Schoolgirl, 14, dies and three classmates taken ill after being given new cervical cancer vaccine

A 14-year-old schoolgirl died hours after being given the controversial cervical cancer vaccine today. The teenager from Blue Coat Church of England School, in Coventry, died in hospital after receiving the Cervarix jab.

The tragedy marks the first reported death since more than 1.5m doses of the injection were given to young girls as part of a national vaccination programme since last September in the UK. A number of her classmates have reported side effects to the vaccine. Critics say the case highlights the risks of mass vaccination, because no testing regime can ever pick up the rarest and potentially most lethal side effects.

Tonight there were calls for the entire cervical cancer vaccination programme to be suspended, but officials from the Department of Health would not say whether it will be halted for tens of thousands of girls due to be given the vaccine in the coming months.
But vaccine experts called for the mass programme to continue, saying it will help save 700 deaths from cervical cancer every year.

The girl died after having the jab administered. It is not yet known definitively whether the jab caused the death and a post mortem will take place. But the batch of the vaccine used at the school has been quarantined to test whether it is faulty or contaminated during production or distribution. Some other girls at the school have suffered from dizziness and nausea but it is understood that none have been sent to hospital. The Cervarix vaccine is currently being given to all girls aged 12 and 13 in a nationwide programme. A catch-up programme will mean that everyone under the age of 18 will be given it by 2011.

The injection is voluntary but parents have to opt out of their children taking part in the programme and just 30per cent have done so. It guards against infection by the sexually transmitted disease HPV, which causes 70 per cent of all cases of cervical cancer. Although the cancer does not usually strike until middle age, the jab has to be given to girls before they start having sex to have the best effect. This has led anti-vaccine groups to claim it will encourage promiscuity.

Critics argue women are as well protected by regular smear tests and use of male contraception against the most common sexually transmitted strains of the virus. Jackie Fletcher, of pressure group Jabs, said: ‘We must halt the vaccine programme immediately and not put further girls at risk before a thorough investigation is carried out. ‘We have heard from a large number of girls who have suffered adverse reactions from this vaccine. How many more severe adverse reactions do they need before they act?

‘We are vaccinating thousands of girls against a disease they may not be at risk from. ‘Instead of giving them vaccines, we should be promoting other measures they should be taking – such as not being promiscuous and using a condom. The age of cervical cancer screening tests needs to be lowered from 25.’

The school vaccination programme followed clinical trials in 2005 on more than 18,000 women under the age of 26. But critics have claimed the five-year study was too short and not enough pre-pubescent girls were involved in it. Thousands of schoolgirls have experienced health problems after being given the jab.

Some 2,118 teenage girls suffered side-effects from rashes to paralysis in the year since the vaccine was introduced in schools, according the Medicine and Healthcare Regulatory Agency. Although the majority were mild, the reports include more serious conditions such as convulsions, heart palpitations and paralysis. Around the world, Cervarix and another rival version, Gardasil, have been linked to 30 deaths as well as cases of Guillain- Barré syndrome - a little-understood malfunctioning of the immune system which can cause paralysis.

Last year the Daily Mail revealed that a girl had been paralysed with the rare Guillain Barre syndrome after having the Cervarix vaccine. Ashleigh Cave collapsed shortly after having the jab, leaving her with no feeling from the waist down. And in January 2008 two schoolgirls died after being given the rival Gardasil jab in Germany and Austria.

Dr Caron Grainger, joint director for public health for NHS Coventry and Coventry City Council, said: ‘A 14-year-old girl took ill at a school in Coventry and was taken to University Hospital in the city where she later sadly died. Our sympathies are with the girl’s family and friends at this difficult time. ‘The incident happened shortly after the girl had received her HPV Vaccine in the school. No link can be made between the death and the vaccine until all the facts are known and a post mortem takes place. NHS Coventry has taken the proactive step to quarantine the batch of vaccine being used as a precautionary measure only and have informed the regulatory authority. We are conducting an urgent and full investigation into the events surrounding this tragedy.’

Tonight public health minister Gillian Merron said: ‘Our deepest sympathies are with the family. It is important we have the results of further investigations as soon as possible to establish the cause of this sad event.’

Cervarix is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. Dr Pim Kon, Medical Director, GlaxoSmithKline UK said: 'Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of the young girl. ‘We are working with the Department of Health and MHRA to better understand this case, as at this stage the exact cause of this tragic death is unknown. As a precautionary measure, the batch of vaccine involved has been quarantined until the situation is fully understood.’

To date the vast majority of suspected adverse reactions reported to MHRA in association with Cervarix vaccine have related either to the signs and symptoms of recognised side effects listed in the product information or were due to the injection process and not the vaccine itself.


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How sad. Just a week or 2 ago, there was a report on tv in which doctors said there are enough questions now about Guardasil that they would hold off on having their daughters have the vaccine.

But vaccine experts called for the mass programme to continue, saying it will help save 700 deaths from cervical cancer every year.

Well, it certainly stands to reason that if you die from the vaccine, you definitely won’t die from cervical cancer.

There have been many incidences of Guillian Barre syndrome as well as other side effects, yet the Food and Drug Administration does not prevent this drug from being sold. More reasons to pray. Giving this vaccine seems to me to be very foolish. Especially teaching our young daughters that being monogomous and remain in a faithful marriage is a much better idea to prevent cervical cancers caused by sexual promiscuity.

Um. there is no evidence that the vaccine caused the girls death. I think if you don’t have you child vaccinated, then child services should be called in… Because you’re obvisouly a bad parent. ANd st burno. being in a monogomous and remaining in a faithful marriage Won’t stop the woman from getting cervical cancer. Being in a monogomous relationship takes two. What if the husband strays. A lot of men do. even devout Catholics who go to church every sunday. Not to mention what relationships he had before he was married. But meh, each to his own. All i know is while all the chicken littles run around worrying about the sky falling down on their heads. My three girls will have a 90% less chance of getting a cancer that kills many thousand of women each year.

I’m so confused about whether I should have this vaccine or not. I’m 17, and I think I’m going to be offered it soon.

I don’t plan on having sex before marriage.

But what about if my future husband has had sex before marriage? Could I then get the HPV virus if we had sex?

Why not just turn all newborns over to the state to be raised? They know best.

From the Yahoo News article:

There are no indications of any link between Morton’s death and the vaccine

Then teach them to be monogamous; the two things aren’t mutually exclusive.

Just as teaching your child to wear their seatbelt doesn’t implicitly tell them “I’m okay with you driving dangerously”, giving a girl or young woman a vaccine for HPV doesn’t implicitly tell them that you’re okay with being promiscuous.

OTOH, I think there’s an implicit message in NOT vaccinating one’s child against HPV: “I want the odds to be as high as possible that if you disobey me, you’ll die a drawn-out death of unimaginable pain and suffering.”

My father and grandmother both died of cancer. My aunt is recovering from cancer. Personally, I think that anything we can do to prevent other people from going through what they did is a good thing.

Ok Latin_rite. I understand you are doing what you think is right, as a “good parent”. But please do not refer to those who are more cautious as “bad parents”. There was a similar HPV Vaccine post on CAF a number of weeks ago,and I will re-post here, the 2 posts that I made there.

For the record-- I have a PhD in Molecular Genetics
I spent 3 years managing a Vaccine Research Lab
I myself was HPV-positive and had some pre-cancerous cervical cells (detected by routine PAP)
I have 3 daughters (ages 9 - 12)
And I will NOT be getting any of them vaccinated with the HPV vaccine (Gardasil).

Getting the vaccine (or having your daughters vaccinated) is not a sin. But it is unnecessary. It may even be medically unwise.

I will re-post my other-thread postings.

In the meantime,
Peace to all and God Bless,

A brief tutorial:

  1. Gardasil does not prevent cervical cancer. It does prevent infection from about 70% of the HPV viruses thought to be involved in cervical cancer (the 4 most prevalent strains). About 75% of sexually active women will be infected with HPV “at some time in their lives”. But 91% of HPV infections are cleared by the person’s own immune system within 2 years of infection! It is persistent HPV infections that may, in some instances, progress to cervical cancer. So the actual statistics are that less than 10% of women infected with HPV ever develop persistent infections, and not all persistent infections progress towards cervical cancer - in fact, only a fraction of persistent infections ever go on to become cervical cancer. Last year the CDC reported that, “fewer than one-100th of 1% of the 108 million US women older than 18 (that’s 0.009%) get cervical cancer. And even fewer die from it.” And this was even before there was an available vaccine!!

  2. Note – 91% of men who are infected with HPV will also clear it naturally (as above). So even if a chaste (or any other) female marries a man who was not chaste before he met her (or she is raped), that man would have had to a) had relations with a woman who was HPV positive and b) been one of the 9% who does not clear the infection himself and then c) his new wife has to be one of the 9% who will not clear the infection that he passes to her. This makes it statistically unlikely that women need to be paranoid about their future spouse. People who tend to have more partners (who themselves had more partners) are more at risk of HPV infection because of all of the multiplied statistics of all of the sexual partners. (This does not mean to imply that there have not been unlucky individuals who became HPV positive from few encounters. It just means this is not the norm)

  3. Cervical cancer is not a contagious disease! And it is NOT an epidemic. (So why the rush to vaccinate thousands of schoolgirls? ) Merck likes to advertise that Gardasil is necessary since cervical cancer is the 2nd leading cause of deaths from cancer in women, world-wide. But it only ranks high when you include statistics from all the under-developed countries where women do not have access to regular PAP screening (so they are never detected or treated). In developed countries like the US, the CDC only ranks cervical cancer as 13th in prevalence for all cancers, and 12th in terms of cancer mortalities (2002). In fact, cervical cancer is NOT an epidemic in our country. Largely because we have highly effective screening programs, see #4

  4. Pap screening is highly effective in detecting cervical cancer. And cervical cancer itself tends to be slow to progress so detection is effective in allowing for the cancer to be treated. So the realistic numbers say that very few women will get an HPV infection that they cannot clear on their own, and a small percentage of these will progress to pre-cancerous stages, and the majority of these will be detected and treated by PAP screening and subsequent treatment, so the idea that women in developed countries are at great risk of developing cervical cancer is highly and overly inflated. I am not saying that some will not fall through the cracks – but this is not an epidemic that needs to see all of our young girls immunized…

  5. Adverse side effects from vaccination should not be shrugged off lightly. They number more than 9000 reports to date, and include pain, fever, nausea, dizziness, itching, and even paralysis, Bell’s Palsy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, seizures, miscarriages and DEATH. In fact, ONE DEATH PER MONTH is being attributed to the Gardasil vaccine (but not, of course, by Merck).

  6. The FDA has published evidence that suggests that getting vaccinated with Gardasil, if you already have the HPV infection, may INCREASE your chances of developing high-grade precancerous lesions by almost 45% !!! This little fact does not seem to be well-advertised.

  7. There is limited data to suggest how long the vaccine is effective, but predictions now are suggesting boosters every 5 years. Can’t you just see the $$ signs floating in the eyes of the Merck shareholders, Planned Parenthood, etc, etc? Especially if they can convince us to start the vaccination program on girls as early/young as possible.

  8. At least in Canada, the push is to vaccinate girls at 9 years old. But the majority of the clinical trial data collected to assess the safety of the vaccine was done on young women, not children. (In at least 2 trials, the median age of the girls was 20, with NO girls under the age of 15 being assessed!!). Yet they are pushing the vaccine on prepubescent girls. I guess our daughters are meant to be the lab rats and Merck will wait to collate all of the data from them…

Besides all of these cold, hard facts, there is something decidedly fishy and underhanded about the way the Gardasil vaccine has been fast-tracked and bulldozered into our society. Gardasil has been rammed down our throats as a panacea. But since it only protects against 4 of the HPV strains, it is only expected to prevent up to 70% of relevant HPV viruses…so you STILL must have routine Pap tests. And some women are still going to get cervical cancer from the other, non-prevented HPV strains. And it may even be that since the “big-4” strains are vaccinated against, that the remaining strains of HPV (of which there are many) will be able to compete better and will start accounting for more and more infections, leading to more and more non-vaccine-preventable cancers.

Nope – the primary reason for the marketing of Gardasil is so that society does not have to change its present sexual behavior patterns.

My DH and I are in full agreement - our daughters will NOT be getting vaccinated.

Peace to all and God Bless,

And the other post I made before…

Please do not misunderstand.

I do not mean to sound as if I am judging anyone who has chosen to get themselves or their daughters vaccinated.

I only wanted to let you know that the issue has been blown out of proportion by the pharmaceutical companies. They have misrepresented and overblown the rates of cervical cancer, and tried to make every woman believe that she is in danger of getting cancer if/when/because she has had sex with a partner whose level of purity she cannot assess.

The vaccine is not fool-proof. There are medical complications to getting it. Even if the vaccine companies “investigate” and are unable to “prove” the vaccine caused the medical complications.

Other posters had argued that the risk of getting cervical cancer was great for a woman. But:

The risk of a woman, any woman, getting cervical cancer is substantially lower than most other things we routinely protect ourselves against. The media has been leading us to believe this is the case. But it is not so.

Women are NOT at great risk of cervical cancer. Women (and men), however, are at risk of getting an HPV infection - in fact, 75% of sexually active individuals will be infected with HPV at some time. And the vaccine helps to prevent most but not all (70%) of these infections. But if you read my above post, you will see that more than 90% of people naturally rid themselves of the virus. And even the 9% who don’t rid it naturally, only a small percentage will even start to get pre-cancerous.

So the risk of any woman - especially one who limits her sexual partners (preferably to one man, especially but not restricted to him being non-promiscuous himself) - the risk of any woman getting cervical cancer is not great. And it is not higher than those other things we routinely protect ourselves from.

If you chose the vaccine for yourselves or for your daughters, especially if you were lead to do so by “reputable or reliable” medical personnel whom you trust, then be at peace with your decision - you cannot change it or worry about it - nor do you need to. But without meaning to, you might not be serving others well in trying to convince them to pursue the same course of vaccination.

Peace to all and God Bless,

And only a fraction of measles or mumps cases are life-threatening, yet we have mandatory vaccinations for both of them.

0.009% of 108 million is 9,720 people. That’s enough people for a decent-sized town.

HPV is nearly 100% preventable (exceptions being rape) whereas Mumps/Measles aren’t, unless you are vaccinated or live as a hermit on a mountaintop.

I think I should put the cervical cancer issue in perspective:

There are many forms of cancer that we aren’t anywhere near finding a cure for. While researchers work very hard on the problem, we’re likely decades or even generations away from solving the puzzle that some forms of cancer represent… if we ever come up with the solution at all.

However, in the case of cervical cancer, we have the solution. We have the answer. It’s sitting there ready to go and all that’s standing between us and completely eradicating cervical cancer in our lifetimes is the will to do it.

Frankly, it boggles my mind that people wouldn’t jump at the chance to make this happen.

I somewhat understand the idea that people want to avoid harmful side-effects of the vaccine. On its face this is reasonable enough, but it’s founded at best on half-truths and at worst on outright lies about what the actual risks of the vaccine are, as evidenced by the sensationalism around this news story.

The other side of this, though, the side of this debate that centres around the vaccine as a moral issue (i.e. in terms of sexual morality, not in terms of the morality of suffering and its prevention), I don’t get at all. So people don’t want to acknowledge that there’s a small but not insignificant chance that their daughter might be one of the countless Catholic girls who are taught not to engage in premarital sex but do it anyway? Are you so sure that you’re right that you’d bet your daughter’s life on it?

It has been announced that the child did not die as a result of the vaccine. She had an underlying medical problem, and had been ill before the vaccine. Lets keep things in perspective here, millions of people have had this vaccine with no or very mild side effects.
No one is forced to have it, you do have a choice.
Cervical cancer is not nice, and anything that can help to prevent it should be welcomed.
My thoughts and prayers are with the girls family and friends.


Exactly what course of action can a parent take to ensure with 100% certainty (excepting rape, like you said) that their daughter will not get HPV?

You are mistaking contagious diseases with infectious diseases. And there is a difference. Perhaps you are forgetting that casual association/exposure and even contaminated surfaces can transmit measles and mumps.

Biology 101 will teach you that this is not so with the human papilloma virus, which requires transmission through a behaviour. Usually one that has consent and control involved. (In the case of rape, if you do the math as outlined in previous posts, the statistical likelihood of HPV infection is rare - not zero - but rare. And then the chance that the victim’s body does not clear the virus naturally, all by itself, is again, only about 9%. And then there are screening tests you can have…). HPV is an infectious agent. But not a contagious one.

Add in the fact that:
a) PAP smears are highly effective in detecting cervical cancer.
b) Treatment for cervical cancer is highly effective.
c) The vaccine protects against a virus. NOT cancer. There are still strains of the virus, not covered by the vaccine, that can lead to cervical cancer.

If women “think” they have been vaccinated so are safe, are they going to be less likely to have regular PAP smears? Less developed countries have much higher rates of cervical cancer specifically because more women there do not have regular PAP smears. We have a low rate of cervical cancer here, specifically because of availability and compliance with PAP smears. And many of the cervical cancers that we do have, have been shown to be because the parties involved did not have regular PAP smears.

Like I said - it is not a sin to get the HPV vaccine. But likewise, it is not a sin (or bad parenting) to not vaccinate.

Peace and God Bless,

Be chaste until marraige and marry one who has done the same.

I asked for an action that you as a parent could do to prevent your daughter from getting HPV with 100% certainty. How does it prevent your daughter from getting HPV for you to be chaste until marriage?

Teach your children to be chaste and educate them in what the Church teaches. I believe whole heartedly in vaccinating against contagious diseases, but not infectious diseases that are the result of bad behavior. If someone wishes to give those vaccines to their girls, that is there choice. I will not.

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