Vaccinations

HPV vaccine side-effects

Immediately after the injection, you may experience a stinging sensation or slight pain for a short time. Other side effects may take longer to appear.

Very common side effects of the HPV vaccine

More than one in 10 people who have the Gardasil HPV vaccine experience:

  • injection site problems such as redness, bruising, itching, swelling, pain or cellulitis
  • headaches

Common side effects

More than one in 100 people who have the Gardasil HPV vaccine experience:

  • fever
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • painful arms, hands, legs or feet

Rare side effects

Around one in 10,000 people who have the Gardasil HPV vaccine experience

Very rare side effects

Fewer than one in 10,000 people who have the Gardasil HPV vaccine experience:

Side effects of unknown frequency

It is not possible to reliably estimate how frequently other side effects occur. This is because information is received from people reporting side effects themselves, rather than controlled, clinical tests.

The frequency of these side-effects is unknown:

If you feel unwell or have concerns about a side effect, seek medical advice. If you feel very ill, get medical help straight away. Contact your prescriber, pharmacist or nurse.

Allergic reactions

In rare cases, it is possible for someone who has had the HPV vaccine to experience a more severe allergic reaction, known as an anaphylactic reaction. Signs of an anaphylactic reaction include:

  • breathing difficulties and wheezing
  • swollen eyes, lips, genitals, hands, feet and other areas (this is called angioedema)
  • itching
  • a strange metallic taste in the mouth
  • sore, red, itchy eyes
  • changes in heart rate
  • loss of consciousness

Be reassured that severe reactions like this are extremely rare, in the order of around one in a million.

If your daughter has a severe allergic reaction does occur, the healthcare professional giving the vaccine will be fully trained in how to deal with it. Individuals recover completely with treatment,
usually within a few hours.

If you are with someone and they start to experience the symptoms of anaphylaxis, dial 999 immediately to request an ambulance.

See the treatment of anaphylaxis for more information.

Chronic fatigue and the HPV vaccine

There have been reports in the press regarding a 13-year-old girl who has been in a 'waking' coma since having her third HPV vaccination. The girl was reported to have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

The cause of CFS is not known, but it does occur naturally in teenagers, and is more likely in girls than boys.

There are no more cases of CFS than would be expected in teenage girls and there is no evidence to link CFS to the HPV vaccine.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has kept this issue under close review and its advice, endorsed by independent experts, is that the HPV vaccine is not a cause of CFS. This is a safe vaccine that will prevent hundreds of deaths from cervical cancer each year in the UK.

See the MHRA website for a full report on the safety of the HPV vaccine.

How to spot and report side effects

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any medicine you are taking including vaccines. It is run by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

Find out how to report a vaccine side effect.


Page last reviewed: 13/08/2012

Next review due: 13/08/2014

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Comments

The 25 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Birdlady888 said on 21 April 2014

My stepaughter (13) has had all three Gardasil jabs and after the third she experienced a massive migraine headache and nausea. The jab site was swollen and sore for three days. This coincided with her very first period. Her second period passed normally but this weekend (Easter), she experienced a crippling migraine which she still has accompanied with nausea, and stomach pain (not cramp). Her third period is 5 days late (no she is not pregnant). She has also come out in hives on her hands. I am logging all symptoms as from reading many blogs dating from 2007 to date, her symptoms so far match many of the side effects from the Gardasil vaccination. There are serious doubts on the safety of this vaccination - the web is full of it. US Washinton Times article April 2013 worth a read http://communities.washingtontimes.com: Dr Peter Lind
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 .
I will log symptoms on the UK register for vaccine side effects so they are recorded officially.

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AbbiPerkins said on 21 March 2014

I had this jab about 6 years now my first jab I had mild illness like headaches etc but after having my second jab I slept for 2 weeks straight I couldn't keep myself awake for longer than 2 mins I didn't eat drink or anything my mum took me to a and e after having a panic attack and they just advised not to have the third jab and take some painkillers and drink, after about a week I did get better but years on I suffer from major migraines! Would not advise this jab! Was not a nice experience and would never want anyone else to go through it.

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WCH said on 15 March 2014

Weeks after having this jab my daughter's hair fell out and she was diagnosed with alopecia areata and then totalis. 2 years later it still blights our life. Her consultant told us that this autoimmune condition was without doubt triggered by this jab. I wish I had done my research prior to signing the consent form and we could have avoided 2 years of hell all for the sake of 5 years protection (13years-18years) from some strains of the hpv virus - which can be picked up by regular screening anyway and of which only a tiny % go on to develop cervical cancer!

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Mrs Aliz said on 16 February 2014

I hope people continue to post their comments on this page so that more parents can be more aware of the risks, & maybe then this will be investigated further by the health authorities & other agencies. As this vaccination can only be guaranteed to protect for six to eight years max. Will these girls be protected anyway?

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mcmallen1 said on 12 February 2014

5years on my daughter is still suffering loss of movement from the waist down dizziness sensitive to light headaches weakness in her arms admittedly the symptoms have started to reduce but at 18 years the embaressement for her is real

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Steve CA7 said on 10 February 2014

For those who have any worries about this vaccine please contact the MHRA who are responsible for collecting the Yellow Card reports of adverse vaccine reactions. They will tell you that over the last 5 years the Yellow Card reports for HPV vaccine average 1446 per annum whilst the next 12 most popular vaccines only have on average 100 Yellow Card reports annum. This even includes the flu vaccine which is given to older and at risk people each year!

Alternatively you will find the information already on the ‘What Do They Know’ freedom of information website.

Normally they report the number of adverse reactions per 100,000 doses but in the case of HPV vaccine they report it as the number of adverse reactions per 1,000 doses!

Why do they prevent people making an informed choice???

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Mrs Aliz said on 10 February 2014

Such a difficult decision to make, is it worth the risk? I know that some countries have banned it. This needs more investigation & publicity to re- assure parents. Don't want to face my daughter in years to come knowing that I might have prevented this disease, but don't want to ruin her life now either!

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Mrs Halliday said on 07 February 2014

When I consented to having my daughter vaccinated I was not made aware of the availability of the Patient Product Information Leaflet (provided by the Manufacturer with the vaccine) which is only supplied to the child (not the parent) prior to vaccination. This leaflet explains fully the list of side effects from mild to severe which can be experienced. I deeply regret not investigating this further.

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Mrs Halliday said on 07 February 2014

The Medicines Health Regulatory Agency in London supply a Drug Analysis Report of Suspected Adverse Reactions to the HPV Vaccine. As at 31 January 2014 there have been 7,678 reports of suspected adverse reactions in the UK. My daughter is one of those statistics. That is all she is. A statistic. No one seems to be investigating why healthy young girls are becoming very ill following the HPV vaccination.

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Mrs Aliz said on 05 February 2014

These comments are very worrying, my daughter has not had the vaccine yet as missed out first time around, and now in two minds.
Does anyone know if these symptoms & the link to the HPV Vaccine is being investigated? & how high is the percentage of these side effects?
Have these poor girls got better? Someone surely should be asking questions, The Health care Professionals seem all for it, and don't mention any negatives.

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Nkbnkb said on 14 December 2013

My daughter suffered also! She was off school for a year, weak legs. Could not stand up from the floor herself. She was a perfectly fit child before jab.

She could not eat, her eyes hurt all the time, her personality changed. My life became hell. The school referred her to a hospital school. It took a year for her to start becoming herself again. She still has sensitive eye sight.

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Katezzz said on 02 November 2013

the comments on this page, seem more accurate and useful than the actual NHS side effect list.

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Steve CA7 said on 04 July 2013

CHRONIC FATIGUE AND THE HPV VACCINE

This web page states there have been reports in the press regarding a 13-year-old girl who has been in a 'waking' coma since having her third HPV vaccination. The girl was reported to have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has kept this issue under close review and its advice, endorsed by independent experts, is that the HPV vaccine is not a cause of CFS. This is a safe vaccine.

The 13 year old girl in question is now 15 and has missed 2 years of school and life. She has never had a confirmed diagnosis of CFS. She eventually woke up from a 13 week constant sleep on December 16th 2011 but is still severely affected and has to have extended daytime sleeps every day. She still suffers with severe headaches and joint pains. The illness is unexplained but the GP has recorded on the girls medical records that the Paediatric Consultant has stated that it must be due to the vaccine.

The unexplained illness started immediately that the vaccine was given but we are told that it is pure coincidence and the vaccine is safe.

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Steve CA7 said on 04 July 2013

The Countess of Mar of the House of Lords asked the government on 2nd July 2013 how many reports of side effects have been received by the MHRA and how many of these side effects were considered serious.

Earl Howe replied 'a total of 7,230 suspected Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR) reports with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccines have been reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency via the Yellow Card Scheme up to 26 June 2013.

Of these 1,287 (17.8%) were considered serious.

It is an accepted fact by the MHRA that only 1 in 10 side effects are reported using the Yellow Card system.

In Japan 1,928 side effects have been reported and the Health Ministry has withdrawn its recommendation of the use of HPV vaccine.

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sparq said on 05 May 2013

I have read the above comments which have raised alarm bells in my head. My daughter is 13, previously healthy apart from her eczema. She is now suffering from extreme fatigue, joint and muscle pain, chest pains, panic attacks, not being able to name colours well, tasting food and thinking its something else, vision disturbances, dizziness, mood changes and the list goes on. I urge parents to do their research before going ahead with the vaccine. My daughters life is a misery and normal life is a dream away. My daughter just had one jab and then i withdrew thinking there is no point as it lasts until age 18!

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Mindano Iha said on 19 April 2013

I think that it is interesting to know about the ingredients in vaccines and why they are there. I understand about most of the Gardasil ingredients but I am still wondering about L-histidine. Is it some kind of a booster, like what they call an adjuvant or does it have another function?
Thank you for the information.

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Lcprice said on 18 April 2013

My daughter became ill exactly 3 weeks after having the first HPV vaccine. She had nausea, headaches, tiredness, insomnia, sore throats and ear ache. This then progressed into joint and muscle pain. Our Gp told us not to let her have any more doses. She has since been diagnosed with CFS/ME and her consultant at GOSH has said he is treating more and more girls with CFs/ME after them having the vaccine. It says above that the MHRA do not link CFs with the vaccine. Have they actually looked at the stats? Do they know how many more girls there are now with CFS/ME since introducing the vaccine? My guess is no. If they say its not linked - prove it. My daughters life, like many other thousands of girls, has been ruined by this vaccine. Please do your research before agreeing to your fit and healthy daughter having this vaccine,

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Mrs Halliday said on 18 April 2013

The Gardasil vaccine has an ingredient called polysorbate 80 - it is linked to infertility in mice.

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K Stone said on 16 March 2013

It is now 4 years since my daughter had her HPV vaccinations, she had two of the course and did not have the third due to the adverse reactions.
Her symptoms include: persistent dizziness, fainting, weakness, fatigue, vision disturbance (loss of peripheral vision/depth perception), bloating and gastro problems.
Medical tests are continuing but so far indicate autonomic dysfunction.
After struggling through A'levels and the first year of university, she has unfortunately had to suspend her degree course.
Having been extremely fit (country hockey player), the most exercise she can manage is a walk to the end of the road, on a good day.
I would strongly recommend that parents do not allow their daughters to have this vaccination.

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maashouse said on 15 March 2013

My daughter recieved her second dose of HPV three weeks ago and started feeling aching pain in her knees one week to the day later. It has since progressed to migrating aching in all of her joints. She has been in a state of constant pain for two solid weeks now. She was a totally healthy 13 year old girl, participated in rugby and was very active. She has headches, back pain, arthralgia, and has started to have chest pains. Last week the doctors did huge panel of blood work, and today did a chest X-Ray and EKG. All have come back normal. I am so scared reading all these stories.

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 11 March 2013

Dear Mindano Iha,

Tens of millions of doses of Gardasil have been used in many countries across the world, and there is no evidence to suggest that the vaccine may be a cause of cancer, nor that its use may have increased the burden of disease from non-vaccine types of HPV.

The European Medicines Agency has also advised that the presence of recombinant DNA fragments in Gardasil is not considered to be a risk to vaccine recipients. All medicinal products manufactured using recombinant technology, not just vaccines, may contain small fragments of residual DNA.

Hope that clarifies the situation.

Best wishes,

Kathryn Bingham, NHS Choices editor

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Mindano Iha said on 23 February 2013

Gardasil may actually increase risk of cancer:
1) - Due to the ingredients (the vaccine has not been tested for cancer causing properties/carcinogenicity)
2) - Due to replacement (virus strains which are removed may be replaced by strains which are more carcinogenic)
3) - Due to the presence of recombinant HPV DNA (discovered by an independent laboratory), the consequences of which may be horrific.

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Annie D1974 said on 21 February 2013

Can you explain why you keep removing the parents feed back about the long term side effects girls are truely suffering? Why the cover up !

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Mrs Halliday said on 16 February 2013

The Gardasil Product Patient Information Leaflet contains the full list of side effects.

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Mrs Halliday said on 16 February 2013

Arthralgia - muslce and joint pain. She was only 13 when she got 2 HPV jabs. A perfectly healthy happy little girl full of fun and very sporty. Oh she has suffered - multiple side effects: headaches, dizziness, stiff arm, muscle and joint pain (more than 2 years), unable to walk anywhere, or climb the 3 steps to our backdoor, blurred vision, no desire to eat, fatigue, and the list goes on. Two years of pain and misery and for what? - Supposedly to protect against only 2 types of Cervical Cancer out of 100's. This has been the biggest mistake of my life. Educate before you vaccinate. The decision to vaccinate is yours and yours alone however when it goes wrong you live with that decision for the rest of your life.
Ask to see the patient product information leaflet and read the full list of severe side effects - the ones the don't tell you about!!

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Cervical cancer vaccination

A group of teenage girls and a GP explain how the HPV vaccine can reduce the risk of cervical cancer. The Gardasil vaccine is used in the national vaccination programme.

Media last reviewed: 16/01/2012

Next review due: 16/01/2014

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