A British media site is reporting that a 12-year-old girl in the United Kingdom became paralyzed shortly after receiving the Cervarix cervical cancer vaccine. According to Telegraph.co.uk, the parents of Ashleigh Cave believe that Cervarix is behind their daughter’s mystery illness. In the U.S., similar problems have been reported in relation to another cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil.
According to her parents, Ashleigh suffered headaches and dizziness just moments after receiving a Cervarix injection. She lost strength in her legs, and has spent 8 weeks in the hospital, according to Telegraph.co.uk.
According to the website, the girl was initially diagnosed with “vertigo and generalized myalgia, probably due to recent vaccinations” by doctors at Frimley Park hospital in Surrey before being admitted to Alder Hey hospital on Oct 22, where she has remained ever since.
But the European Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency insists that there is no connection between Cervarix and paralysis.
Ashleigh’s parents told Telegraph.co.uk that their daughter’s doctors now maintain that the vaccine is not to blame for her condition, but they are skeptical. “At first they tried to tell us she was imagining it because she was being bullied,” Ashleigh’s mother said. “They will not mention her illness and the vaccine in the same sentence.”
In the U.S., another cervical cancer vaccine – Gardasil – was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2006. At the time of its approval, Merck said that clinical trials had proven the vaccine to be between 90-100% effective in preventing the transmission of some strains of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) that cause cervical cancer. Shortly after its approval, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a recommendation that all young girls between the ages of 11 and 12 receive the Gardasil vaccine.
Not everyone has been so enthusiastic about Gardasil, mainly over safety concerns. There have been 9,749 adverse reactions following Gardasil and 21 reported deaths since 2006. Those side effects, which were reported to the FDA and CDC via the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) included 10 miscarriages, 78 severe outbreaks of genital warts and six cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that can result in paralysis.