Australia: Gardasil side-effects commence to hit the press Print E-mail

The Age ~~ Melbourne ~~ Tuesday May 22 2007

Vaccine hospitalises schoolgirls

Reko Rennie


A student receives her Gardarsil immunisation in this file shot. Five Victorian schoolgirls have reportedly fallen ill after their jabs (Kitty Hill)

Up to five schoolgirls have fallen ill after being immunised against a virus that can lead to cervical cancer.

A Department of Health spokesman confirmed that up to five schoolgirls at Sacred Heart Girls' College in Oakleigh were taken ill after receiving an injection of Gardasil, a new cancer-preventing vaccine.

The immunisation protects against Human Papilloma Virus, a sexually-transmitted infection which, if undetected, can lead to cervical cancer. Gardasil was approved for use in Australia in June last year.

"They may have felt ill and dizziness soon after the immunisation, and in vaccinations such as this, these aren't unusual reactions," the spokesman told theage.com.au.

"We're not aware of a problem with this particular vaccine."

He said one child was being monitored but it was not clear whether her "ongoing issues" were due to the vaccination.

"At the time this happened on May 7, four or five girls were transported to hospital, but two were kept in overnight in observation and were allowed to go home the next day because they were OK.

"The overriding thing here is we've got a vaccine that is a cancer-preventing vaccine, I mean that's got to be a good thing."

The school's principal, Christopher Dalton, said 26 girls visited the college sick bay after the vaccination and five students were subsequently taken to Monash Medical Centre.

"Parents of the students affected were notified and accompanied their daughters to hospital," he said.

Mr Dalton said a further vaccination program is scheduled for June.

"The college is confident that this program of vaccination is safe to offer to students," he said. "We will be working with the Department of Human Services Victoria and the City of Monash Immunisation Services in the planning of this vaccination program."

Mr Dalton said parental permission is always sought for students receiving vaccinations.