HPV vaccine raises questions

On April 1, vaccinations against cervical cancer began being administered on a regular basis free of charge. But a series of reports have surfaced suggesting that the vaccinations have caused side effects.

Parents of children who are said to have suffered serious health damage have formed an association and called on the government to immediately stop the vaccinations. Usually junior high school first-grade girl students receive the vaccinations; they have to go through three rounds of vaccinations.

The health and welfare ministry should immediately carry out a thorough study of the health damage allegations. If the health risks from the vaccinations appear to exceed the benefits promised, the government should stop the vaccinations. Otherwise, it should fully explain both the benefits and any possible damage from the vaccinations to help people make decisions.

The government should extend sufficient relief if it is ascertained that the vaccinations have caused health damage.

Every year, about 20,000 women in Japan are diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 3,500 of them die. Cervical cancer cases are on the rise among women in their 20s and 30s. The cancer is caused by the commonplace human papillomavirus (HPV), which is transmitted usually through sexual intercourse.

There are more than 100 types of HPV; some 15 types have a high risk of causing cervical cancer. HPV types 16 and 18 are responsible for about 70 percent of all cervical cancers. It is thought that 80 percent of Japanese women become infected with HPV during their lifetime.

Two types of vaccines that are effective against HPV types 16 and 18 are used in Japan. Although they do not cover all of the high-risk types of HPV, combining the vaccinations and medical examinations is considered an effective preventive.

The regular vaccinations cover girls in the sixth year of elementary school through the first year of junior high school. The vaccinations against cervical cancer began in December 2009. A total of 8.29 million people had received them as of December 2012. According to a health and welfare ministry panel, 1,968 cases of side effects were reported through the end of March 2013. Of these, 106 were rated serious cases of pains or body convulsions, pains in joints or difficulty in walking.

This means about 12.8 serious cases of side effects per 1 million inoculations — higher than the 0.9 serious cases per million inoculations of influenza vaccine and the 2.1 serious cases per million inoculations of inactivated polio vaccine. The side-effect rate for the HPV vaccine is still lower than the 26.0 serious cases per million inoculations of Japanese encephalitis vaccine.

The panel’s view is that the side-effect danger from cervical cancer vaccinations is not particularly high compared with that from other vaccinations. If the vaccinations are stopped, many more women may fall victim to cervical cancer.

The health and welfare ministry has the duty to show convincingly that the benefit from the vaccinations is greater than the risks from the vaccinations. Hospitals and doctors need to provide sufficient information to people about the vaccinations so that they can make a rational decision.

[Correction: The original number of cases per 1 million — 12.3  per million — was incorrect. The correct number is 12.8. per million.]

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  • JTCommentor

    I dont dispute that there are some reactions to this vaccine, and that these should certianly be fully investigated, but please also publish some of the claims of these groups, Some claim that the vaccine caused their daughter to have 2 years of depression and not leave the house. Others claim they destroyed their lives. This is one of the few medical advancements in preventing a pretty common form of cancer – and its at risk because of clearly psycho-somatic claims like this.

    • Jenniffer

      Six young women have already been paid financial compensation for vaccine injury from Gardasil. There are many more waiting to get their time in court. To date, there are more than 30,000 adverse reactions to hpv vaccine, including deaths. And adverse reactions to vaccines are underreported, according to the CDC. Gardasil has not been studied for its effect on cancer or gene mutation or fertility. No one knows if it will prevent any kind of cancer for a minimum of 10 years. It is injected into our girls and boys at the exact time their reproductive system is gearing up yet it has not been studied for any adverse effect on fertility. Cervical cancer is not a common cancer in first world countries. It is more common in 3rd world countries where there are no adequate screening programs. If your daughter or son plans to travel to a third world country, talk to them about safe sex practices or abstaining. HPV is common and resolves spontaneously in most people. The hpv vaccine recipients are the test subjects. Do they – and their parents – understand this before they say yes? No.

      • JTCommentor

        While I dislike your use of the dated term “third world countries”, I note from another article on this very website the following:

        “In Japan, cervical cancer is second only to breast cancer among those aged 20 to 39 and is estimated to strike nearly 9,000 women each year.”

        I am no expert, and have done no research, but is Japan a “third world country”, or is cancer just not common there?

        The facts are that HPV exists, through normal sexual practices it spreads to something like 80% of the general population. Safe sex can somewhat limit it, but given the type of virus it is, eventually it can spread between long term partners, husband and wife, certain religions who dont allow condoms. Certain strains of that virus cause cancer. The vaccine is effective against the virus.

        Of course, people are free to not take the virus – thats the beauty of living in a free society. But people should not push wrong facts on people to try to influence their views and potentially rob them of the chance to avoid one type of cancer.

        All medicines have side effects. All vaccines can cause bad reactions. People should logically sit down and consider the incidence of those side effects, and the severity, and decide for themselves what is best. Misinformation like – this vaccine caused my daughter to be depressed for 2 years just make that consideration more difficult.

      • Jenniffer

        Thanks JT, for your reply which allowed me to see my error. There have been many more than 6 young victims compensated for injury due to the hpv vaccine. At last count, there were 49 financially compensated for injury from hpv vaccine. They are a portion of the 200 cases still pending as I write. The total sum paid out to date is more than $5.8 million which equals a measly $120,000 per victim. Not much really, considering the injuries these young women have suffered and will continue to suffer from this vaccine that is not proven to prevent any cancer at all. And no where near enough if these young girls are unable to have children as a result of the vaccine. Thank you also, JT, for contributing to the fund from which they were paid. An excellent example of your tax dollars hard at work!

      • Starviking

        Any references to back-up your compensation claims data?

  • monkeytails

    ‘hpv’ has never even been scientifically proven to exist….and many many young women have died as a direct result from the ‘vaccine’…this is not just ‘side effects’, they died. For what…? To uphold the religious view that an injection of various chemicals, nano particles, heavy metals and foreign proteins somehow protects the body. Except that this theory has never been proven either. even the doctors/scientist admit that so called antibodies are never specific for any ‘virus’. By injecting a toxic chemical the body goes into emergency mode and tries its hardest to protect and repair itself, hence small proteins are produced (the socalled antibodies) to do just that. Vaccination is not science, never has been. No trials have ever been conducted, no controls with unvaccinated people. Have a look at ‘Modern medicine- the new world religion’ by Olivier Clerc , well worth a read.

    • miwah

      totally agree, monkeytails. Also, there is no evidence that the vaccine actually works( is effective) so what we are talking about?! The statement: `If the vaccinations are stopped, many more women may fall victim to cervical cancer.`
      makes me laugh.
      Well, guess what? They may die anyway, vaccine or not. Plus many more affected by vacc. side effects.
      And we are talking here about immediate side effects. Does anyone look into long term negative impact of the vaccine?