The dispute over reported side effects from cervical cancer vaccines has been taken to the courts as dozens of women and girls sued the government and pharmaceutical makers this week for damages over health problems they suffered after they were vaccinated.
While the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines continue to be widely used overseas as an effective defense against cervical cancer, the government stopped recommending the vaccination for schoolgirls in 2013 as allegations of side effects surfaced — and has since not reinstated the recommendation despite calls from medical organizations to do so.
The judiciary is expected to hand down its decision based on scientific grounds. In the meantime, the pending court case should not stop the government from providing help to the women and girls suffering from the health problems. The government should also seek to establish a system for collecting and analyzing information on possible side effects from vaccines to see whether there is a causal link between the vaccines and the health problems that the recipients are experiencing. The lack of such a system in this country is blamed for the controversy surrounding the HPV vaccines.