Holyrood to consider safety of HPV vaccine

Young girls are offered the HPV vaccine to protect them from cervical cancer. Picture: PA

Young girls are offered the HPV vaccine to protect them from cervical cancer. Picture: PA

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MSPs are to consider a call for Scotland to lead the UK by organising a debate on the safety of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine.

A petition urging the Scottish Government to convene a discussion on the issue has been brought forward by Freda Birrell on behalf of the UK Association of HPV Vaccine Injured Daughters (AHVID).

All girls aged 12 or 13 in the UK are routinely offered the HPV vaccine at school to help guard against cervical cancer.

The petition, to be considered by Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee, urges MSPs to back a summit of scientific and medical professionals on both sides of the debate.

It states: “Since the introduction of HPV vaccines in the UK (September 2008), many UK girls have become seriously ill after being inoculated.

“We feel that serious concerns regarding the safety and efficacy of Gardasil and Cervarix have not been addressed.

“Previous health ministers advised that these new medical conditions were simply a coincidence, underlying health condition, or related to their age. Many health officials have tried to identify the problem as being ‘psychosomatic’.

“Despite the fact that the majority of these girls were very healthy prior to vaccination, health department officials continue to claim ‘the benefits outweigh the risks’.”

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency carried out a safety review of Cervarix at the end of its routine use in November 2012, concluding that the balance of its risks and benefits remained “clearly positive”.

In July the European Medicines Agency began a specific review to clarify the safety profile of HPV.

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