Two teenagers, 14 and 19, died after suffering similar neurological symptoms after immunization, which included migraines, speech problems, dizziness, chest pain, inability to walk and confusion, according to a study co-authored by neuroscientist Christopher Shaw.
Shaw said that his intention is not to scare people off, but rather to remind them that everything comes with risks and to make sure young people understand enough to make informed decisions.
“I just want them to have that piece of the story,” he said.
Not all are convinced that the vaccine causes more harm than good
A causal connection between the vaccine and adverse reactions, however, cannot be determined and these incidents are rare.
“There will be side effects to anything that you have in this world, whether . . . it’s an injection or . . . driving a car,” said Dr. Ashleigh Stelzer-Chilton, a family doctor in Vancouver. “Nothing is 100 per cent.”
“I’ve worked in Africa and all over the place where vaccines are not available for a whole bunch of different reasons . . . but people die all the time for things that we’ve got protection from here,” said Stelzer-Chilton. “I think sometimes we focus on the wrong thing.”
According to Stelzer-Chilton, the statistics for the vaccine are “excellent.”
Another article Shaw co-authored, however, suggests the vaccine clinical trials were inadequate and claims of a 70 per cent reduction in cervical cancer are unfounded.
“What we do is evaluate the science,” said Shaw, who stressed he wasn’t offering a medical opinion but indicated that his publications are “heavily reviewed by other scientists in reputable journals.”
Despite being lauded by the media and health-care professionals, Shaw warned that “adverse reactions … [can be] horrific.”
Some of the facts about HPV
According to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, 10 to 30 per cent of Canada’s adult population has HPV.
The virus is common among teenagers and young adults. Men can also be infected.
Using condoms and having fewer sexual partners reduces the risk of infection and regular Pap tests detect early infection. Symptoms may not be apparent and HPV is easily passed to a sexual partner.
If left undetected HPV can develop into cervical cancer, the second most common cancer for women in Canada aged 20 to 44.
HPV is transmitted sexually and the injections, administered three times over six months, are given to young girls before they contract the virus. The vaccine is also free for those born in 1991-93.
Reported by Bronwyn Scott
In this podcast, Bronwyn Scott talks to Dr. Ashleigh Stelzer-Chilton about the HPV vaccine.