HPV vaccine side-effects

The most common side effects of the HPV vaccine include swelling, redness and pain at the site of the injection, and headaches - although these are generally tolerable and short lived.

Very common side effects of the HPV vaccine

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

Very rare side effects

Fewer than one in 10,000 girls 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 after having the HPV vaccine, 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, 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 alleging that girls have developed chronic fatigue syndrome after HPV vaccination.

The cause of CFS (otherwise known as ME, or myalgic encephalomyelitis) is not known, but it does occur naturally in teenagers, and is more common 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 WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) regularly review the emerging international evidence on the safety of HPV vaccination and issued a statement in March 2014 concluding there is no proven link between the HPV vaccination and autoimmune disease, of which many think CFS/ME is an example.

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: 24/09/2014

Next review due: 24/09/2016


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The 39 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

SHCumbria said on 06 August 2015

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

Please compare this with Freedom of Information requests to the MHRA which indicate 19,668 reactions have been reported by Yellow Card including 5 fatalities. Earlier requests identified that 32% of reports are classed as serious. They also acknowledge that only 10% of serious adverse reactions get reported and only 10% of reports are by members of teh public. 90% are reported by health professionals.

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juliette97 said on 25 July 2015

This vaccine has ruined my life. I am 18 yrs old, and since receiving the vaccine aged 13 have been in constant muscle and joint agony, constant exhaustion, nerve pain, eye swelling, nauseous...... I used to be a fit and strong straight A student and a promising cellist - I have had to give up all music, sport, and drop out of school. I can't believe this is happening, I want to turn back time. I don't know what I'm going to do. A body has it's own immune system, the vaccine destroyed mine- and many other young girls'. My parents have wasted thousands of pounds trying to cure me. We have tried everything.

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justiceforall said on 14 July 2015

I was contacted by a Health Authority (when my elder daughter was in Year 8), stating I should give her the vaccine, as I was the only mother in the Year Group who had been objecting. After considerable research, I informed the Authority that: 1) The HPV Vaccination (Gardasil) testing was not carried out for the compulsory 12 year quality standard, according to UK legislation and Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), and; 2) the Gardasil Vaccine only lasts for between 4 to 8 years (dependant upon the person) - so what was the actual point of giving it to my daughter of 13 years old. I also informed them the issue I have with Gardasil, is that without appropriate research testing (12 years minimum, according to UK law), they were unable to guarantee the long-term side effects of a drug, which has a minimum working span of 4 years! The Health Authority wasn't happy with my decision, but then; I am a mother who wants the best for my children!

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Thinkbeforeyoujab said on 08 March 2015

Hi just a quick update on my daughter for poeple who regularly check this page. It's been 4years this year since she had the HPV vaccine and I can honestly say it the worse thing I have ever done letting her have it. She is still in constant pain all over her body, has CFS, IBS, uses either a wheelchair or walking stick and still has a permanent headache which started on November 2011, she also suffers with anxiety and stress too, who wouldn't . No medical Doctor will admit it was the vaccine. Although in my eyes she was perfectly healthy before this and looking at her Doctors notes would prove it. For poeple considering letting their daughters have it please just google HPV vaccine side effects, so many girls around the world just like my daughter, in some cases far worse. Can I ask if some of the other parents could update us on their daughters too.

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liz0870 said on 19 November 2014

can anyone help me,im wondering if any parents child has had the same side effect to the hpv injection as my daughter has.

since my 14 yr old daughter got her hpv injection at the school she has been bed wetting sometimes 2 to 3 times a night and thru the day as well,has anyone else had to watch their child go thru this,and have they had any helpful advice from their gp or anyone else as we are getting nowhere fast please let us know

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SHCumbria said on 09 October 2014

Aluminium Hydroxide: on initially researching Aluminium Hydroxide I understood that the body accepts it without a problem as an antacid tablet (see my comment below). I have researched it further and find that adverse reactions can include
•severe abdominal pain
•mood or mental changes
•severe weakness

Always make an informed choice and do not accept what you are first told without double checking.

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SHCumbria said on 06 October 2014

Mentioned above is a statement issued by the WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) concluding there is no proven link between the HPV vaccination and autoimmune disease, of which many think CFS/ME is an example.

The statement included:
'a pooled analysis of data from 11 clinical trials involving nearly 30000 participants aged >10 years, of which 16142 received at least 1 dose of Cervarix and 13811 received either a placebo containing aluminium hydroxide or 1 of 2 different hepatitis A vaccines. No increased risk for the onset of autoimmune diseases after administration of Cervarix was observed in comparison to the control group'.

PLEASE NOTE 'the PLACEBO CONTROL GROUP DID RECEIVE a placebo containing ALUMINIUM HYDROXIDE or 1 of 2 different hepatitis A vaccines (which by the way also contain ALUMINIUM HYDROXIDE).

Please research 'Aluminium hydroxide'. You will find that the body accepts it without a problem as an antacid tablet BUT it is a NEUROTOXIN when injected.

What is not mentioned is the fact that there were high levels of autoimmune adverse reactions in both the vaccine and control groups!

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SHCumbria said on 26 September 2014

GSK are required by the Japanese government to also include ADEM (acute disseminated encephalomyelitis) as an adverse reaction on the Product Information Leaflet for Cervarix. The UK authorities have not required it of GSK so it does not appear on the UK PIL.

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Lemontea said on 14 September 2014

To all you poor parents/relatives with sick daughters.....although it is little consolation to you, there will hopefully be many people reading this and other sites before making their choice and you will help other girls to be spared the horror of this vaccination. Why can't England be brave like Japan and withdraw their recommendation of the vaccine? And have you considered starting an online petition to get gardasil banned? There just needs to be more coverage of BOTH sides of the story not just "have the jab because it may (or may not) prevent the hpv virus that may (or may not) cause cancer in Some girls." Keep fighting and searching for a cure.

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SHCumbria said on 10 September 2014

Find the 'Medicine Guide' on NHS Choices for Gardasil - you will probably need to use a search engine.

It tells you that it is not suitable for everyone and some people should not use it. Other people should only use it with special care. Before you have the vaccine it is important that the person giving you this vaccine knows if you have any medical history.

It states some side-effects may be serious.

So why are we told it is safe and medical records not checked?

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tanalyn said on 25 June 2014

I was vacinated with this shot when I was 16 or 17 I can't remember but my doctor suggested it to my grandma when I lived with her and I ended up getting all three shots. A month later I didn't get a period and had to be put on a hormone to get a period then birth control every month to get a period. I have had to be put on that hormone four times because I missed birth control and I still don't get a period. I am now 19 and still get No periods. I had a healthy regular period prior to this vacination. My fiance and I have been trying to get pregnant for a year and No luck. It is because of this shot. My doctor back then failed to mention any side affects to me or my grandmother. I am scared I will never be able to bring a little one into this world now because of this shot and doctor. I don't know if it caused infertility in me or if the time runs out on this vacination if my periods will go back to normal. I wish I never got this shot. It's ruined my life. :(

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Birdlady888 said on 06 June 2014

Hi Thinkbeforeyoujab Thanks for your posting and here is an update to mine. My stepdaughter 3rd period was 5 days late and we are still waiting for her 4th which is over 6 weeks from the 3rd. I suspect she is oestrogen dominant which causes irregular or no periods and suspect that the aluminium in the Gardasil vaccine has contributed to this. Aluminium mimics oestrogen and is a metalloestrogen. If so this has far reaching consequences for female fertility as these children move into adulthood. I am very concerned as in addition to its affect on oestrogen, aluminium is involved in neurological conditions such as alzheimers and breast cancer (aluminium in antiperspirants). I am going to get her tested and start her on a herbal heavy metal chelater (compounds that remove metals from our bodies). Good food sources such as apples, cabbage, bananas, beets, carrots, parsley and coriander all help the body get rid of heavy metals. I would also like to chat to other mums who are equally concerned. Step daughter no2 is 12 next year but she will not be having this vaccination. This article may be of interest too

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Wuxos said on 23 May 2014

Hey. I have just read the Washington Times paper on-line about Dr Peter Lind article about this vaccine and it is not a good news (ref: ). Well to add to that, I would be very worried to vaccine these kind of this to my future children. And there is one very strange question(from my personal opinion): When you get an vaccine for something, it is a light dose of virus to buid up immune system. Well if HPV virus originality does not produce any evidence for its existence for years in human body, how come its vaccination(easier version on it) produces such kind of terrible side effects, noting that many of them are brain function related such as seizures, brief loss of conciousness, feeling dizzy, tiredness etc. For me that actually raises a question maybe there is something in that vaccine that we are not being told by those private company scientists who create vaccine. Plus there is no approved equipment to detect HVP virus in human body so how we can be sure its not just some made up virus by Company(vaccine manufacturer) that is cover up for other, less complicated cause for cervical cancer. And plus, we all already know that amounts of fluoride putted into tap water is not healthy for human brain pineal gland. I am not making any comment who could be behind this if its true, but consider yourselves before taking some decisions in life where their ideas could be coming from and can we always really trust some abstract truths we are being told, while most of us dont really have a sufficient scientific knowledge behind simple physical, chemical - scientific truths about the stuff we are being offered. My only advice - have a research yourselves and don't rush to .get vaccinated by any kind of stuff!

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Thinkbeforeyoujab said on 23 May 2014

My daughter had this vaccine in the summer of 2010, within days she was complaining of aching all over, headaches, and had IBS. GP put it down to stress. Over the coming months we did lots of trips to our GP as she was getting a lot worse, then one evening in November 2011 we had to call the NHS direct she had really severe head pain to this day 23/05/2014 that headache has never gone causing debilitating pain. The aching pains has now spread all over her body from head to toe and she often has to use a wheelchair. She has since been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, IBS, CFS and hypomobilty syndrome. Before this vaccination she had nothing wrong with her, so in my opinion this vaccine was the cause. I am now in contact with other parents of girls and young woman with almost identical problems. If you do your homework and google HPV vaccine symptoms, theses problems are world wide. I'm not saying don't have the vaccination just do your homework and make your own decision.

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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 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


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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