A woman is suing the Irish government to compel it to withdraw the license for Merck's Gardasil brand HPV vaccine, alleging that her daughter suffered "horrendous adverse effects" after receiving the vaccine as recommended under the Irish school vaccination program.
HPV refers to a large family of viruses, some of which can lead to cervical cancer, others of which can lead to warts, and many of which are harmless. Most HPV infections clear up on their own. Gardasil is a vaccine designed to prevent infection with two strains of HPV believed to be responsible for 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. Another HPV vaccine, GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix, protects against those two strains as well as against two strains that cause 90 percent of genital warts.
The lawsuit was brought by Irish nurse Fiona Kirby, a member of the parental support group, Reaction and Effects of Gardasil Resulting in Extreme Trauma (REGRET). She is asking for the court to rescind Gardasil's license for use in Ireland. She is also asking the court to issue an order preventing the Health Products Regulatory Agency (HPRA) from including Gardasil in any Irish vaccination programs.
Gardasil was added to Ireland's school vaccination program in 2010, recommended for girls aged 11 to 16.
According to REGRET, approximately 100 Irish girls have reported illness following Gardasil vaccination since that time. Kirby's lawsuit claims that her daughter developed severe flu-like symptoms within 24 hours of her first Gardasil shot in October 2011. The symptoms cleared up, but then returned after her daughter received the second dose. For this reason, Kirby did not give her daughter the third dose.
But following the second dose, Kirby says, her daughter suffered from severe nausea and fatigue leading to weight loss, muscle wasting and missed school. Kirby's daughter was also hospitalized for bilateral pneumonia in March 2012. She is now disabled and needs permanent care.
Although many governments recommend that girls as young as 9 receive the Gardasil vaccine, there are in fact no tests of the drug's effectiveness on girls under age 15. And according to a 2009 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, the vaccines have not yet been proved effective against HPV in the long-term, and have never been shown to actually reduce cancer rates.