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Human Papillomavirus: Vaccination

Question for Department of Health

UIN HL6834, tabled on 8 March 2016

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there are any other circumstances in which 2,500/100,000 serious adverse events and 3,300/100,000 cases of autoimmune disorders, as reported by the human papilloma virus vaccine manufacturers, would be accepted in order to try to prevent the occurrence of 10/100,000 cases of cervical cancer.

Answered on

21 March 2016

Thorough reviews undertaken by health authorities, most recently by the World Health Organization in December 2015, across the world have found no evidence to support a link between the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine and the development of autoimmune and chronic illnesses. The safety of HPV vaccines was thoroughly evaluated prior to being licensed. Around three million girls have been vaccinated so far in the United Kingdom, with more than 80 million people vaccinated worldwide. As with any vaccine or medicine, all reports of serious adverse events following HPV vaccination are taken seriously and remain under continual review. However, such events are not necessarily due to the vaccine and coincidence can also be a factor. The available scientific evidence does not suggest that HPV vaccines are associated with these rates of serious side effects.

The aim of the vaccination programme is to prevent cervical cancer related to HPV infection and the best way to do this is to vaccinate girls and young women. The HPV vaccine has a good safety record, and surveillance shows it has contributed to a significant decrease in rates of infection with the two main cancer-causing HPVs. The UK programme is expected to eventually prevent hundreds of deaths from cervical cancer every year.

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care