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GPs defend Gardasil after US scare

GPs and immunisation experts have defended the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil after safety concerns were raised in the US this week.

Public interest group Judicial Watch obtained Food and Drug Administration documents suggesting the vaccine could be linked to 11 deaths and 1,824 adverse effects.

The documents, obtained through the US Freedom of Information Act, detailed all the reports by healthcare professionals of potential adverse events related to Gardasil since its introduction.

But experts insisted it was normal procedure to report potential adverse incidents when a new vaccine was introduced and that they did not necessarily indicate a problem.

Professor David Goldblatt, professor of vaccinology and immunology at the Institute of Child Health, University College London, said: ‘Inevitably when you introduce a new vaccine hundreds of incidents are going to be reported that have nothing to with the vac-cine. They are only temporally related – there is no causal link.'

He added that there was a very small risk of uncovering rare side effects, but that these could only be discovered after administering the drug to millions of people – far more than could ever be included in a drug trial.

Dr Paula Briggs, a GP and sexual health specialist in Liverpool, also expressed confi-dence in the vaccine: ‘I haven't any concerns about Gardasil. I would assume that these things would be blown out of all proportion by those who are anti-vaccination. I have given it to my children.'

A spokesperson for Sanofi Pasteur said 'such spontaneous adverse event reports show a temporal rather than causal relationship and the data needs to be systematically evaluated before the company and the regulators can make an accurate judgement.'

Gardasil has been licensed in the UK since November 2006.

Gardasil

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