented with multifocal or atypical demyelinating syndromes within 21 days of immunization with the quadrivalent human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil. Although the target population for vaccination, young females, has an inherently high risk for MS, the temporal association with demyelinating events in these cases may be explained by the potent immuno-stimulatory properties of HPV virus-like particles which comprise the vaccine...”

An ever increasing number of young women say that since receiving the Gardasil HPV Vaccine they are having neurological problems such as seizures, paralysis and speech problems.

Deaths have been reported after young women received the Gardasil HPV Vaccine:

Between May 2009 and September 2010 in the US, 16 young women have died after receiving the Gardasil Vaccine.

There were also 789 reports of serious adverse effects, 213 reports of young women being left with permanent disabilities as well as 25 cases of Guillain Barre Syndrome.

In 90% of cases HPV is naturally dispelled from a woman’s body:

There are over 100 types of human papillomaviruses (HPVs). The Gardasil Vaccine protects against just four types. Yet 90% of women can naturally clear HPV from their bodies after two years. So at that stage their cervical cells with have naturally returned to normal.

HPV Vaccine offers no protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases:

Even if you get HPV vaccine and then you subsequently contract any one of the 40 or more types of HPV that are sexually transmitted (and aren’t included in the vaccine) you will then not be protected from HPV infections. Also, if you have already been exposed to one of the four types of viruses included in the vaccine, then it will not work against those either.


I decided not to give my consent fro my daughter to have this vaccine as I feel regular Pap tests (smear tests) and a healthy immune system are the best defences we have against HPV Cervical Cancer at present. Will I change my mind in the future? I don’t think so but I am always open to new evidence that may sway me. At the moment though all of the early findings appear to indicate the opposite is the case. This seems to be a vaccine that like many others has not been properly tested and our young women are being used as guinea pigs. As at present nobody really seems to know what this vaccine may do to their bodies in the short, medium or long term. I wait with anticipation to hear how the lawsuit against Merck goes (that of course is if the results of it made public which in many cases, they often are not) with great interest.


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    • thewritingowl profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Kelly Godley 

      3 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks Lorraine, as I say, if you want to refute what I write that's your choice and I welcome your opinion as I do all feedback. So if you do indeed have a large volume of text to back up what you are saying then please can I see it as I can't comment on it until i have obviously?

      Also please direct me to the science that you vaguely refer to as I am genuinely interested in seeing it. Also you haven't given any information either about your own scientific background or who you are i.e. a second name even? A I really want to look up your credentials and publications? As obviously you must have published very widely and exhaustively studied the science? So please as a scientist reference and verify your own thoughts and opinions.

      Also please list or provide links to the full details about your own qualifications in epidemiology, immunology, infectious diseases and medical research? Such as what journals are you published in? Also if every single bit of my article can be refuted, then great, please do that and reference your findings and I will come back to you when you have substantiated your opinions.

      As always thanks for stopping by Lorraine and I look forward to reading your contributions to science immensely as I am always keen to know more and if it transpires that I am completely wrong about the HPV vaccine then I will of course reconsider my own opinions in line with that advice.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Your description of HPV is unscientific. To be writing about such a serious topic you need a background in what you write about. And you don't.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      With regard to Diane Harper she retracted the statement she made because it was twisted by antivaxers. I have full text. Again, what is your background in epidemiology, immunology, infectious diseases, medical research? What journal are you published in? Because every single bit of your blog can be refuted. It is not pro information. Or pro choice. It's classic antivax propaganda.

    • thewritingowl profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Kelly Godley 

      3 years ago from Ireland

      Lorraine, thank you so much for reading, there are many studies expressing concerns about the proposed efficacy and effectiveness of the HPV Vaccine, here is a reference to one of them.

      I notice you have not referred to any scientific studies It would be most helpful if you could refer to those you have read as I am always interested in the science behind every opinion.

      I do believe too that everybody must inform themselves and make their own choices about vaccination. Also if the safety studies and the scientific research conclusively shows the resounding benefits of a vaccine for the immune compromised person in particular, who is always at a much higher risk of a reaction from a vaccine and if you would like to ensure the efficacy and safety of the HPV vaccine for all then I am as happy as anyone to vaccinate and would prefer not to be coined as being particularly antivax, just more pro informed choice.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      As usual another antivax piece. Where are the studies? Real science and facts? There have been no deaths attributed to Gardasil. It isn't responsible for anything you mentioned here only the minor fainting etc. Where are all your studies


    • conradofontanilla profile image


      4 years ago from Philippines

      Let me correct myself. Dr. Diane Harper was involved in the development of Gardasil only. Gardasil is made by Merck; Cervarix is made by GlaxoSmithKline.

    • thewritingowl profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Kelly Godley 

      4 years ago from Ireland

      Thank you too MartieCoetser I will check out your Hubs too.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      4 years ago from South Africa

      Facts well researched and presented in this hub of yours, thewritingowl. I am linking this one to mine. Thanks :)

    • thewritingowl profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Kelly Godley 

      4 years ago from Ireland

      Yeah I saw an article about that too. Thanks for commenting.

    • conradofontanilla profile image


      4 years ago from Philippines

      I have just posted a Hub where I relate that Dr. Diane Harper had turned her back on Gardasil and Cervarix. She led the development of these vaccines. She said that she made the revelations about ineffectiveness and high risks involved so that she could sleep at night.

    • thewritingowl profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Kelly Godley 

      4 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks for your comment Debby. I will check out your Hub soon too.

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 

      4 years ago

      This was very well written and thoughtful. I have also written about the HPV and Gardasil. If you allow links to my Hubpage, I shall post it here.

    • thewritingowl profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Kelly Godley 

      5 years ago from Ireland

      Thank you too for reading.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      5 years ago from Wales

      Interesting and useful.

      Thank you for sharing and voted up.


    • thewritingowl profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Kelly Godley 

      5 years ago from Ireland

      Yes, it probably wasn't reported. The research I have done states that only 2% of adverse reaction cases are reported. Doctors are afraid of being sued mostly.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      5 years ago from USA

      Typically, I am all for prevention of diseases and vaccinations. I had my daughter take the vaccine and she experienced long-standing headaches in a very specific part of her head. Not associating it whatsoever with the vaccine, we followed up and were told it was the Gardasil. I'm pretty certain this was not reported.


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