Vax Gardasil  Cervarix

Worried parents claim daughters have been seriously injured by cervical cancer vaccine

Worried parents claim daughters have been seriously injured by cervical cancer vaccine

Geraldine Gittens


Anna Cannon, whose daughter Molly was given the Gardasil vaccine in the 2010/2011 school year.

A group of Irish parents have spoken of their fears that a vaccine for cervical cancer has seriously injured their teenage daughters.

Concerned parents from the Irish support group Regret (Reactions and Effects of Gardasil Resulting in Extreme Trauma) say they currently know of around 100 young girls who have experienced serious, adverse reactions to the vaccine.

One parent Anna Cannon claims her daughter Molly (17), now a leaving cert student, received three doses of Gardasil between 2010 and 2011.

She was a perfectly healthy teenager until she started to experience symptoms like nausea, dizziness, hot flushes, and headaches from April 2011 when she received the third top-up of the vaccine.

However, her symptoms got progressively more severe. She suffered a locked jaw; and nose bleeds, sometimes in her sleep. She also developed appendicitis in 2013, and last May she was hospitalised with pancreatitis .

Over the last three years, Molly has been hospitalised five times, her mother claims.

“The last time was with pancreatitis. It’s very, very painful. She was in hospital for ten days, it can be chronic and potentially fatal.”

“She is now home from school again with pains in the pancreas region, and obviously as a parent I’m worried that it would happen again, because it can become chronic.”

Anna says she and other parents are encountering difficulties in getting their daughter’s symptoms recognised as adverse side effect, either by doctors or by the authorities.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) said it has received 926 reports of suspected adverse reactions in association with the vaccine from those including healthcare professionals and members of the public.

The reports of suspected reactions have been submitted to the HPRA from healthcare, and members of the public, but also the marketing authorisation holder for the vaccine in line with legislative requirements.

Adverse reactions include reports of dizziness, headache, fainting, injection site swelling, injection site pain, raised temperature, muscle pain, nausea and vomiting, the HPRA said.

Another concerned parent Kiva Murphy told that her daughter Kelly (17) got her Gardasil shots in 2011 and 2012, and soon after her third shot she started to experience bad back pain.

Since then, Kelly has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and chronic pain, and she suffers from headaches and fatigue. She is now unable to attend school, her mother claimed.

“Soon after her third shot, she was having very bad back pain and she was getting epidurals in her back over the course of a year.”

“Then her wrists just stopped working. We went to a wrist specialist who said ‘oh she was born with it’. And then we were told by someone else that she was suffering from almost a mental illness and she needed to go and see a psychiatrist.”

Anna claims her daughter got a similar reaction from a doctor.

“Molly has been told by a number of doctors that her symptoms are psychosomatic. I mention the side effects to any doctors that I’ve come across to raise awareness. Especially with the nose bleeds and locked jaw, these are all the symptoms that have come up on the Gardasil side effect list.”

“Molly started to get very bizarre symptoms. She had to be picked up from school a lot, she was getting hot flushes on her cheeks, she was dizzy, fatigued, and this went on for a year and a half.”

“Her appendix was taken out. She got very ill, she was brought into Crumlin with severe headaches. She’d get hot flushes three or four times a day, and very weird patches around her stomach, she’d be very nauseous and so she’d have problems eating. She was completely off kilter, her coordination was affected.”

Anna describes herself as “pro-vaccination” for her four children, but she said her youngest daughter will not be receiving the Gardasil shots. Had she known the extensive list of side effects, she may not have allowed Molly to get the vaccine, she says.

“It’s a really scary situation as a parent, you feel really guilty having signed this form, you feel like you were doing something good by giving them a vaccine.”

“Does it not matter that 100 girls have problems finishing their education?”

“The problem is that when you sign the consent form for your daughter to have the vaccine, you sign it on the basis of a leaflet of information that’s given to you by the HSE. But on the Gardasil information leaflet, you get an additional fourteen quite serious side effects, and you’re told that if you get any of these even months later, to contact your health care provider.”

The European Medicines Agency has commenced a review of the HPV vaccine. According to the the Department of Health, this review is "to further clarify aspects of their safety profile" but "does not question that the benefits of HPV vaccines outweigh their risks."

Meanwhile, the HSE insists that a failure to implement a HPV vaccination programme would amount to the "withholding of potentially life-saving preventative treatment".

“Like Ireland, every one of the many countries implementing HPV vaccination programmes are doing so in the best interest of their citizens, to maximise health, prevent disease and prolong life. Around the world, a failure to implement a HPV vaccination programme would be considered to be a withholding of potentially life-saving preventative treatment,” a HSE spokesperson said.

But Anna insists that parents are not being given a fully thorough list of potential side effects.

“The parents are not given all of the medical information when they’re signing consent. There are a myriad other serious and potentially long term side effects.”

Molly played camogie and she was fit and healthy prior to the vaccine being administered, but now she regularly misses school days because she is ill.

“This has affected her in so many ways. She missed 60 days in her Transition year, and she is finding it very difficult in terms of justifying her days off to her school. If we had a diagnosis on this, it would be easier.”

“She’s on heavy medication for the last two years, she still has headaches, fatigue issues, and she’s on new medication for pain and fatigue issues. It should be a very carefree time but instead she’s in pain.”

“She said to me one day when she came home: ‘I saw a long line of girls waiting for the vaccine and I felt sick. I thought how many of these girls are going to come back with what happened to me?.”

“The worst health scare is the pancreatitis, but what she has to live with on a regular basis are fatigue, severe headaches, pain in her muscles, pain in her legs, and she’s been very withdrawn and pale.”