Health on the Web

Great coverage on Gardasil vaccine in New Zealand  School refuses access for Gardasil vaccine  Hokitika's Westland High School has refused to allow an anti-cancer vaccine  to be administered on its premises, a move health bosses say is worrying.

Last year, the school's board of trustees was criticised by the Ministry of  Health for publishing an article in the school newsletter on the supposed  pitfalls of the Gardasil human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which aims to  protect girls from the age of 12 against cervical cancer.

However, the school still allowed the vaccine to be administered. But this year the school will not and refuses to say why.

Life span of anti-cancer jab queried A leading international vaccine expert is questioning whether a new  anti-cancer jab lasts long enough to protect girls from cervical cancer.

Dr Diane Harper said Gardasil, the new vaccine against human papillomavirus  (HPV), had not been proven to last more than five years. Young girls, vaccinated at 12, may therefore not be exposed to the virus  until after the vaccine had waned, she said.

Harper, a principal investigator for clinical trials of Gardasil and  Cervarix, is a professor and vice-chair of research at the University of  Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine in the US.

New Zealand health officials said they did not yet know if a booster would  be required. However, Gardasil was low risk, was not a proven cause of any  deaths and lasted at least five years if not longer.

Harper said if Gardasil lasted 15 years, vaccinating an 11-year-old would  protect her until she was 26 and prevent some pre-cancers and postpone most  cancers. If the vaccine lasted less than 15 years, then no cancers would be  prevented, only postponed, she said.

Opinions on Gardasil clash

Girls given the Gardasil HPV vaccine are at least 16 times more likely to  have a serious adverse reaction to it than to develop terminal cervical  cancer, which critics say raises doubts about the increasingly  controversial vaccine.

Information obtained by the Timaru Herald under the Official Information  Act shows the death rate for cervical cancer between 2002 and 2005 was 1.95  deaths per 100,000 women.

This compares with 31 serious adverse reactions for the 90,000 girls who  have been vaccinated with Gardasil so far. The reactions being investigated include the death of an 18-year-old woman  in September 2009, and reports of epilepsy, Bells Palsy and collapses.

Wait for report on vaccinated teen's death  Health officials are waiting for the coroner's report into the death of a  teenager who received the cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil. They say no teenage deaths have been linked to the drug. Jasmine Renata, 18, died in her sleep at her family's Upper Hutt home last  September, six months after completing the three-dose vaccination  programme.

Rhonda Renata said her daughter's health started to deteriorate after her  first Gardasil injection in September 2008.

About 88,500 females have received the vaccine since the programme started  in 2008, including 11,212 in Canterbury. It will be offered to 90,000 young women this year.

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