Parliamentary Question | risk following HPV vaccination | 6 March 2013

March 7, 2013


Zac Goldsmith, Conservative MP for Richmond Park, tabled a question for the Secretary of State for Health that asked what recent assessment he has made of the risk of myalgic encephalomyelitis following exposure to the HPV vaccination.

In a written answer supplied on 8 March 2013, Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb replied:

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has responsibility for vaccines and medicines safety in the United Kingdom. As with all vaccines and medicines, the MHRA has been closely monitoring the safety of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines.

As well as continuous evaluation of suspected adverse reactions (ADRs) associated with the HPV vaccines reported via the Yellow Card Scheme, the MHRA has also applied statistical techniques using ‘observed versus expected’ analyses of key ADRs of interest to assess safety. The MHRA has recently completed an epidemiological study, using the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, to investigate reports of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) following HPV vaccination. ME/CFS is a naturally-occurring medical condition, and the MHRA’s study found no evidence to suggest that the vaccine may be a cause of the condition. The results of this study have been submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

MHRA’s safety analysis of the HPV vaccine has been reviewed by the independent advisory committee, the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM). The CHM has advised that no serious new risks have been identified despite substantial use of the vaccine in the UK and abroad. The benefits of HPV vaccination far outweigh any known side effects.

2 thoughts on “Parliamentary Question | risk following HPV vaccination | 6 March 2013”

  1. When they say ME/CFS what do they mean? What would their response be if they were speaking about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis? Why do we have NICE guidelines for CFS/ME, but in Parliament they say ME/CFS? CFS/ME is used to denote only fatigue.

    Anyway that is more of a side point. The real issue is whether vaccines are a trigger for ME, not if they are causal. If there are several triggers for the same neurological disease that would be significant. What is common to all the triggers? It appears to be the strength of the immune response they illicit.

    “ME/CFS is a naturally-occurring medical condition,”

    This is also a peculiar comment from them. Vaccine induced diseases are also naturally occurring. So what do they mean by “naturally occurring” and “medical condition”? Do they not want to be clear?

  2. How long can it take between exposure to the trigger and the disease manifesting?

    For a known example, I have read published, peer-reviewed scientific papers saying that Q-fever can result in a serious long-term “chronic fatigue type” illness up to 18 years after the initial infection.
    (please excuse my use of the ghastly term “chronic fatigue type” illness)

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